Tuesday, February 26, 2019

History of Covington

From an article in the 1982 edition of the Greater Covington Chamber of Commerce annual magazine comes this concise history of the town of Covington:

The history of the establishment of St. Tammany Parish and the City of Covington is inextricably interwoven in the account of the acquisition of the Louisiana territory. Originally the area now known as St. Tammany was a part of the Biloxi District of the Louisiana province. 

When France lost all of her territory on the American Continent to England, the British designated the area of part of the Manchac District of British West Florida.

Following the American revolution when the Spanish forces at New Orleans joined with the American colonies, the St. Tammany Parish area was taken over by Spain and called the Chiffonta District of Feliciana. It remained as such for some thirty five years. Following the Louisiana purchase by the United States in 1803, the inhabitants of Spanish West Florida rebelled and in 1808 petitioned the United States for admittance into the Union.

In 1810 this territory was annexed to the United States, and Feliciana was divided into three parishes, Feliciana, St. Helena and St. Tammany.

The Parish seat was established at Claiborne, opposite Covington, on the Bogue Falaya River. After ten years, the Parish Seat was moved to Covington by the Legislature and the present courthouse was established in 1838.

Covington was founded by John Wharton Collins, a New Orleans merchant, who migrated from Philadelphia soon after the Louisiana Purchase. Collins purchased the original town site of some 1600 acres lyinc in the forks of the Tchefuncte and Bogue Falaya Rivers from Jacques Drieux who had acquired the land by grant from the Spanish government. 

The purchase was completed by notarial act on May 16. 1813 before M. dc Armas, Notary Public of New Orleans. It conveyed 40 arpents front, 40 arpents deep on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain in the Bogue Falaya District, and fronting on said Bayou, being four miles from the confluence of the bayou, and River Tchefuncte, about fifteen miles from Lake Pontchartrain, and containing 1600 arpents by accession.

Collins immediately subdivided a portion of the site into streets and lots, calling his development the Division of St. John of Wharton. Other divisions of the town were St. Albert, St. Mary, Sumner, St. Williams, Gilmore, St. Anne, Good Government, St. George, Gratitude and St. Thomas. 

The Legislature granted the community a charter on March 11, 1816 and changed the name from Wharton to Covington in honor of General Leonard A. Covington, a hero of the War of 1812.