The following comes from "The Wilson Genealogy" by Adda Wilson:
The part of Cousin James S. Moffatt's letter to his Grandson is about Dr. John Hemphill and is interesting history. Particularly interesting to us because he is the preacher form whom Father was named. He says:
Dear Grandson, As young people of this age seem to know little of their ancestors, and that you be posted somewhat with yours by your mother's side, I will give you some account of your Great-grandfather, Dr. John Hemphill, of blessed memory. He was a man of fully medium size and height, well built, would, I think, generally weigh about 175 to 180 - of not only good physique but of elegant physiognomy - fair intellectual development, his looks and deameanor at once proclaimed that I am in the presence of a great and good man, a little like Moses when he came down from the Mount - his face shown resplendent fresh from communion with God.
The first of my recollections of Church and preaching was seeing and hearing him in the pulpit at Hopewell during Summer, first the morning prayer, which was lengthy, having commencd with the first of Gensis and continued on - then interval, then a sermon in the evening (I image he meant afternoon). Father Hemphill made no claims to oratory, but still there was an unction in all that he said that went well home to the hearts of his hearers. In those days, there were but few vehicles or buggies, the children were taken to Church behind father and mother, and the larger onew were put on a horse.
Father Hemphill had an intellegent, religious congregation at Hopewell of from ninety to one hundred families. In diversity, he was well able to interest the greatest of his hearers and well able to preach before kings and the great of the earth. But oh, what might be expected with regard to food for the bakes; whenever he found that he had the attention of the youth and the smaller boys, he would simplify what was food for strong men and bring himself down so that the young and the children could understand him and be edified with the teachings.
Besides his pulpit exercises, in many things he excelled, in family visitation and at yearly examinations, he generally got very near the hearts of old and young. The young he never neglected.
If passing along the road and saw the boys plowing, he would wait until they came out and talked to them in the kindest and most affectionate manner. The young men were always easy in his presence. One of his great fortes was that it seemed that he could adapt his conversation to be useful to all those with whom he came in contact and it was no trouble to give conversation a useful and religious turn as the case of th individual required.
He had three congregations, New Hope, in Fairfield County, Hopewell and Union Churches in Chester County. Father Hemphill once a month, on Saturday evenings came to my uncle William Moffatt, my aunt being his daughter Margaret. He never encouraged frivolous or light conversation, but as soon as supper was over and the family gathered, he had no trouble to start conversation on subjects of edification and useful knowledge: always whether on foot or horse-back, he went alone to an from Church. By Monday morning, he got up lively and would tell of good old time pleasant jokes.
The writer from boyhood to about 1830 was a constant hearer and was received into the Church by Father Hemphill. I would there state Father's Hemphill's practice on arriving at Church. He repaired forthwith to the session room, where the elders always met thirty or forty minutes before church time. I think Father Hemphill generally gave tone to the conversation. At a minute to time, the church fathers were seen coming out in a body. They were beheld by the boys with great reverence and searchings of heart. Father Hemphill had splendid materials for a church, Scotch Presbyterians, Dissenters from the church of England, and from the papacy. There seemed to be a similarity between them and the noble race of Israelites that passed over the Jordan, will drilled in the wilderness.
Emigration commenced very early in the ministry of Father Hemphill. The McDills, among the first, to Ohio, afterwards to Illinois and Indiana, which kept depleting the congregation so that the houses of worship would hold the remainder; so of the South, very early after both Georgia and Alabama came into the market from Father Hemphill's church there was a constant stream going to the southwest. Then middle and west Tennessee came in for their divide, so that the nucleus of the A.R.P. Church in the north west Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, now United Presbyterians are largely indebted to the labors of Father Hemphill (so far as human agency is concerned). The look at Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and both Georgia and perhaps not a single ARP congregation but the first organization was made up largely of members from Father Hemphill's charges. What a prospect, what an influence went out from one man's labors in molding society in North and South, and in planting sound Presbyterianism and Psalm singing Churches, and resulting in the saving of thousands and thousands of immortal souls. Surely Father Hemphill might well sit down in the Kingdom of Heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with Moses, Samuel and David and all the holy prophets and saints of all ages, and wel enjoy his company, and they his, the righteous shall be held in everlasting remembrance.
I think Father Hemphill preached to his three churches about fourty-two years and but little bickering all that time. I can only point to one. A good many of the members were opposed to slavery, which took so many to the Northern States. By his second marriage, he came into possession of several slaves, and by those that remained, many did chide him for a time, but time wore it off. A good many of these members of his church, and seemed to be good Christian people, one Boswell was an intelligent Christian man. When Sherman made his raid through about old Hopewell, Robert Hemphill left his valuables in the faithful Boswell's keeping. Some of Sherman's rangers apprehended Boswell and hung him up two or three times, but still he made no revelation with regard to the hidden treasure. Then they shot the noble slave.
I think Dr. Hemphill died in 1851. John
was born at Co. Derry, Ireland
, in 1762. He was the son of John Hemphill
and Margaret Ramsey
. John was listed as the head of a family on the 1790 Census at Chester Co., South Carolina
. He married Jane Lind
before 1794. John was listed as the head of a family on the 1800 Census at Chester Co., South Carolina
. John was listed as the head of a family on the 1810 Census at Chester Co., South Carolina
. He married Mary Nixon
at South Carolina
circa 1811. John was listed as the head of a family on the 1820 Census at Chester Co., South Carolina
. He made a will at Chester Co., South Carolina
, on 16 November 1830. John died on 20 May 1832 at South Carolina
. His body was interred in May 1832 at Chester Co., South Carolina
, at Hopewell Cemetery.