Hemingway was created from a crossroads community named Lamberts in 1911 by Dr. W. C. Hemingway, in an effort to secure a depot for the proposed Seaboard Airline Railway Company, which was to run from Mullins to Andrews. Land owned by Dr. Hemingway was surveyed and the lots auctioned off. Subsequently the railroad established a Hemingway depot, and the post office name was changed to Hemingway.
With rail access, Hemingway grew into a market town for local agricultural products. Cotton declined after 1921, when the boll weevil arrived, but was already being replaced by flue cured tobacco as the primary money crop for farmers. Other local products were naval stores from the pine forests (later replaced by timbering), corn, soybeans, wheat, and vegetables.
Hemingway is near the Pee Dee River, which was the main commercial route for the area until the coming of the railroad. Snows Island in the river near Hemingway was the site of the Revolutionary War camp of US war hero, General Francis Marion. The river was named by early explorers after the Pee Dee tribe. A major tributary is the Waccamaw River likewise named.