Hemphill County, Texas

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Not to be confused with Hemphill, Texas.
Hemphill County, Texas
Hemphill County, TX Courthouse IMG 6072.JPG
Hemphill County Courthouse in Canadian
Map of Texas highlighting Hemphill County
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1887
Named for John Hemphill
Seat Canadian
Largest city Canadian
 • Total 912 sq mi (2,362 km2)
 • Land 906 sq mi (2,347 km2)
 • Water 5.9 sq mi (15 km2), 0.6%
 • (2010) 3,807
 • Density 4.2/sq mi (2/km²)
Congressional district 13th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.co.hemphill.tx.us
Military monument at Hemphill County Courthouse
The former Woman's Christian Temperance Union building in Canadian is being converted into a new Hemphill County Library.
Canadian Record newspaper office serves Hemphill County.

Hemphill County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,807.[1] The county seat and only incorporated community in the county is Canadian.[2] The county was created in 1876 and organized in 1887.[3] It is named for John Hemphill, a judge and Confederate congressman.[4] Hemphill County is one of 30[5] prohibition, or entirely dry, counties in the state of Texas.


Early history[edit]

For the 200 years leading up to 1875, nomadic Indian tribes representing the Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, and others roamed the Panhandle following the huge buffalo herds. In search for an alternate route to California through Santa Fe, New Mexico, Josiah Gregg (1840), and Captain Randolph B. Marcy (1845) surveyed trails that crossed Hemphill County, following the south bank of the Canadian River.

The 1874–75 Red River War was an effort by the United States Army to force the Indians of the Southern Plains to move to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. Two major battles took place in what would become Hemphill County: the Battle of Lyman’s Wagon Train and the Battle of Buffalo Wallow.

On April 12, 1879, Wheeler County became the first organized county in the Panhandle, with 14 other unorganized counties attached to it, one of which was Hemphill County. Hemphill County was organized in July 1887.

On July 4, 1888, the first rodeo in Texas and perhaps the world was held on the Main Street of Canadian, Texas. It began as a competition among some of the larger ranches in the area the annual Fourth of July Rodeo continues in present times.[citation needed]

An emphasis on ecotourism, taking advantage of the landscape and habitat, has diversified the economy of Hemphill County.

Influence of Santa Fe Railroad[edit]

In 1886, the Southern Kansas Railway Company, a Santa Fe subsidiary, began to build a rail line into the Panhandle of Texas. The tracks entered Hemphill County during 1887 and further encouraged settlement in the area, creating three town sites: Mendota, Canadian, and Glazier.

In 1907, Canadian was designated a division point by the Santa Fe, a factor which brought diversification to the previously ranching economy of the area. The Santa Fe influence would remain very strong until the mid-1950s when the railway moved its employees to Amarillo.

Meanwhile, Hemphill County was roughly the midway point of two smaller lines, the Clinton, Oklahoma, and Western Railroad Company and the Clinton-Oklahoma-Western Railroad Company of Texas, which by the late 1920s, collectively linked Clinton, Oklahoma, with Pampa, Texas.[6]

Oil production[edit]

During the 1970s, the county grew due to a rapid expansion of oil production. Though oil was discovered in the county in 1955, production remained relatively small because the technology had not yet progressed to efficiently capture the very deep reserves known to exist. By 1974, oil production had reached 999,000 barrels (158,800 m3) and more than 1,891,000 bbl (300,600 m3) in 1978. In 2000, about 505,000 bbl (80,300 m3) of oil and more than 8 billion cubic feet of natural gas were produced in the county, but the future looked very bright.

The Abraham dynasty[edit]

Abraham Companies are based in the Moody Building, a former hotel in Canadian.

Nahim Abraham and his son, Tom Abraham, immigrants from Lebanon, operated for many years The Fair Store, a department store in Canadian which became regionally known for its high-quality merchandise. Tom Abraham also worked to assist immigrants in becoming American citizens and in 1980 won a national award from Freedoms Foundation.[7]

Tom Abraham's younger brother, Malouf Abraham, Sr., was a wealthy oil and natural gas developer and philanthropist who served as mayor of Canadian from 1953 to 1957 and in the Texas House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971.

Malouf Abraham, Jr., is a retired allergist from Canadian and a patron of the arts. He has reconstructed a 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2) former Baptist church in Canadian into an art museum known as "Citadel Garden."[8] Malouf, Jr., and his wife, the former Therese Browne of Mount Airy, North Carolina, the mayor of Canadian from 1981 to 1991, have three sons, a part of the fourth generation of Abrahams in Canadian. Eddie Abraham is a cattle-calf rancher. Salem Abraham is a futures trader.[9] Jason Abraham operates a large horse ranch.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 912 square miles (2,360 km2), of which 906 square miles (2,350 km2) is land and 5.9 square miles (15 km2) (0.6%) is covered by water.[10]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 149
1890 519 248.3%
1900 815 57.0%
1910 3,170 289.0%
1920 4,280 35.0%
1930 4,637 8.3%
1940 4,170 −10.1%
1950 4,123 −1.1%
1960 3,185 −22.8%
1970 3,084 −3.2%
1980 5,304 72.0%
1990 3,720 −29.9%
2000 3,351 −9.9%
2010 3,807 13.6%
Est. 2015 4,264 [11] 12.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1850–2010[13] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[14] of 2000, 3,351 people, 1,280 households, and 948 families resided in the county. The population density was four people per square mile (1/km²). The 1,548 housing units averaged two per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 87.65% White, 1.55% Black or African American, 0.72% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 8.48% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. About 15.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 1,280 households, 32.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.20% were married couples living together, 5.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.90% were not families. About 24.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county, the population was distributed as 28.00% under the age of 18, 6.50% from 18 to 24, 25.30% from 25 to 44, 25.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,456, and for a family was $42,036. Males had a median income of $31,154 versus $19,423 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,929. About 10.90% of families and 12.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.70% of those under age 18 and 12.80% of those age 65 or over.



Unincorporated community[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Texas: Individual County Chronologies". Texas Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 154. 
  5. ^ http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/local_option_elections/index.asp
  6. ^ "Clinton-Oklahoma-Western Railroad". tshaonline.org. Retrieved April 27, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Tom Abraham to be honored by Freedoms Foundation Feb. 22", Canadian Record, February 14, 1980, p. 19
  8. ^ Jay Brady (November 21, 2011). "Doctor created medication and founded art museum". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved September 22, 2014. 
  9. ^ Nancy F. Smith (May 26, 2012). "In Unfamiliar Territory: How managed-futures trader Salem Abraham plans to end his recent losing streak. Going long British gilts, German bunds, and canola". Barron's. Retrieved September 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  11. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°50′N 100°17′W / 35.83°N 100.28°W / 35.83; -100.28