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Hemphill, Texas

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Title: Hemphill, Texas  
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Subject: Sabine County, Texas, Rosevine, Texas, Isla, Texas, Sabine National Forest, Farm to Market Road 1
Collection: Cities in Sabine County, Texas, Cities in Texas, County Seats in Texas
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Hemphill, Texas

Hemphill, Texas
Location of Hemphill, Texas
Location of Hemphill, Texas
Country United States
State Texas
County Sabine
 • Total 2.4 sq mi (6.3 km2)
 • Land 2.4 sq mi (6.2 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 279 ft (85 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 1,106
 • Density 465.3/sq mi (179.6/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 75948
Area code(s) 409
FIPS code 48-33188[1]
GNIS feature ID 1381990[2]

Hemphill is a city in Sabine County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,198 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Sabine County.[3] It is located on State Highway 87 at the junction of State Highway 184, and is surrounded by the Sabine National Forest and the Toledo Bend Reservoir.


  • Geography 1
  • Historical development 2
  • Recreation 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Education 5
  • Killing of Loyal Garner Jr. 6
  • Space Shuttle Columbia disaster 7
  • Climate 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Hemphill is located at (31.342612, -93.854909).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2), of which, 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (1.66%) is water.

Hemphill is 484 miles (as the crow flies) from Hemphill County, Texas (which is in the northern Panhandle). This is the largest separation of a Texas city from a Texas county of the same name.

Historical development

In 1858 the Sabine county voters elected to move the county seat from Milam to a more central part of the county. The following year, the plans for the town were laid down, with the post office opening as well. The Town was named after John Hemphill, an early Texas judge and legal scholar, and later a United States Senator.[5]

The location was indeed ideal distance-wise for the county, but transportation was disadvantaged as the Sabine River and existing rail lines were away from the heart of the county.[6] In 1912, the Lufkin, Hemphill and Gulf Railway provided Hemphill with rail connections, which would operate to facilitate the lumber operations nearby. By 1938, the line would be abandoned as sawmills would close at the neighboring communities.


The nearby Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn lakes attract many tourists during the summer months.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,106 people, 467 households, and 301 families residing in the city. The population density was 465.3 people per square mile (179.4/km²). There were 574 housing units at an average density of 241.5 per square mile (93.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.40% White, 16.82% African American, 0.63% Native American, 3.62% from other races, and 1.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.61% of the population.

There were 467 households out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 80.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,781, and the median income for a family was $33,839. Males had a median income of $30,000 versus $20,417 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,674. About 14.1% of families and 20.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.5% of those under age 18 and 18.6% of those age 65 or over.


The City of Hemphill is served by the Hemphill Independent School District

Killing of Loyal Garner Jr.

Christmas night 1987 saw the murder of an African American man, Loyal Garner Jr., being held in a cell in the Sabine County jail in Hemphill. Police Chief Thomas Ladner and two sheriff deputies were acquitted of violating Garner's civil rights in a Hemphill trial, but were convicted of murder by a jury in Tyler Texas. The difference in the two trial outcomes has been attributed to the composition and prejudices of the juries. The cases were covered nationally, and the ensuing civil rights protest march in Hemphill was covered by CBS 60 Minutes.[9][10][11][12]

Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

In February 2003, the town and its vicinity were one of the key search areas for wreckage from the Space Shuttle Columbia after it broke up over Texas. Search teams recovered some of the remains of the shuttle and crew members,[13] and the Orbiter Experiment Support System recorder (OEX) was found near Hemphill.[14]

A memorial has been erected in Hemphill commemorating the deceased Columbia astronauts. The memorial is located at the intersection of Hwy 87 North and Hwy 83 East.[15]

The Patricia Huffman Smith Museum opened February 1, 2011 in a space next to the J.R. Huffman Public Library. The museum features the permanent "NASA Remembering Columbia" exhibit.[16]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hemphill has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[17]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  5. ^ Harper, Jr., Cecil. "Hemphill, TX (Sabine County)". The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  6. ^ McDonald, Archie P. (July 2002). "Hemphill, Texas". Texas Escapes. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "RACE AND JUSTICE: A KILLING IN EAST TEXAS - A SPECIAL REPORT.; Death as a Ripple in Deep Racial Current". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  10. ^ "3 Ex-Policemen Are Convicted In Texas Killing". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  11. ^ "The Story of Loyal Garner Jr.". Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  12. ^ "A Tale Of Bleak Justice In An Unrepentant Texas Town". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  13. ^ "NASA Inspects Reports of Wing Debris". First Coast News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  14. ^ "The Orbiter Experiment Support System (OEX) recorder from Columbia...". NASA Images. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  15. ^ "Columbia Memorial". Tourism. City of Hemphill, Texas. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  16. ^ "New Museum Spotlights Columbia Shuttle Disaster". Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  17. ^ Climate Summary for Hemphill, Texas

External links

  • U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Hemphill, Texas (county seat)
  • Hemphill Texas Town Square Walking Tour
  • [2]
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