On December 22, 1810, under orders of President James Madison, the United States Territorial Governor for the New Orleans area William Charles Cole Claiborne took possession of the area known as the Florida Parishes (also known as the Independent Republic of West Florida) and then divided the new territory into parishes.
A photographic copy of Claiborne's Proclamation regarding the annexation of the new territory into the United States was secured from the National Archives in Washington D.C., by Dr. Dudley Johnson, archivist at Southeastern Louisiana University.
The proclamation by Claiborne went as follows: "Be It Known that for the execution of process civil and criminal, I do, by virtue of the Territory of Orleans, Ordain and Decree, that there shall be established within the county of Feliciana, four parishes, whose limits shall be as follow, to wit:
"All that tract of country lying below the boundary of that Mississippi Territory, and between the most eastern branch of Thompson's Creek and the River Mississippi, shall form the first Parish, and shall be called the Parish of Feliciana -
"All that tract of country lying between the most eastern branch of Thompson's Creek and the River Iberville, and extending from the River Mississippi to the Amite, shall form the second Parish, to be called the Parish of East Baton Rouge -
"All that tract of country lying below the boundary of the Mississippi Territory and between the Amite and the River Ponchitoula, which empties into the Lake Morepas, shall form the third Parish, to be called the Parish of St. Helena -
"And all that tract of country east of the Ponchitoula including the settlements of the Chiffonta, Bogcheto and Pearl Rivers, shall form the fourth Parish, to be called the Parish of St. Tammany.
Within the residue of the County of Feliciana, there shall be formed such other parishes as may hereafter be deeded expedient. Given under my hand and seal at Baton Rouge, on the twenty-second of December in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the thirty-fifth."
Signed/ William C.C. Claiborne