The History of Taylor County Chapter Two Hundred Ninety Five


Mrs. Compton Passes (Continued)

Mrs. Compton, perhaps, attended the opening of the historical old Grafton hotel when landlord Horace Ressley opened the doors of this famous old hostelry for inspection of the citizens and their wives of the village on that June day, 1857. She watched the stirring scenes of the campaign of 1860 and doubtless trembled for the safety of her husband, outspoken in his support if President Abraham Lincoln and the politics of the new Republican party, dangerous in this section of Virginia then steeped in the traditions and customs of the South and hen Lincoln was duly selected president of the United States saw the ominous was clouds gather over the valley of Tygart and friends and neighbors become bitter foes overnight, divided in the cause each believed themselves right. She saw a patriotic citizen unfurl the flag of the Union over his door and watched men to the number of 100 enter the flag draped door and enroll for service in federal cause to keep this nation one and undivided that was established so long before for mutual protection against an enemy from within and without and saw these men that were given the name of the Grafton Guards drilled on the village street in preparation for service in case of war and saw the invasion of the men in gray who vainly attempted to seize the town for the Confederacy and the bodies of all persons known to aid, or be in sympathy, with the cause of the Union, and with hundreds of others viewed the inert form of the patriotic Thornsbury Bailey Brown, the first man to make the supreme sacrifice on the historic Wednesday, May 22,1861, to keep this nation one and undivided as the founders who risked so much for liberty of the American colonies intended.

She doubtless gladly filled a basket of delicacies and tendered the food as a token of welcome to the regiment of the boys in blue commanded by Colonel B.F. Kelley and Ebenezer Dumont on their arrival at the old Baltimore and Ohio passenger station in what that Thursday, May 30, 1861, and from her window saw these men in blue march past her home to stage the first land battle of the bloody Civil War and watched men erect a great frame hospital across the waters of the Tygart Valley river for the care and rehabilitation of those maimed and stricken in the war and then saw many of her neighbors return to the town to resume their gainful occupations when hostilities ceased. 

She doubtless felt thankful to John W. Blue in coming forward and giving the town of Grafton a burial place for the dead saving the people from the long trip to Pruntytown or Knottsville for the interment of the people of the Protestant faith as Grafton had only a place of burial for people of the Catholic faith at the time. She was witness to the gathering of the citizens near her home to hold the first exercise for commemorating the memory of the men whom the federal government exhumed from the land on upper Maple Avenue and interred in the new Nation Cemetery over in West Grafton on that mid-day in June, 1868, and she undoubtedly read the first issue of the Grafton Sentinel that came from the press, Friday, April 8, 1870, which her husband was one of the founders and this journal devoted to local interests found its way into her home during her lifetime.

Like all the citizens of the town, she accompanied her husband in attending the opening of the Taylor County Agricultural and Mechanical association’s first county fair on October 19, 1870, and was amazed at the number of exhibits that came from farms and homes of the people and felt proud that her husband was one of the promoters of this institution and one of the committee to purchase the fairground site. She accompanied her husband to the old Baltimore and Ohio passenger station to see and hear that great hero of the Civil War, President U.S. Grant, speak in the interest of his re-election for the highest office within the gift of the people and was a witness to the disgraceful attempt to prevent the first citizen of the American nation to address the people of Grafton in 1872. 

From her window she saw the great funeral cortege pass by her home carrying all that was mortal of Hugh Evans, Sr., Sheriff of Taylor County, who died while in office, July 12,1873, and was being taken to Knottsville for burial followed by practically every citizen of the county to pay their respects to that popular county officer.

For many years she saw the people meet and arranged on marching order to celebrate the annual Independence day exercises religiously held by those patriotic first citizens who closed their shops and laid aside their daily tasks to observe this historic day in a great free nation. She felt thankful when the Baltimore and Ohio erected a bridge over their tracks to the old passenger station that safeguarded the lives of hers and other children of the town who prior to this were compelled to cross the dangerous tracks to reach  West Grafton where so many of the early events were held. She adorned her home and dressed her children to take part in the great celebration of July 4, 1876,to commemorate the 100th anniversary of American independence and felt a thrill when her lovely daughter about whose shoulders was fastened a sash proclaiming her representative of the state of Delaware and the place of her father’s nativity rode by on the float of states in that historic celebration. 

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