Sabine County, situated on the Sabine River, is bounded by Shelby County on the north, Newton County on the south, and San Augustine County on the west. Spanish explorers traveled through the area as early as the mid-16th century, but colonial politics delayed Spanish and Anglo settlement in Sabine County until the 1790s. In 1824, the Sabine District was organized from Mexico's Department of Nacogdoches. The district then became a municipality in 1835 and a county in 1837. Until 1858, the county seat was in Milam and not its current location of Hemphill.
The Sabine County Courthouse burned in 1875 along with the majority of its early county records. A second fire in 1909 may have destroyed additional materials.