Hemphill County

Hemphill County History 1922

Hemphill County History Written in 1922

Hemphill County. The settlement which followed the construction of the Southern Kansas Railway across the Panhandle in 1887 was the chief factor in the organization of a county government in Hemphill County, one of the earlier Panhandle counties to support a local government.

The county officials were first elected in July, 1887, and the county seat town was established at Canadian, on the new railway and close to the Canadian River. As one of the oldest towns in the Panhandle, Canadian City has continued to grow, and is now one of the most prosperous small cities of Northwest Texas, having a population at the last census of 2,500, more than half the population of the entire county being concentrated in that town. Along the railway are three other smaller towns, Isaacs, Mendota and Glacier.

Though an organized county for more than twenty-five years, much the greater part of Hemphill County was held in large ranches, and it is said that the first single section of land was sold in 1902.

There are long stretches of level land, suitable for grazing, and also a portion of the area is undulating hills and considerable bottom land along the Canadian River. In the Canadian Valley especially the cultivation of alfalfa has proved a profitable crop, and for some years windmills and other pump power have been employed to tap the underground water supplies, and to a limited extent irrigation has been practiced. The possibilities of irrigation are realized and future developments along that line are assured. The principal crops since the early settlement have been the drouth-resisting kaffir corn, milo maize, millet and sorghum, and while the acreage of cultivated land has greatly increased in recent years, the primary industry is still stock-raising.

In 1880 Hemphill County had a population of 149; in 1890, 519; in 1900, 815 ; in 1910, 3,170, and in 1920, 4,280. The amount of "improved land" in 1900 was about 12,000 acres, and in 1910, about 53,000 acres. The number of farms increased from 76 in 1900 to 249 in 1910. The total area of the county is 558.720 acres, of which 370,179 acres were included in farms or ranches at the last census. The number of cattle in 1910 was 24.125, 2,300 horses and mules and 4,500 hogs.

The acreage planted to the chief crops in 1909 was: Hay and forage crops, 12,075, including 837 acres in alfalfa ; corn, 11,535 ; wheat, 1,784 : oats. 687 ; kaffir corn and milo maize, 545. Up to 1910 horticulture had made little progress. only about 3,600 orchard fruit trees being enumerated in that year. The valuation of property in the county in 1903 was $1,307,616; in 1913, $3,870,481. and in 1920, $3,899,730.

Canadian, the county seat, has a population of 2,500. It has three banks, two National and one State Bank ; two hardware stores, two furniture stores, five groceries. two drug stores, one variety store, four dry goods stores, one electric plant. two grain elevators and a steam laundry. Being a division point, the Santa Fe has its shops here. The town also has water works and sewer system. There are two public school buildings and five churches. - History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.


35° 54' 46.152" N, 100° 22' 55.488" W

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