Short History of Revolutionary War Veteran James Compton
Birth: Circa 1753 in Maryland Marriage: circa 1780 to Frances Herndon in the Caswell/Orange County, North Carolina area Death: 10 March 1832 Russell County, Virginia Known Children of James Compton and wife Frances Herndon Jeremiah Compton Sr. (1782-1854 David Compton (1785 – 1865) Thomas Compton (1786 – 1855) Larkin Compton (1796 - ?) Mary Compton (1799 - ?) Clara (or Clarey) Compton (1802 - ?) Nancy Compton (1805 – 1866)
Biography James Compton, a Revolutionary War Veteran, is the center point of our research on Jeremiah, David, and Thomas Compton. An 1784 apprentice record in Caswell County, named our Revultionary War James Compton as the son of James Compton Sr. This is all the information we have to the parents of James.
James Compton did leave behind a fifty-four-page Revolutionary War Pension file and some information can be found about the early life of this remarkable man. Although, there are no references to his parents, siblings or even a full list of his children contained in the application. His Y-DNA (paternal DNA) links him genetically with one Aquilla Compton (1724-1805), who was an early inhabitant of Frederick County, Maryland and then North Carolina where James lived. Aquilla and James were neighbors in Caswell and Orange County, North Carolina. Compton researchers have positively identified all the children of Aquilla Compton, therefore our James was not a son of Aquilla.
From available evidence, James and Frances Compton had many children. They likely started having children just following their marriage in 1780 and continued until their last daughter Nancy was born in 1805. Compton researchers in Orange County, Indiana believe a pioneer man of that area named Larkin Compton was a son of James and Frances Compton. This Larkin Compton stated on record he was born in Guilford County, North Carolina in 1796. The Y-DNA of descendants of Larkin match with descendants of both Jeremiah and Thomas Compton providing more evidence of the link to James Compton
James Compton enlisted in the Revolutionary War on February 14th, 1777 in the First Maryland Regiment at Annapolis, Maryland. According to his pension application, he was present at the Battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. Revolutionary War Records show James was discharged on April 25th, 1779 although in his pension application he stated he was discharged in New Jersey on the 25th of September 1779.
By approximately 1780, James had migrated to Lynches Creek, Caswell County, North Carolina where he is found getting married to Frances Herndon. This official marriage record was never found and this date for marriage is given by Larkin Herndon, brother to Frances, who stated he was present at the marriage. The most logical explanation for James’ removal to this area of North Carolina following his Revolutionary War service was likely a familial connection to the afore mentioned James Compton Sr.
The earliest official public record of James in North Carolina comes from the 1784 personal property tax list of St. Luke’s District in Caswell County. On December 24th, 1789 James Compton acts as a witness to a land purchase in Person County. On November 5th, 1799, James sold 100 acres of land to his brother in law Edmund Herndon lying on the waters of Lynches Creek in Orange County. In this deed it states James is indebted to Edmund Herndon for $90 and James gives Edmund the land and some cattle to settle the debt. The deed also stated this is the land that James Compton lives on and is bound to the east and south by Mebane and is on Lynches Creek.
In 1799, a church was organized in Caswell County called the Lynches Creek Baptist Church. David Herndon, the father in law of James Compton, was a founding father of this church. There are no records of James attending this church but his wife Frances Compton is listed as a founding member.
On October 29th, 1818, James Compton applied for a Revolutionary War Pension in Guilford County, North Carolina. James was granted $8.00 monthly and started receiving this payment in March of 1819. John McClintock Dick of Greensboro represented James as his lawyer during the application process. Within the application, James is referred to as James Compton but it stated he is usually called Crumpton!
In this application, we learn James has a very large family, they are poor, and frequently move around. He listed his wife Francis and three daughters Polly, Clarey, and Nancy as inhabitants of his household. James stated he is a tailor by trade but is unable to work much due to a disabled right arm. His list of earthly possessions was as follows; an old mare, one cow, four heads of hogs, one dozen plates, two dishes, two pots, half dozen knives and forks, one loom, two spinning wheels, one pair of cotton cords, one table, one cupboard, one water pail, one washing tub, one pair tailor shears, four chairs, one plough, one hoe.
James is enumerated on the 1820 Guildford County, North Carolina census. His household consisted of a total of seven persons; one white male and one white female over 45 years old (James and his wife Frances), two white females between 16 and 25 years old (Mary and Clarey), one white female between 10 and 15 years old (Nancy), one white female and one white male under 10 years old. The male under 10 is likely Herndon Compton (1819 – 1894), son of Mary and grandson of James Compton.
From the revolutionary war application file, we learn that in March of 1825, James had his certificate of pension and a sum of money stolen. In June 1826, a duplicate certificate was sent to James’ lawyer, John M. Dick in Greensboro. Shortly after this time in approximately 1828, James and Frances relocated to Russell County, Virginia probably to be closer to Jeremiah, David, and Thomas who were already established there.
The 1830 U.S. Federal Census enumerated James Compton in Russell County, Virginia. There were eight total people in the James Compton household in 1830, the extra person was a male under 5 years old who was likely William Cecil Compton, a grandson of James through his daughter Nancy.
James then passed away on March 10th, 1832 having lived in Russell County for only four years. His final resting place is lost although I feel strongly he is buried on Thompson Creek (Route 637) Thousands of descendants of James Compton would call this area home for the next two hundred plus years and thousands more would spread to all corners of the United States.
In April of 1832, the estate of James Compton was sold. The list of people who purchased items at the sale were Frances Compton, Jeremiah Compton, David Compton, Thomas Compton, Hawkins Fuller and Larkin Herndon. David Compton was appointed administrator of the estate.