Cecil Harper, Jr.

HEMPHILL, TEXAS (Sabine County). Hemphill, the county seat of Sabine County, is at the junction of State highways 87 and 184, thirty miles southeast of Nacogdoches in central Sabine County. The original county seat of Sabine County was Milam, in the northern portion of the county, but voters in 1858 approved a resolution to move the county seat to a more central site. E. P. Beddoe of Sabinetown was given the authority to determine the new location, lay out a town, and move the county records. When the new county seat was laid out in 1859, it was named in honor of John Hemphill. The town received a post office in July 1859, with Michael Watson as postmaster. Though Hemphill's central location may have been an advantage in that it made it more accessible to county residents, it was a distinct disadvantage to the town's growth potential. The main transportation arteries that have crossed the county have never gone through the central portion. During the 1800s, the main transportation route was the Sabine River, which forms the county's eastern boundary, and for the first half of the 1900s, the main transportation avenue was the Gulf, Beaumont and Great Northern Railway, which was constructed through the southwestern quadrant of the county in 1902. Though the Lufkin, Hemphill and Gulf Railway provided Hemphill with rail connections in 1912, the line was abandoned in 1938, shortly after the lumber operation at nearby East Mayfield was closed. U.S. Highway 96, during the 1980s the only United States highway that crossed the county, closely follows the rail line that was constructed through the southwestern quadrant in 1902. In 1884 Hemphill had an estimated population of 350, two churches, a district school, a gin, a mill, and a newspaper. Residents received their mail triweekly. By 1900 the town's population was reported as 279, and by 1914 it had reached an estimated 430. Between 1914 and the 1920s the town grew rapidly, though population estimates for the 1920s, which vary from 3,100 to 1,200, may also encompass all or part of East Mayfield. During the 1930s and 1940s the population of Hemphill was estimated at 731. In 1988 Hemphill had an estimated 1,530 residents and seventy-six rated businesses. In 1990 its population was reported as 1,182. The population was 1,106 in 2000.

Robert Cecil McDaniel, Sabine County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1987). Edna McDaniel White and Blanche Findley Toole, Sabine County Historical Sketches and Genealogical Records (Beaumont, 1972).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Cecil Harper, Jr., "HEMPHILL, TX (SABINE COUNTY)," accessed August 20, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjh07.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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