William Charles Cole Claiborne (1775 - 23 November 1817) was a United States politican, best known as the first U.S. governor of Louisiana.
William C. C. Claiborne was born in Sussex County, Virginia. He studied at the College of William and Mary, then Richmond Academy. At the age of 16 he moved to New York City, where he worked as a clerk under John Beckley, the clerk of the United States House of Representatives, which was then seated in that city. He moved to Philadelphia with the Federal Government. He then began study of law, and moved to Tennessee in 1794 to start a law practice. Governor John Sevier appointed Claiborne to that state's supreme court in 1796. The following year he resigned to run successfully for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He served in the House through 1801 when he was appointed governor of the territory of Mississippi.
Louisiana Territorial Period
Claiborne moved to New Orleans and oversaw transfer of Louisiana to U.S.A. control after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. He governed what would become the State of Louisiana, then termed the "Territory of Orleans", during its period as a United States territory from 1804 through 1812.
Relations with Louisiana's Creole population were initially rather strained. He gradually gained their confidence, saw the territory take in Francophone refugees from the revolt in Haiti, and suppressed a slave revolt in the area around La Place.
There was conflict with Spain over West Florida.
Many Anglos from other parts of the USA came to settle in Louisiana.
Claiborne was the first elected governor after Louisiana became a U.S. state, winning an election against Jacques Villeré, and serving from 1812 through 1816.
After his term as governor, he was elected to the United States Senate, serving from 4 April 1817 until his death.
His body was originally buried in St. Louis Cemetery # 1. This was a controversial honor; this then most prestigious of the city's cemeteries is a Roman Catholic cemetery, while Claiborne was Protestant. He was later reinterred in Metairie Cemetery.
Three U.S. counties are named in his honor: Claiborne Parish, Louisiana; Claiborne County, Mississippi; and Claiborne County, Tennessee.