Saturday, October 13, 2018

Great-Grandmother was a Golfer ~ 52 Ancestors #41

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Sports.

I have previously written about the athletes in my dad's family at Sports Center Saturday ~ Dad and golf and about his mother at Libby Was a Tennis Player.

One of my brothers mentioned to me that Libby's mother, Mary Bowman (Ashby) Adsit (1863-1956) was a very good golfer as a young woman. I had never heard this story, which goes to show that genealogists should interview everyone, even younger relatives, who might know something about the family.

My great-grandmother is found only as Mrs. Adsit or Mrs. C. C. Adsit in the nine or ten newspaper articles in which she is mentioned as playing in or winning golf tournaments.

According to this September 1898 Chicago Tribune article, the first women's golf tournament "in the west" was held at Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, and Mrs. Adsit placed 19th. At the time, she was about 35 years old and had a six-year-old son and a 15-month-old daughter (my grandmother).

     "Women's Golf Tourney," The Chicago Tribune, 8 September 1898, p. 8, col. 1; digital image, ( : accessed 11 October 2018).

Mrs. Adsit's home club, the Onwentsia Club, was formally organized at its present location in 1895, hosted the U.S. Amateur in 1899, and hosted the U.S. Open in 1906. (See History - Onwentsia Club.)

In June 1899, the day before her daughter Libby's second birthday, Mrs. C. C. Adsit won the first "golf handicap of the season" at Lake Forest:

     "Mrs. C. C. Adsit Wins At Golf," The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago), 17 June 1899, p. 8, col. 5; digital image, ( : accessed 11 October 2018).

Mrs. C. C. Adsit won a tournament at Onwentsia in July 1903:

She was mentioned in a few other articles about golf over the next several years. Her husband was also often named, sometimes with his full name: Charles Chapin Adsit. And her brother-in-law, James M. Adsit, was also a golfer.

Although I've watched plenty of golf in my life, I've never played a round. However, can you imagine trying to play golf in one of these outfits?

     Advertisements for Women's Golf Apparel, The Chicago Tribune, 13 September 1899, p. 12; digital image, ( : accessed 11 October 2018).


  1. Love these old news clippings and the golf fashions too! Good advice to ask everyone for family stories, young and old ;)

    1. Marian, old newspapers are treasure troves and I can spend hours looking at them and yes, this story from my brother really drove it home that you need to ask everyone what they might know about an ancestor.

  2. I love the fashions. Those shoes look uncomfortable for any situation but golf?

    1. Debi, the shoes certainly don't look comfortable for playing golf but then again, neither do the golf skirts!

      Thank you both for reading and commenting.