by Doris Wolf
He was a hero of the Spanish American War, and the man for whom Sampson State Park was named. And now future generations can learn about the accomplishments of Admiral William Sampson.
On Saturday, Rear Admiral (Retired) Dr. Peter Andrus of Skaneateles helped members of the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery Committee unveil a monument to Admiral William Thompson Sampson at the military museum at Sampson State Park. The monument was presented to the state park in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Sampson.
The 2,083 acre Sampson State Park was established in 1942 as a training station for the US Navy in World War II. It was named for Admiral Sampson, a native of Palmyra, who served in the Navy from 1857-1902. Sampson served in the American Civil War, participated in the blockade of the South and the sinking of the USS Patapsco, the Spanish American War, blockade of Cuba, bombardment of San Juan and battle of Santiago de Cuba. He was Commander of the Alert, the Mayflower, the Swatara, the San Francisco, the Iowa and the North Atlantic Station.
When the station was reactivated as an Air Force training station for airmen in the Korean War, there was a contest to rename it, but it eventually was decided that the name Sampson was so well known world wide that the facility retained the name Sampson.
The handsome black granite stone will be on display in the courtyard of the military museum.
“It is fitting that the monument be on display here, in the place named for him, where visitors can learn about this great military hero,” said Rick Connors, president of the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery Committee.
Visitors to Salute to the Troops on Saturday learned that Sampson wasn’t the only Naval Admiral to come from the area. Seneca County Historian Walt Gable, who will soon publish a book on the history of Sampson, told visitors some of the stories that will be in his book, including that of Ovid native Andrew Dunlap.
Dunlap attended NYS Agricultural College at Ovid before becoming a midshipman in 1862. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1867 and had an active naval career, rising through the ranks to become a Rear Admiral in 1905. He served in Europe and the Pacific from 1867-68. During the Spanish American War, Dunlap was commander of the USS Solace, an ambulance and hospital ship that was part of the Sampson Fleet. In November 1898, the Solace brought officers and men to establish a naval station at San Juan, Puerto Rico. After transporting officers and men to and from the Philippine Islands aboard the Solace, Dunlap was made commandant of the US naval station at San Juan.
In addition to the Sampson monument, the Sampson Veterans Memorial Committee presented a commemorative stone to the museum in recognition of the beginnings of the planning for the nearby Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery. First proposed by Stephen Bull, founder of Sampson WWII Navy Veterans, the idea of establishing a cemetery on a portion of the Sampson property was taken up by the planning committee that worked tirelessly to plan and establish the cemetery, dedicated in 2011.
Making the presentation were Seneca County manager C. Mitchell Rowe, at the time a member of the Seneca County Planning Department; Don Linborg, committee vice chairman; Richard Connors Sr., committee chairman and Carman Pascarella Jr, committee secretary.
Sampson, one of the most popular state parks in the Finger Lakes, features 245 electrical sites, 64 non electrical sites and seven rustic cabins. In addition to camping facilities, Sampson offers a 103-slip marina, the only one in mid lake, and a boat launching site, marine pumpout, and swimming area.
Other facilities include concession stands, picnic areas and pavilions, restrooms with hot showers, a fitness area, tennis courts, baseball diamond, basketball court, playgrounds and trailer water fill station and dumping facilities. There is a recreation building where campers may rent bicycles, miniature golf, and the Sampson Military Museum. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the park is $7 per car. No additional admission is charged at the museum.
Join Seneca Daily On Facebook HERE
SUPPORT THE SENECA COUNTY
HOUSE OF CONCERN
IN ITS EFFORT TO FEED HUNGRY PEOPLE
RIGHT HERE IN SENECA COUNTY.