Francis Smith Sampson (1814-1854)

Francis S. Sampson, D. D., was the son of Richard Sampson, a distinguished agriculturalist in the neighborhood of Dover Mills, Goochland county, Va. He was born in November, 1814, and entered the University of Virginia, September 10th, 1831, and continued his studies there till July, 1836, taking a very extensive course, not only in the Academic departments, but in the schools of Junior Law, Anatomy and Physiology, and securing the degree of Master of Arts, which was then attained by very few. On the 9th of November, 1836, he entered Union Theological Seminary, Va., and on the resignation of Professor Ballantine, in the Spring of 1838, he was appointed teacher of Hebrew, and from that time continued to perform other duties of the Oriental department. He was licensed to preach by the East Hanover Presbytery, in October, 1839, and was ordained as an evangelist by the same Presbytery, in October, 1841. In the Summer of 1848 he crossed the ocean, and after spending nearly a year in Europe, chiefly at the Universities of Halle and Berlin, in the prosecution of his Oriental studies, he returned in August, 1849. In October, 1848, he was elected Professor of Oriental Literature and Language in the Seminary with which he had been connected, but he had for many years performed the work of a full Professor, though with the title and compensation of an assistant. He died April 9th, 1854. Dr. Sampson was eminently characterized by methodical industry, and by the uniformity and healthfulness of his devotional spirit. He was in a high degree conscientious in everything and in nothing more than in the use of property. As a master of the art of communicating knowledge, he was unrivaled. One of the foundation stones of his success was his indisputable scholarship. He was greatly endeared to his pupils. His preaching exhibited the lucid order and the animation of mind which marked everything that he produced.