Government of the Territory of Orleans

P resident Jefferson signed a bill on March 26, 1804, which made the portion of the Louisiana Purchase south of the thirty-third parallel the Territory of Orleans. The portion remaining would become the District of Louisiana and was placed under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Territory. In August of 1804, the president established the new government of the Territory of Orleans by appointing William C. C. Claiborne as governor.

Chart of Government of County of the German
Coast, 1805–06.

County of German Coast

     At the legislative council’s first meeting in 1804, the unorganized Territory of Orleans was divided into twelve counties, one being the County of the German Coast. Louisiana was made an organized territory in 1805. The president then added a legislative council. This structure remained in place until Louisiana became a state in 1812.



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Cover of ACTS, which documents proceedings of the second session of the first legislature of the Territory of Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Law Library of Louisiana) Thomas Jefferson painting, Kentwood La Bicentennial

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Copyright © This text is copyright material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.