Hempstead County was formed on December 15, 1818, from
parts of Arkansas County and 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 is held and draws not only local citizens but also hundreds of 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 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.