City Directories and History: The old Blackstock Hotel was originally operated by J.D. Mobley, who lived to the north of Durham’s store. In 2013, the building is occupied by a number of individual renters and appears doomed. See additional data under the comments section.
John Hemphill was born December 18, 1803, in the Blackstock community of Chester District, South Carolina. He practiced law and edited a pronullification paper in Sumter, South Carolina, before going to Texas in 1838. By virtue of his superior knowledge of the Spanish language in which the prior land laws of Texas were written, he soon became the foremost authority on Texas land law. On January 20, 1840, he was sworn in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas, and two years later became chief justice. His career in the Supreme Court of Texas spanned the two earliest and most critical decades of Texas jurisprudence, and he is credited with establishing precedent rarely disturbed even today. He thereby earned the well- deserved title “father of Texas jurisprudence.” When Texas was in dire financial straits during the early days of the Republic, Chief Justice Hemphill and one of Baylor, used their own private resources and went into debt to sustain the courts of Texas. In 1845, when Texas entered the Union, Hemphill became the first chief justice of the Supreme Court of the new state. He served in this office until he was “drafted” to succeed Sam Houston in the Senate of the United States in 1859. There he was prominent in the secession movement. After the secession of Texas from the Union, Hemphill served in the Confederate Congress. He died in Richmond, Virginia, January 3, 1862. Hemphill was in the continuous public service of Texas longer than any of his contemporaries. Hemphill County was created in his honor in 1876.
Hemphill County in the northeastern Texas Panhandle adjacent to Oklahoma has an area of 909 square miles. Wheat, sorghum’s, alfalfa, and cotton are produced, but 75 percent of the area is used for grazing. There has been some commercial production of sand and gravel. Lake Marvin, on a tributary of the Canadian River, is a government preserve and offers hunting and fishing. County population in 1880 was 149. It rose to a peak of 4,280 in 1920, but dropped to 3,084 by 1970.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
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