This article has been provided by the East Feliciana Parish Tourism Commission.
East Feliciana Parish, the heart of English Louisiana's Plantation Country, is noted for its scenic beauty and historic landmarks. A legal, educational and commercial center in the days when cotton was king, the parish offers a cornucopia of quaint historic towns and unsurpassed country drives.
East Feliciana Parish has flown under the flags of Spain, France, England and the Bonnie Blue (Republic of West Florida). Feliciana is Spanish for "Happy Land" and the name is said to have its origin from Felicite, the wife of Don Bernado de Galvez, the governor of Spanish Louisiana. The early history of East Feliciana is that of the West Florida territory.
Jackson was founded in 1815 as the Seat of Justice for Feliciana Parish before the parish was divided into East and West in 1824. The town also served as a land office and as a center for learning and culture. Legend holds that the town was originally called Bear Corners for the many wild black bears crossing nearby Thompson's Creek, and that it eventually took its name from General Andrew Jackson, who reportedly camped there with his troops on a return trip north. The architecture in the town of Jackson is significant because of an usually well-preserved historic area (a historic district of one hundred twenty-four structures was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982), and because it shares with the town of Clinton the distinction of a significant heritage of Greek Revival architecture. Unique to Jackson is a well-preserved historic commercial corridor.
Clinton was founded in 1824 as the parish seat of justice when the parish of Feliciana was divided into East Feliciana and West Feliciana. It was located on a tract of land that had been granted by the Spanish government. Clinton became known as the legal center of the area, and when the Clinton and Port Hudson Railroad was established in the mid-1830s, the town found prosperity as the cotton trading point for a large area. This prosperity is reflected in the still handsome buildings of antebellum and Victorian design. It is thought the town was named for the Clinton family of New York. Many of the early residents were from that state.
Ethel derives its name from the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley railroad that was there. There were two outstanding men who lived there at that time who had daughters named Ethel: Mr. McKowen, who had a great deal of influence in getting a station put there, and Dr. Perkins, who was a land owner.
Norwood was founded in 1883 and was named for Abel J. Norwood when he gave the right of way and seventy-five acres to establish the town when the railroad came through. It is located on Highway 19 about 40 miles north of Baton Rouge, La. and almost on the Mississippi state line. He gave the right of way with the understanding that all passing trains would stop in Norwood. Six trains passed through daily, stopping in Norwood whether or not anyone got on or off.
Slaughter was incorporated in 1888. It received its name from the original owners of the land on which it is located, Mr. Will Slaughter and his brother, Joe. When the railroad was being built through the area, the place was called Burnsville from a Mr. Burns who cut the right of way. At that time, the area was called Belzara and a post office was located there. After the railroad was completed and a depot put there, the station and post office were both changed to Slaughter.
Wilson was known as a railroad town from the beginning. It was situated on the main line of the great Louisville, New Orleans, and Texas Railway and a relay station (roundhouse) was located there.