Marriage: 1. First wife unknown name, mother to all of his children except one 2. Anna Justice, second wife, married 15 February 1850 on McClure River in present day Dickenson County
Death: 21 September 1855 in Pike County, KY on the Levisa Fork of Sandy River, click here for the findagrave link. The death log in Pike County says he was born in Ranoock County, VA and parents were Thomas and Nancy Compton although this information was given by an unknown informant and likely incorrect
Thomas Compton has proven to be the most difficult of the three early Compton men of Russell County to sort out. The confusion related to his family goes back to a statement made in Comptonology in the 1940’s by Hannibal Compton. Hannibal stated that the five sons that now are proven to be children of our Thomas Compton (i.e. John Allen, Lee, James, Benjamin Wallace, and William F) were children of John Compton III of Tazewell County. With the use of Y-DNA and the personal property tax lists of Russell County, we can now prove John Allen, Lee, James, Benjamin Wallace, and William F were the five male children of Thomas Compton and did not belong to John Compton III of Tazewell.
The Russell County, Virginia personal property tax lists have been the most useful in sorting out the male children of Thomas Compton. On the 1830 Russell County, Virginia census, Thomas Compton is listed with five total male children in his household. Exactly five Compton men named John Allen, Lee, James, Benjamin Wallace, and William F, show up on the Russell County tax lists between 1834 and 1845. These men do not belong to either Jeremiah Compton Sr. or David Compton so that leaves Thomas Compton as the most likely father. On one tax list William F Compton is referred to as “William of Thomas” further solidifying the fact.
Thomas Compton first appeared in Russell County, Virginia records on the 1810 personal property tax list, the same year David appeared. Thomas and David would then remain on adjacent farms on Thompson Creek until Thomas migrated to Pike County, Kentucky around 1850. On the 1840 Russell County census in the household of Thomas Compton is a female listed between the age of 70-79. Most likely this is Thomas’s mother, Frances Herndon Compton as it fits her age range and by this point she is a widow. David Compton does not have an older female in his household on this census to account for Frances so it is extremely likely Thomas is keeping his aging mother at this point.
Thomas served in the War of 1812 and was drafted in Russell County according to his testimony. He later received a land grant in Pike County for his service. Also found related to Thomas Compton is a letter he dictated (Thomas was illiterate) to David Compton’s son Basil in 1848 who had moved out of the area. This letter was found with the collection of letters that David Compton sent to his son Basil now at the West Virginia State Archive. In the letter, Thomas refers to Basil as “nephew”,more evidence that Thomas and David were brothers. In the letter Thomas states he cannot find a good place to settle and don’t know where he will end up. That was 1848, then by 1850 Thomas is found in a different geographical location living near McClure River in present day Fremont, Dickenson County, Virginia where he would marry his second wife Anna Justice.
Thomas is next found in Pike County, Kentucky where he applied for a Bounty Land Grant for his service in the War of 1812. It is not coincidence that this land that he received near Island Creek Pike County was less than two miles from two other Compton men, William F and Lee! Further solidifying the fact that Thomas was the father of William F and Lee Compton.
Thomas Compton died in 1855 and his son in law ?? Ratliff supplied the burial clothes. Thomas’s second wife Anna applied for Widow’s Pension in Pike County in 1857. Not surprisingly the main witness during the application was Lee Compton although Lee never stated he was the son of Thomas it can be inferred quite easily.
Unfortunately, the children of Thomas Compton have been mistakenly attributed to John Compton III based solely on the statement by Hannibal Compton in Comptonology. This has led to great confusion and misalignment for researchers of this family. Now with the use of Y-DNA along the tax lists and much indirect evidence, we can confidently link these children to Thomas Compton!