Welcome to the official website of the Tensas Parish Clerk of Court! We hope that you find this online resource to be helpful in obtaining information and conducting business.
My mission is to provide excellence in service, preservation and management of records, and provide access to legal documents filed in our office. Exceptional customer service is very important to me and I strive to provide this service with professionalism, proficiency and courtesy to our customers. I hope to develop long-lasting and valuable relationships with the people we serve.
Remember, this is your office, and it is our pleasure to provide you with the best service possible.
It is a great honor and pleasure to serve the people of Tensas Parish. I thank you for your patience as we continue to move forward to create the services that you so deserve.
Christina "Christy" C. Lee, Clerk of Court
Tensas Parish was officially established by act of the Louisiana Legislature on March 17, 1843, the area now comprising Tensas Parish was the northern part of Concordia Parish. Later in 1861 the Tensas area was increased by the annexation of a part of Madison Parish. In 1870, Tensas lost a small portion of its land through an annexation by Franklin Parish. Since then its boundaries, The Tensas River on the west, the Mississippi on the east, Madison Parish on the North and Concordia Parish on the south.
There are three towns in Tensas Parish:
St. Joseph: A date for the beginning of the settlement, which became Tensas' Parish seat cannot be determined. For a long number of years the place was known as Densmore's Landing, named after the first known settler, a riverboat man named John Densmore. Densmore built a small house and a trading post at the site.
At a later, but still unspecified time, a Jesuit priest, sent to do missionary work among the Indians, visited the region. It was he who renamed the settlement St. Joseph.
Although St. Joseph eventually developed into an important river port, it did not become incorporated until February 26, 1901. One of St. Joseph's distinctive features of years past was Plank Road, a toll roadway made of wooden planks. At the time of incorporation, the population numbered 735 people.
Waterproof: Located in the southern part of the parish was first settled about 1830 and had to be moved several times. Each move being dictated by the whim of the Mississippi River changing its course. The first move was made in 1876 and the second in 1880. The town of Waterproof was incorporated in 1872.
The town also owes its name to the Mississippi River. The story most often repeated about the origin of Waterproof's name is as follows: A steamboat captain, waiting for his boat to be refueled with cordwood, noticed that an early settler, Abner Smalley was standing high and dry on a strip of land surrounded by water. "Well, Abner," the captain called out, "I see you're waterproof!" Smalley gave the name Waterproof to his plantation which became the original site of the town, and Waterproof it has remained. First settled about 1830, the village was forced by the river to change locations twice in three years. The original location is now underwater. The first move was made in 1876 after the river bank began to cave in. The next move was in 1880 to the present and third site.
Waterproof was the first of the three town in Tensas Parish to incorporate. It was incorporated by Act 63, second session, 1872.
Newellton: Newellton owes its settlement and name to a love story. Edward Drumgold Newell, merchant of Grand Gulf, Mississippi, fell in love with Celia Ann Dorsey, daughter of a wealthy planter at Port Gibson, Mississippi. Newell asked for her hand in marriage; Celia Ann was willing, but her father said an emphatic "No." He based his refusal on the fact that young Newell was not a land owner and therefore was socially inferior to Miss Celia Ann.
The resourceful Newell went across the river and bough himself a piece of land – 10,000 acres. Newell named his place Cypress Plantation. In 1834 he married Celia Ann and took her to Cypress Plantation to live.
In 1875, with two of his sons, Newell founded the Town of Newellton, about 5 miles east of Cypress Plantation. The town was incorporated June 3, 1904. The town is north of St. Joseph.
From the Tensas Story, used with permission from the authors, Mary Alice Fontenot and Edith Ziegler.