Hempstead County was formed on December 15, 1818, from parts of Arkansas County. It was named for 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 draws locals and tourists. The county has 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 town of Washington, which includes Old Washington State Park, holds alot 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, also is the hometown of President William Jefferson Clinton. His boyhood home has been restored and is open to the public. Hundreds of visitors pass through this town each year. The population of Hempstead County is 20,065 (2020 Census).
200 E. 3rd St.
Justices of the Peace
James Griffin, Cherry Stewart, Doris Brown, Ed B. Darling, Scott Gunter, Troy K. Lerew, Sr., Steve Atchley, C. David Clayton, Jessie Henry, Jay Lathrop, B. Keith Steed