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William Charles Cole Claiborne
Governor of Louisiana

Governor by Election
Served from July 30, 1812
Served to December 17, 1816
Left Office by Term Ended
Succeeded by Jacques Villere´
Born 1775
Sussex Co, Virginia
Died November 23, 1817
New Orleans
Cause of Death Liver
Age 42
Party Democratic-Republican
Education Richmond Academy
Education William & Mary College
Profession Lawyer
Spouse 1 Elizabeth Lewis
Children 1
Spouse 2 Clarissa Duralde
Children 1
Spouse 3 Suzette Bosque
Children 3
Plantation Zama
Religion Protestant
Burial St. Louis Cemetery #1

1812 - 1816

William Charles Cole Claiborne, the first Governor of Louisiana, died November 23, 1817.  He was not a native, did not speak French and was not Catholic.  He was buried in the Protestant side of St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans where he may still lie.  An 1892 newspaper article states that his remains lie with the monument in St. Louis Cemetery #1. 

A Claiborne tomb in Metairie Cemetery has many descendants and an engraved stone that appears to be the original for Gov. Claiborne, moved from St. Louis Cemetery #1.

Gov. Claiborne's first wife, Elizabeth Lewis of Nashville and his daughter, died Oct. 26, 1804. They died from yellow fever and are buried in St. Louis Cemetery #1.  A plaque recognizing Eliza Louis in this cemetery is shown below.

Clarissa Duralde, consort, who gave him a son, died on November 29, 1809 in New Orleans.  The Metairie Cemetery tomb has the descendant Martin Duralde Claiborne, Jr., born 1920, and his wife's name engraved on the door of the tomb. The father, Martin Duralde Claiborne born 1895, is on a plaque on the left side of the tomb.

Claiborne married Suzette Bosque, in 1812.  Suzette Bosque, who died in 1881, had two children C. W. W. Claiborne and Sophronie.  Sophronie became Mrs. Mandeville de Marigny, residing in Mandeville. 

Suzette Bosque was the daughter of General Don Bartolomo Bosque, born 1704 in Catalonia Spain.  Five years after the death of Gov. Claiborne, Suzette married New Orleans attorney John R. Grymes.  At her death in 1881 she was residing in Paris.

On June 8, 1807, Gov. Claiborne fought a duel with Daniel Clark.  "At first fire the Governor received Mr. Clark's ball through his right thigh".

The Metairie Cemetery tomb appears to be for the family of the descendants of Gov. Claiborne's marriage with Clarissa Duralde.


Governor Claiborne's good friend, attorney Henry Johnson, became the fifth governor of Louisiana.  Henry Johnson was an advisor of Claiborne when Claiborne was governor of the Territory of Orleans. 

For a period, their plantations (Claiborne and Chatham) were adjacent on the Iberville-Ascension parish line on the west bank of the Mississippi river.  At his death, all of the historic papers and journals of W. C. C. Claiborne remained with Henry Johnson until the son W. C. C. Claiborne II became of age.

Henry Johnson also became a friend of W. C. C. Claiborne II and became the godfather of his son George W. Claiborne, who was killed at the Battle of Mansfield, La. during the Civil War.  Henry Johnson left a considerable sum of money to this godson in his will.  Johnson actually outlived George Claiborne, but evidently did not know of his death.

The Metairie Cemetery Claiborne tomb.

The original tomb along with two wives and one child, remain in St. Louis Cemetery #1.  The above plaque is in St. Louis Cemetery #1 near Claiborne's original tomb.

This stone near the steps may be all that was moved from St. Louis Cemetery #1, engraved as follows:

In memory of
Born in Virginia
Member of the Convention that framed the first Constitution of Tennessee,
Judge of the Supreme Court of that State at 21,
And Representative in Congress at 23.
Governor of the Mississippi Territory, 1801.
Governor of the Territory of Louisiana for eight years.
First Governor of the State, 1812,
United States Senator, 1817,
Died November 23, 1817, at the age of 42.

War of 1812 Plaque in Metairie Cemetery

Louisiana Heritage Trail marker in front of the Claiborne tomb.



La. Secretary of State

National Governors Association

U. S. Congress Biography


Boisterous Deportment - 1803
Claiborne Letter to Capt. Daniel T. Patterson - 1815

Claiborne's Remains - 1878
Claiborne's Remains - 1892

Clayburn Family Biography

Clay Smith - Servant to W. C. C. Claiborne

Incendiary Incidents - 1804
Letter to Claiborne Concerning a Hoard of Brigands

Missouri Nephews
- 1889
Obit - Brief - 1818
Obit - Wife Elizabeth & Child - 1804

Obit - Wife Clarissa - 1810

Obit - Wife
Suzette Bosque Claiborne Grymes - 1881
Obit - W. C. C. Claiborne - 1878


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Copyright © 2007.
All Rights Reserved.