The first week of May in Palmyra and vicinities history was filled with loss and sometimes celebration.
Since we are talking about a span of 228 years, this probably happened in every month; however two of our favorite sons died in early May. S. Nelson Sawyer, New York State Supreme Court justice and active community member, died May 1, 1939. On May 6, 1902, our Rear Adm. William T. Sampson died.
The Naval training placed on permanent loan to the village of Palmyra the ship’s gun placed in front of Palmyra National Bank owned by Pliny T. Sexton. Years later when Village Main Street Park was created and donated, it was placed to the east of the bandstand. This gun remains there today.
Did you know that Sampson went to school in bare feet? He was poor and worked helping support his family run to the little one-room schoolhouse, study by candlelight and help his father make bricks as they built their new home on Johnson Street. He became a beloved hero of the USA a tactician, commander of the Atlantic Fleet during the Spanish American War. He was first in his class in Annapolis, Maryland, and now there is a NYS park, museum and a national cemetery that bears his name. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Each year in September beginning in 1902, Sampson Day was held and the community brought out its finest buntings and flags. His birth home may be gone, but we still have his childhood home, so all is not lost.
The Hon. Samuel Nelson Sawyer also worked with his father, who was a house builder, building many of the lovely homes in Palmyra. One that comes to mind is the McGuire/ Hargrave Funeral Home on East Jackson Street. Samuel Sawyer enlisted the aid of his son on many of his jobs, as did many of the fathers of the day. The home was originally built for B.H. Davis, but after S. Nelson Sawyer became an adult and lawyer he purchased this same home.
Thank you to the generous, kind, supportive people and businesses of Palmyra, Macedon and surrounding areas. Historic Palmyra had its 13th annual fundraising dinner April 29. This year was our best ever. It was fun, the food was amazing and the auctions were stimulating. The volunteers were many from setup, waitresses, waiters, chef and grillers. Thank you all for coming to support the five museums of Historic Palmyra and the programs, events and history we offer. We could not do this without the generous support from so many.
Now we are onto another summer season as Tuesday, May 9, opens the museums from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All museums are open, and your tours begin at the Palmyra Historical Museum, 132 Market St. If you need access to any or all of the museums, call 315-597-6981 or arrive at the Historical Museum for a full tour of all five or whichever museum you choose.
We ask that when someone asks you what there is to do in Palmyra that you say the five museums of Historic Palmyra are like no others. Shop local; their success is our success. Want to volunteer? Just call.