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Hemphill County, Texas facts for kids

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Hemphill County
Hemphill County Courthouse in Canadian
Hemphill County Courthouse in Canadian
Map of Texas highlighting Hemphill County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Texas
Founded 1887
Named for John Hemphill
Seat Canadian
Largest city Canadian
 • Total 912 sq mi (2,360 km2)
 • Land 906 sq mi (2,350 km2)
 • Water 5.9 sq mi (15 km2)  0.6%
 • Total 3,382
 • Density 3.7083/sq mi (1.4318/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 13th
Military monument, Hemphill County, TX IMG 6074
Military monument at Hemphill County Courthouse
Library in Canadian, TX IMG 6075
The former Woman's Christian Temperance Union building in Canadian is being converted into a new Hemphill County Library.
Canadian Record in Canadian, TX IMG 6070
Canadian Record newspaper office serves Hemphill County.

Hemphill County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 3,382. The county seat and only incorporated community in the county is the city of Canadian. The county was created in 1876 and organized in 1887. It is named for John Hemphill, a judge and Confederate congressman. Hemphill County is one of six prohibition, or entirely dry, counties in the state of Texas.


Early history

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.

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

Influence of Santa Fe Railroad

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.

Oil production

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

Abraham Companies, Canadian, TX IMG 6110
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.

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." 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. 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.

Major highways

  • US 60.svg U.S. Highway 60
  • US 83.svg U.S. Highway 83
  • Texas 33.svg State Highway 33

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Black Kettle National Grassland (part)


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%
2020 3,382 −11.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010 2020

2020 census

Hemphill County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 2,656 2,090 69.77% 61.80%
Black or African American alone (NH) 4 4 0.11% 0.12%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 12 18 0.32% 0.53%
Asian alone (NH) 18 10 0.47% 0.30%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 3 0 0.08% 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 0 4 0.00% 0.12%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 28 119 0.74% 3.52%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 1,086 1,137 28.53% 33.62%
Total 3,807 3,382 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.



Unincorporated community

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Hemphill para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Influential Hispanic politicians
Maria Elvira Salazar
Veronica Escobar
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Lucille Roybal-Allard
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