In 1814, during the Battle of New Orleans, General Andrew Jackson and his
American soldiers used what was the region of Washington Parish as a battle
ground. The area was often known as "The Military Road." Part of the Florida
Parishes, Washington Parish was formally founded in 1819 by splitting off from
St. Tammany Parish. Both parishes were originally part of neighboring
present-day St. Helena Parish. This was necessary as some of the inhabitants in
Washington Parish lived too far away from the St. Tammany Parish seat,
Covington, to reach it conveniently. Franklinton, referred to as Franklin at the
time, became the parish seat on February 10, 1821.
The Washington Parish Courthouse burned twice in its history, first in 1854,
then again in 1897. The fires resulted in a loss of nearly 68 years worth of
records. Records from the 1820-1830 decade were kept on file in the state land
office and escaped the fire. Some of the records from the second fire were
salvaged and others were brought in to be re-recorded. So, only the records from
the 1840-1860 period are completely lost.
Bogalusa is and has always been the largest city/town of the parish, and was
founded in 1906.