Friday, July 22, 2011

Somers Pointers Visit Somers, New York

Locals supporting namesake travel to Somers, N.Y.

By Staff Writer SHAUN SMITH Locals supporting namesake travel to Somers, N.Y.
Wednesday, 20 July 2011

SOMERS POINT – The effort to bring home the remains of Richard Somers traveled north last month when local leaders met with those of Somers, N.Y.

Mayor Jack Glasser traveled three hours to the Westchester County town named for Somers in 1808. He was joined by his son Jack, Sally Hastings, president of the Somers Point Historical Society, her husband Kirk, and members of the Somers family, Dean and Vicki Somers and Anita Smith. The town was founded in 1788 under the name Stephentown.

During its July 4 celebration at Reis Park, on June 25 the townspeople of Somers (pronounced SO-mers) turned out to welcome Glasser and the Somers Point contingent.

Getting there was a long time coming.

Sally Hastings said she received a call from Somers, N.Y., about five years ago describing the bust of Richard Somers and the streets and parked named in his honor.

She said she didn’t know there was such a town prior to the call.

“There are a number of other communities named for Richard Somers,” Hastings said July 19. “Somers Point is not. It’s named after the Somers family. But others are. That just shows the national influence he had in 1804. It made national news when he was killed.”

Then, she was contacted by the sister-city’s historical society vice president Grace Zimmermann.

While they were there, Glasser received the key to the city from town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy. Glasser, Dean Somers and Hastings were also presented with copies of the town’s charter documents naming it after Somers.

“The warmth they showed to us up there was really grand – it’s just a beautiful area,” Glasser said Tuesday, July 19.

Hastings said the group was received graciously with their host town having a luncheon and afternoon tea in their honor as well as a tour of the 33 square-mile town.

“They were very, very nice and everything. Although it’s large, it’s homey,” Hastings said.

He said they also gained the support of the townspeople to contact their legislators to support the Rogers-LoBiondo amendment that authorizes the return of the remains of Somers and the crew of the Intrepid to the United States from a mass grave in Tripoli, Libya.

“We understand sometime in the fall we will be seeing more action with the National Defense Authorization Act and hopefully we will see some movement from one of our senators from the great state of New Jersey in support of this Somers amendment as we call it,” Glasser said.

“It’s great to have an open dialogue with another town. We’ve asked the people of Somers, New York to come down for Richard Somers Day to receive the key to our city. Of course, it is a great exchange to celebrate the history concerning Richard Somers and the crew of the Intrepid,” said Glasser.

Glasser said he was passionate about bringing home the remains of the fallen heroes.

“Everyone realizes this is a passion for me, not only because I’m a veteran and I feel no servicemen should be left behind, but Richard Somers was someone who was born here in Somers Point and obviously he went to war when this country was a very young nation,” Glasser said. “Obviously, they had to be special people to volunteer for a mission like this.”

Glasser said he hopes to make it back to Somers.

The Richard Somers Day ceremony will be held at 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 at a place to be determined due to ongoing construction around Somers Mansion.

The online petition can be found at

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