Samuel C. Hemphill was born in Pennsylvania in 1814, the son of a War of 1812 veteran. As a young child, he moved to Ripley, Ohio, where he later became a merchant. He and his wife, Sarah Campbell, had at least five children: Esther, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, and Anna.
Joseph Newton Hemphill was born on June 18, 1847, and entered the United States Naval Academy around 1862. After his graduation in 1866, he served onboard the Monongahela , DeSoto , Kenosha , Plymouth , Swatara , and other ships. He attained the rank of rear admiral before the end of his career. He and his wife Dora ("Oro") had at least one daughter, Oro Joe Hemphill, and lived in Washington, D. C. Joseph N. Hemphill died on July 8, 1931.