Edward Hempstead

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Bust of Edward Hempstead

Edward Hempstead (June 3, 1780 – August 10, 1817) was an American lawyer, pioneer, and one of the early settlers in the new Louisiana Purchase in 1805. Born in New London, Connecticut, Hempstead was the delegate in the U.S. House for the Missouri Territory from 1812 to 1814. He served as territorial attorney general in Upper Louisiana and in the Missouri Territorial Legislature.


Hempstead died at his home outside of St. Louis, Missouri on August 10, 1817, six days after an accident in which he was thrown from his horse. He was buried on his farm, on a plot which later became part of Bellefontaine Cemetery. Hempstead's grave is thus among the oldest in the entire cemetery. Hempstead County, Arkansas, is named in his honor.[1]

Hempstead was friends with Thomas Hart Benton. Benton later said that he thought Hempstead would have become Missouri's first senator, had he lived long enough. Benton was with Hempstead when he died and spent the wake with his body. When Benton came home from the wake Benton received a challenge to a duel with Charles Lucas following a dispute over a court case. Benton replied that he would meet Lucas as soon as Hempstead was buried. The two went on to fight two duels, with Benton ultimately killing Lucas.[2]

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