Nellie May Compton
My mother Nellie May Compton was born in a two room log cabin May 1, 1894. She was the third of nine children in the family of George and Caroline Ager Compton.
When she was about 2 years of age she was entered in a Morgan County Fair contest for the prettiest baby. She won first place and the prize was this portrait of her. (paper version)
Mother loved gum and when she was little she always wanted to go to the store to buy some. To discourage her, her mother told her that gum was made out of cat's guts. Mother replied, "I wish they would kill all of the cats and make more gum".
She enjoyed school and her best subject was spelling. She won many spelling contests throughout her school years. Mother completed the eighth grade of school, which was the highest grade Morgan had at the time. Her graduation was held in the Opera House (which is now Spring Chicken Inn). This picture was taken of her right after graduation. Mother's sister Sylvia made her eyelet dress and Mother bought the hat for two dollars, which was an expensive price to pay at that time. She said that she felt so elegant and grown up.
Mother loved beautiful things and did a lot of crocheting, sewing and other intricate handwork. She also sewed most of her own clothes.
All of her family had to work hard in order to keep the household running. Washing, ironing, gardening, and bottling produce from the garden kept all of them busy.
To earn spending money she would pick gooseberries and wild currants and sell them to the Stewart Hotel. She worked at the pea factory in Morgan in the summer and the tomato factory in Uintah in the fall. She also worked at the Stewart Hotel as a house keeper. Ironing, washing dishes, scrubbing floors, and changing beds, all for three dollars a week.
She met Conrad Smith in the theater located on the first floor of the Opera House. He asked to take her
home in his buggy after the movie. They courted about a year and a half and on November 21, 1914 they were married. Their married life was marked by hardship, but together they worked hard and overcame their obstacles.
They were parents of eight children, Wayne, Arlene, Neita, Beth, Sturle, Carol, Joyce, and Dot. Sturle died shortly after birth.
We remember what a good cook she was. Especially the hot fresh bread right from the oven.
She was such a hard worker. She canned strawberries, raspberries, and peaches, that her and Dad grew
in their garden. In the hot summer, she would walk to a small farm nearby, pick asparagus and green beans, and carry them home to can. Canning in those days meant no pressure cooker, a wood stove, and boiling the bottles in a water bath for four hours. All without air conditioning or even a fan.
Mother had a mild temperament and would never raise her voice. Instead of getting angry she would feel bad when we would argue or misbehave. We didn't like to see her feel bad so we wouldn't argue in front of her. She never spanked us although we probably needed it a few times. She would never let us criticize or complain about anyone. No matter what we said about a person, she would usually defend them. She would say "If you can't say something nice about them then don't say anything." or "If you can't get along with your friends then don't play with them."
She was never able to give us many material things. What she did give us was worth far more than that.
Lessons taught by example of love, kindness, integrity, and hard work, that will influence us forever.
She was a wonderful mother, and a virtuous, gracious woman. I hope that we, as her posterity, will be
able to live up to her example.
Joyce Smith Weaver