Capt. Andrew J. Compton

By Charles Compton 2015
Pictures submitted by Janeen Compton Gaul

Andrew Jackson Compton was born to Peter and Maria Buckbee Compton in Jersey, Steuben County (later Orange, Schuyler, County) New York on December 4, 1829. He was the 6th child. Andy's father, Peter Compton, was not one to be tied down for any long period of time it appears. He was somewhat of an adventurer as well as patriotic. Four or five years after he married he was commissioned as a colonel in the Eighty-first New York Militia by Governor Marcy. Under Governor Bouck and the state senate he was appointed inspector of the Eighteenth brigade, which position he held until the state militia was disbanded. Peter was a carpenter by trade and did well as a foreman and lake boat builder himself for some years.
In 1849 or 50, his father outfitted Andy, his older brother Charley and son in-law John Parker for the goldfields of California. They settled in Grass Valley. Andy soon got into acting and teaching dancing.

Andy's father had made several trips to California, and by 1857 was living there. That same year he and Andy went back to New York to bring back his wife and son, Gale. While there, Andy married Elvira Catherine Coryell and brought her back to California with the rest of the family.

Andy's first son, Charles, was born in Grass Valley in 1859. It wasn't long after that that war broke out and Peter, with Andy's little family traveled back to New York, where he, Andy, subsequently became Commander of B Company 141st Regiment, New York Vol.

In 1861 another son, Harry, was born in Havana.

According to his obituary, Peter Compton had one company of 100 men boarding at his expense when the proclamation was made that no more troops were needed. His company was disbanded, and he paid all bills out of his own pocket. Shortly after, there was a call for 300,000 more men due to the Peninsula Campaign. He again commenced recruiting, and raised three companies. Of one company a neighbor was made captain, and Andy was commissioned a captain of another which was Company B., 141st Regiment of N. Y. Volunteers on September 11, 1862.

Andy prevailed on his father to allow him to go, and to consent to remain at home himself. Andy served with distinction. He acted as colonel at Atlanta, his superior officer having been killed.

In May of 1864 at the Battle of Dallas, New Hope Church, Georgia, Andy was injured by an exploding canister. Andy was sent to the University of Nashville, where a 3 story brick building was used for an officer's hospital. He remained there until the 14th of August when he rejoined his regiment at Atlanta, Georgia. Finding it impossible to walk, Andy offered his resignation and was honorably discharged in Atlanta.

Andy returned to Havana to his wife and children. At one point he served as Justice of the Peace.

After his return from the war Andy and his father together bought into a mill property, mortgaging the old homestead to secure payment. They added some improvements at considerable expense, and were called on to repair great damages caused by a washout. Friends for whom they had stood as security failed, and the whole property, mill, farm and everything went to pay the debt. [From Peter's obituary]

I would have to guess that Andy's health after his discharge may have improved and later deteriorated.

In 1866 another child, Fred, was added to the family. Fred died in Denver, Colorado in 1877.

At some point in time, he and his wife became estranged, and in 1874 Andy alone returned to Grass Valley. Andy was receiving an Invalids Pension due to his injury at New Hope Church.

From the Grass Valley Daily Union February 16, 1881
Capt. Andrew J. Compton has been seriously ill for several days and his condition is considered critical.
The weather at this time was particularly bad according to the newspaper. It was stated that the social gatherings would go on despite the weather. Andy was attending these functions and this no doubt contributed to his death.

Andrew J. Compton died in Grass Valley, California on February 17, 1881. He died from pneumonia. His attending physician was a Dr. Webster. Andy is buried in the Elm Ridge Cemetery, Masonic Section in Grass Valley.
Note: Havana is now Montour Falls, Schuyler County, NY

Elvira Catherine Coryell Compton

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Last Update February 15, 2020