William C. C. Claiborne

William Charles Cole Claiborne (* 1775 in Sussex County, Virginia; † November 23, 1817 in New Orleans, Louisiana ) was an American politician and from 1812 to 1816 the first governor of the state of Louisiana. He was also from 1797 to 1801 deputy in the U.S. House of Representatives for Tennessee and in 1817, U.S. Senator for Louisiana.

Life and work

Youth and political rise

The exact date of birth of Claiborne is unknown. However, the sources start from the year 1775. He moved to Richmond, where he attended a private school. For a short time he also attended the William and Mary College. At the age of 16 he moved to New York City, then the capital of the United States. There he got a job in the administration of the U.S. House of Representatives. After the capital was moved to Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, also Claiborne moved there. After studying law in Richmond, Virginia, he moved to the Sullivan County, Tennessee, to work as a lawyer.

In Tennessee Claiborne was in 1796 a member of the Constituent Assembly of that State in the year. In the same year he was appointed by Gov. John Sevier as a judge on the Tennessee Supreme Court. A year later, he was, although he had not yet reached the minimum age of 25 years, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. There he was allowed to represent his state 1797-1801 despite his age. After retiring from Congress, he was appointed Governor in the Mississippi Territory. This office he held from 1801 to 1803. In 1803 he was one of the commissioners of the U.S. Federal Government, which supervised the transfer of the acquired by Thomas Jefferson from France Louisiana Territory to the United States.

Claiborne as territorial governor

Between 1804 and 1812 Claiborne was governor of Orleans Territory, which corresponded to the later state of Louisiana. At first, his relations with the native Creole population were curious. But in course of time he was able to win their trust. In his time as territorial governor, he took on many Haitian refugees who had fled before the revolution there. In addition, many Americans withdrew from other U.S. states in its territory. On the other hand, there came also to some slave revolts, which had reflected Claiborne. After the west of Florida had declared its independence from Spain in 1810, Claiborne annexed that area on the orders of President James Madison, who considered this part of Florida as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

Governor of Louisiana

In 1812 the Orleans Territory to the United States came under the name of Louisiana at as an independent state. At the first election for governor Claiborne was elected both by the people and by the Legislature for the first governor of the new state. According to the State Constitution, the Legislature had the final say in the gubernatorial election. She had to determine the governor among the top two finishers of the open choice. This procedure was not changed until 1845. Claiborne took up his new post on July 30, 1812. During his tenure, the war fell in 1812, to which Louisiana had to make a contribution. In addition, the governor had to deal with the construction of a new school and education system.

Election to the Senate

After the end of his term on December 16, 1816 Clairborne was elected to the U.S. Senate. His local term began on March 4, 1817. Though he died before the inaugural meeting of this body. His successor in the Senate was Henry Johnson.

William Claiborne was married three times and had four children.