Date Original

1874 August 26


This collection contains one letter from Fay Hempstead of Little Rock to Col. J.A. Churchill, Fort Smith, dated August 26, 1874.

Biographical/Historical Note

Fay Hempstead was born November 24, 1847, in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Samuel Hutchinson Hempstead, an attorney and postmaster of Little Rock, and Elizabeth Rebecca Beall Hempstead. Fay attended St. John’s College in Little Rock and studied law at the University of Virginia. Upon returning to Little Rock, he was a partner in the firm of George Gallagher and Robert Newton from 1869 to 1872. He married Gertrude Blair O’Neale of Charlottesville, Virginia, and they had seven children. Hempstead was the Registrar of Bankruptcy for Arkansas from 1874-1881, when he was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas Freemasons. He spent the rest of his life in service to Freemasonry. Named poet laureate of Freemasonry in 1908, Hempstead joined the honored ranks of the only two other poets to hold this position, Robert Burns of Scotland and Robert Morris of Kentucky. His first volume of poems was Random Arrows, published in 1878. Over the next fifty years, several additional collections were published in Little Rock. His historical writings include A School History of Arkansas, the first textbook of its kind for use in schools; A Pictorial History of Arkansas: From Earliest Times to the Year 1890; Historical Review of Arkansas: Its Commerce, Industry, and Modern Affairs; and A History of Cryptic Masonry in Arkansas. Hempstead died in Little Rock on April 24, 1934, and is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area

Little Rock, Pulaski County (Ark.); Fort Smith, Sebastian County (Ark.)





Resource Type



Fay Hempstead letter, SMC.085.035


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Fay Hempstead letter, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History