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When President Thomas Jefferson appointed William Charles Cole Claiborne as Governor General and Intendant of the Province of Louisiana in December 1803, one of Claiborne's first acts was to establish a provisional government for the territory until a more permanent structure could be legislated by Congress. To provide for judiciary, Claiborne almost immediately created two courts: the Court of Pleas, composed of seven justices with civil and criminal jurisdiction over certain cases; and the Governor's Court, which gave Claiborne himself original jurisdiction in other legal matters and appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the Court of Pleas. Both of these courts ceased operation in November, 1804, when Congress established the Superior Court, the predecessor of today's Louisiana Supreme Court.

This is one of only a handful of extant documents from the Governor's Court. (Only a minute book survives from the Court of Pleas.) In this case, Charles Lalande Dapremont, of the Cote des Allemands, asks Governor Claiborne to rule on a matter begun in the Spanish courts but left incomplete at the time of the Purchase. Dapremont asks that his former employer, the Widow Isabelle Renaud Trepagnier, be compelled to pay him salary and expenses due him in his role as overseer of her plantation. The record does not record the outcome of the case.
     [Louisiana Province. Governor's Court, Dapremont v. Trepagnier, docket # 70]

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