Hempstead is one of the three towns in Nassau County, New York, United States, occupying the southwest part of the county. There are twenty-two incorporated villages completely or partially in the town. Hempstead's combined population was 759,757 at the 2010 Census, the majority of the population of the county and by far the most of any town in New York. There is also a village named Hempstead within the town.
If the town were to be incorporated as a city it would be the second largest city in New York behind New York City and ahead of Buffalo, and it would be the 16th largest city in the country, between Columbus, Ohio and Fort Worth, Texas. The town's population density is also greater than that of Columbus and Fort Worth.
The town was first settled around 1644 following the establishment of a treaty between English colonists, John Carman and Robert Fordham, and the Indians in 1643. Although the settlers were from the English colony of Connecticut, a patent was issued by New Amsterdam after the settlers had purchased land from the local natives. This transaction is depicted in a mural in the Hempstead Village Hall, reproduced from a poster commemorating the 300th anniversary of Hempstead Village.
One theory about how the town was named is that the founding colonists named the piece of land Hempstead because it was declared to be a great farming spot for hemp. Several places in the colonies were named Hempstead; one being on Long Island.
Another theory regarding the origin of the name "Hempstead", relates to Hempstead co-founder John Carman being was born in 1606 in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England, on ancestral land recorded in the 2nd historic census of England (under Edward the First), the Rotuli Hundredorum (Hundred Rolls) AD 1273 as being owned by his direct ancestor Henry Carman. These same properties were on record continuously as being owned by Henry's descendants, through John Carman of 1606. John's wife Florence and her father, Rev. Robert Fordham, were from Surrey, England.
A third theory derives the name from the Dutch town of Heemstede in the Netherlands, original home of many Dutch settlers of New Netherland. Several of Hempstead's original fifty patentees had Dutch surnames. In 1664, the new settlement adopted the Duke's Laws, an austere set of laws that became the basis upon which the laws of many colonies were to be founded. For a time, Hempstead became known as "Old Blue", as a result of the "Blue Laws".
During the American Revolution the Loyalists in the south and the American sympathizers in the north caused a split in 1784 into "North Hempstead" and "South Hempstead". With the 1898 incorporation of the Borough of Queens as part of the city of New York, and the 1899 split of Queens County to create Nassau County, some southwestern portions of the Town of Hempstead seceded from the town and became part of the Borough of Queens.
Richard Hewlett, who was born in Hempstead, served as a Lieutenant Colonel with the British Army under General Oliver De Lancey in the American Revolution. Afterwards, Hewlett departed the United States with other Loyalists and settled in the newly-created Province of New Brunswick in what later became Canada. The region he settled in preserves a connection in name with his birthplace: Hampstead in Queen's County, which lies next to Long Island in the Saint John River.
Copied from Wikipedia: Town of North Hempstead, New York County: Nassau County, New York
Villages in the Town of Hempstead: Baxter Estates · East Hills · East Williston · Floral Park · Flower Hill · Garden City · Great Neck · Great Neck Estates · Great Neck Plaza · Kensington · Kings Point · Lake Success · Manorhaven · Mineola · Munsey Park · New Hyde Park · North Hills · Old Westbury · Plandome · Plandome Heights · Plandome Manor · Port Washington North · Roslyn · Roslyn Estates · Roslyn Harbor · Russell Gardens · Saddle Rock · Sands Point · Thomaston · Westbury · Williston Park
Hamlets in the Town of Hempstead: Albertson · Carle Place · Floral Park Centre · Garden City Park · Glenwood Landing · Great Neck Gardens · Greenvale · Harbor Hills · Herricks · Lakeville Estates · Manhasset · Manhasset Hills · New Cassel · New Hyde Park · North New Hyde Park · Port Washington · Roslyn Heights · Saddle Rock Estates · Searingtown · University Gardens
Excellent history from the Archives of the Town of Hempstead: http://www.townofhempstead.org/content/tc/history.html