In 1810, the citizens of the Louisiana Territory signed a petition to urge Congress to establish a state government. The petition explained that the inhabitants of the new territory expected to be admitted  “according to the principles of the federal constitution, to the enjoyment of all rights, advantages and immunities of Citizens of the United States.” However, they could not enjoy these rights until they had what the constitution stipulated, judicial and legislative powers that should be separate and those who made laws not be “obliged to expound and to decide upon them.” They reminded the members of Congress that the residents of New Orleans already had the right to vote on their political leaders and that they were entitled to the same rights. They also noted that they had a large militia, exceeding “those of the Indiana and Mississippi territory, and the number is daily increased by rapid emigrations to this territory.” Given all of these reasons, the inhabitants asked for a law to be passed so that they might “have and enjoy the rights and privileges consequent upon a second grade of territorial government, and that the same may be established in this Territory.”

[from Clarence Edwin Carter, Territorial Papers XIII—Louisiana-Missouri Territory, 1803–1806 (Washington D.C: Government Printing Office: 1948): 357–362.]

When an X appears following the name, it indicates that person signed with his mark. The other men signed with their actual signature.

The signers of this petition were divided into twenty-six sections. Sometimes the sections provide a location, such as St. Ferdinand, other sections are without locations. It is often possible to identify the section based on land records. It is also possible roads in that section contain the names of some of these early settlers. The sections cover the entire territory as it was in 1810.

The numbers in the “Signing Order” column indicate the order of signing. People and family members living in the same neighborhood often signed in consecutive order. If three people with the same surname signed together, chances are good that those three men are related. Cross reference these names with other records. Did they serve as witnesses in marriages and probate files for each other? Did they live on adjoining or nearby property? By analyzing the list, you can often establish a neighborhood.

The list below is organized alphabetically, but if you want to search for a particular name, click on the “Refine Search” button.

Last Modified: 11-Nov-2023 16:43