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Platted in 1815, Orleans stands as the oldest town in Orange County. Founded two months after Andrew Jackson's famous victory over the British at New Orleans, the settlers named their new town to honor this event. Samuel Lewis, one of the founders, later became a prominent figure in Texas after he fought for Texas independence from Mexico and served as a senator in the first two congresses of the Republic of Texas under Sam Houston's presidency.

The original plat of the town was recorded in Salem while Orange County was a part of Washington County and Indiana was still a territory and had not yet entered statehood. It was dated March 11, 1815 and was signed by Samuel Lewis and William McFarland as owners of the land, and by Samuel Alexander, a surveyor. This original plat shows the town had six streets running east and west and seven streets running north and south. In the center of town was Congress Square consisting of several lots which were to remain for the purpose of erecting "any building for county, territory, or state as deemed necessary by the citizens of the town." At present, this area is the historic town park.