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The earliest known settlement by Europeans in the area was in 1800 by Jacques Drieux, during the British West Florida period.
In 1813, John Wharton Collins established a town with the name of Wharton. He is buried on the corner of the city cemetery directly across from the Covington Police Department. There are conflicting stories about how the city came to be named Covington. Many historians believe the city was renamed for General Leonard Covington, a hero of the War of 1812. (Covington was killed late in 1813, having established his home in the Mississippi Territory.)
Local historian Judge Steve Ellis floats another theory centered on the suggestion by Jesse Jones, a local attorney, that the city be named in honor of the Blue Grass whiskey—made in Covington, Kentucky—enjoyed by town officials. In any case, Leonard Covington is the namesake of both towns.
Originally, commerce was brought to Covington via boat up the Bogue Falaya River, which used the Tchefuncte River as a means of passage to and from Lake Pontchartrain. Then in 1888, the railroad came to town. Much of the former railroad right-of-way is now occupied by the Tammany Trace, a thirty-one mile bike trail running east and west through several communities on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain.