The following is the first of a two-part post on the history of the Hempstead Golf and Country Club property, much of which lies adjacent to West Hempstead. The present article will focus on the Parsons family, the last owners of the house before it was expanded and remodeled into the clubhouse of the HGCC. Among the members of this family who lived in this home included two war heroes, two authors - one of whom was a founder of the Hempstead library, the other a Pulitzer Prize winner, an inventor and entrepreneur who became a world-famous household name, a secretary of the Hempstead Board of Education, and the youngest president of the Village of Hempstead ever to serve in that office.
We begin with Charles Chauncy Parsons, who purchased the 120+ acre property on the south side of
After the war he settled down and plied his skills in chemistry, perfecting various formulas for insecticides and household cleaning solutions. In 1867, he moved to NY and started a business manufacturing chemicals. Sometime shortly after his marriage to Julia Worth Michael of Virginia in 1876, he moved out to Hempstead where he purchased an old stately house and farm in the southwest corner of town that would later become home to the Hempstead Golf & Country Club.
Around the same time he patented a formula that refined ammonia to be used as a domestic cleaning agent and thereafter “C C Parsons Household Ammonia” became a household name. His company, Columbia Chemical Works, headquartered in
Parsons was heavily involved in the civic affairs of
Julia Parsons founded the Hempstead Subscription Library in 1889, forerunner of the Hempstead Library, and served as its president for more than ten years until her untimely death in October 1900. She served as the local regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution and as president of a literary society called the Hempstead Woman’s Club. She was also an accomplished author who published titles under the pseudonym Julian Warth. At her probate hearing, it was revealed that she bequeathed $20,000 to build a new library on the grounds of her estate. However, for unknown reasons, possibly due to the fact that the location was not central enough, this plan never came to fruition.
A couple months later, in January 1901, C. C. Parsons also died unexpectedly and was mourned by a great many citizens of
The Parsons has two sons: Theophilus, born in 1877 and Geoffrey, born in 1879. Geoffrey inherited his mother’s literary skills, and after graduating from
After the death of his father, Theophilus received a law degree from
home dated to 1704! If that estimate is correct, that would rank the house among the oldest surviving structures in the entire County.
In June of that year, Theophilus married Florence Whitin of Massachusetts, who picked up where her late mother-in-law left off as secretary of the Hempstead Library and president of the Hempstead Woman’s Club. By the middle of the decade, Theophilus was elected the youngest-serving President of Hempstead Village. The job of the Village president back then was a bit different than today’s mayoral responsibilities. For one thing, the population of the village then hovered just over 3,500 persons, whereas today it stands at almost 54,000.
Instead of dealing with such issues as arranging the multi-billion dollar gentrification projects of today, the president had other important concerns to deal with, such as stray dogs roaming the village, giving out tickets to people who rode bicycles on the sidewalks and cars exceeding the 20 MPH speed limit. Theophilus got a lot of negative press in those days for being overly aggressive in enforcing the Village’s codes.
When WWI rolled around, Theophilus enlisted in the Army and fought in
After the war he moved his family to
Early view of the Hempstead Golf & Country Club—formerly the Parsons