Hempstead County is a county located in the state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,609. The county seat is
Hope. Hempstead County is Arkansas's fourth county, formed on December 15, 1818, alongside Clark and Pulaski counties. The county is named for
Edward Hempstead,a delegate to the U.S. Congress from the Missouri Territory, which included present-day Arkansas at the time. It is an
alcohol prohibition or dry county.
Historic Washington State Park is located in Hempstead County some nine miles northwest of Hope in the historic village of Washington, Arkansas. The state park opened in 1973 as "Old Washington Historic State Park", but the "Old" was dropped from the name in 2006. The park offers walking tours of the historic village, which contains more than a dozen historic structures from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Hempstead is named for Edward Hempstead, a delegate to the United States Congress from the Missouri Territory. 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.
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts
Created in December 15, 1818, from parts of Arkansas County and was named after Edward Hempstead, Missouri Territory's representative to Congress. Hempstead County was one of the first counties organized under the laws of the Territory of Missouri. The landscape is rolling hills. The economy is made up of food processing, poultry and egg production, along with beef cattle, soybeans and fruit. Each summer the Hope Watermelon Festival is held and draws not only local citizens but also hundreds of tourists. The county had two Wildlife Management Areas, Bois D'Arc and Hope, along with Millwood Lake, which features camping, picnicking, and swimming as well as hunting and fishing. The towns of Washington that includes the Old Washington State Park hold lots of history for the county. It was a stopover for Sam Houston and Davy Crockett on their way to Texas and the Alamo. A Washington Blacksmith made Jim Bowie's famous knife and such is still being crafted at the same site. The largest magnolia tree in Arkansas, planted in 1839, grows in Washington. Hope, the county seat is also the hometown of President William Jefferson Clinton where his boyhood home has been restored and is open to the public. Hundreds of visitors pass through this town each year.
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 741 square miles (1,920 km2), of which 728 square miles (1,890 km2) is land and 14 square miles (36 km2) (1.8%) is water. Hempstead County is alternately considered as part of the greater regions of South Arkansas or Southwest Arkansas.
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