The Township of Hempfield is the third largest Second Class Township in the State of Pennsylvania and encompasses 76.8 square miles. Hempfield maintains over 219 road miles. The 2000 Census reported a total population of 40,721.
Many people often wonder where “Hempfield Township” got its name and how it originated. Hempfield’s early settlers were Germans from southeastern Pennsylvania. The name “Hempfield” was taken from Hempfield Township in Lancaster County, which was formed in 1729 as an English place name. Hempfield Township in Lancaster County derived their name from the production of hemp. In 1818 Lancaster County divided Hempfield Township into East and West Hempfield.
The settlers from Lancaster County that came to this area gave the same name to our Township where some of the early settlers had resided. Agriculture was the base for the settlers in the early days. The Township was known for the stills and distilleries where farmers refined the substantial grain output. Hempfield Township is one of the original six townships created as part of Bedford County in 1771. Two years later on April 6th, 1773 it became part of the formation of Westmoreland County. Hempfield holds the honor of being the oldest local municipality in western Pennsylvania.