13. Royal & Prosperity—West Florida Republic Transfer to US

"Under the control of first France, then England, by the time of most early settlement the St. Francisville area was Spanish territory. But the earliest settlers were mostly Anglos, encouraged to establish plantations by the offer of large land grants, long growing seasons, plentiful water supply and ready transportation via the Mississippi River. These Anglo settlers soon chafed under inept Spanish control, especially after this east side of the Mississippi River above New Orleans was excluded from the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. In the fall of 1810 the planters came together and laid careful plans for the West Florida Rebellion. 

            On September 11, a mounted troop of dragoons overthrew the Spanish fort in Baton Rouge, surprising the sleeping garrison by sneaking in at dawn with the milk cows. Thus was born the independent West Florida Republic, with St. Francisville its capital and an early hotel at this corner serving as legislative chamber. This was a well-conceived republic with a militia, judicial and legislative branches, even a constitution similar to the American one, for the real purpose of the rebellion, in addition to shedding Spanish control, was to join the United States. 

            Distinguished diplomat Fulwar Skipwith of Montesano Plantation just north of Baton Rouge was elected governor and declared, 'From the commencement of our Revolution, we anxiously wished and sanguinely hoped, to be incorporated into the American Union, in a way honorable and advantageous to both them and ourselves.' This grand scheme lasted only 74 days. After some wrangling over the rights of an independent republic, Gov. W.C.C. Claiborne took possession of the Florida Parishes on December 6, raising the American flag at St. Francisville to replace the republic’s flag, blue with a lone white star in its center. And so this contested territory known as the Florida Parishes rejoined the rest of Louisiana to eventually become a state in 1812." Anne Butler