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John Compton World War I Veteran

John Compton was born July 19, 1896, at Morgan, Utah, the son of George and Caroline Ager Compton. The Fore part of his life there were no cars, no telephones, no electricity nor pipeline water. Drinking water was carried from his grandmother's well which was two blocks away. In the evenings the children all sat around a table with coal oil lamp in the middle of it and got their lessons for school the next day. They had a two-room school house.

John helped build the original "M" on the hill; it was made of whitewashed cobblerocks. He graduated from high school in 1916 in the second class to graduate from Morgan High.

On June 5,1918, John registered for the draft in World War I, but then he and three others (Ivan Geary, Lester Mecham and Curtis Rogers) enlisted and were sent to a special training detachment at the University of Utah where he was put in auto mechanics training although he had filled in his card that he chose the signal corps.

This was the year the flu was so bad and when John caught it he was sent to the Fort Douglas Hospital which was so full of ill soldiers that he was given a bed in the hall, as were many others.

From Salt Lake he was sent to San Francisco. When his group left Salt Lake a large crowd had gathered at the railroad station; some were cheering and some were crying. The soldiers did not know if they would ever see Utah or their loved ones again.

John was put in the 49th Company of the San Francisco Coast Artillery Corps to guard the entrance to the Golden Gate. He was assigned to a large pit mortar and was put in the plotting room where the work was very complicated as no one could see what they were to shoot at. Because he was so quick in math he was kept there the remainder of his time in the army.

One exciting time while he was there occurred while he was on guard duty. It was getting dark and his orders were if anybody came into the area which was near the big guns he was to yell, "Halt," three times and if the person did not stop he was to shoot. John saw a man climb over the high wire fence and drop into forbidden territory. He did not stop until John yelled halt the third time. John thought he would have to shoot him. The next day he learned that the man lived not far from Fort Miley, that he had played golf real late and was taking a short way home.

About December 23,1918, he received his discharge and arrived home the day before Christmas. On September 1,1926, John married his sweetheart. Annie Rogers, and to them were born three daughters, Rosella, Lou Jean and Cherril. The marriage was a happy one.

John was in plays put on to raise money for the church organizations. He was ward clerk for 24 years and for a short time was ward clerk and a bishop's counselor at the same time. He was also a counselor to Arch Rich in the High Priests Quorum, a home teacher for many years and is presently Deseret Industry representative for the Morgan 1st Ward.

He was water master for the Welch Ditch for about 20 years, was chairman of the Flood Control Committee (the farmers gave him a nice gold watch for his efforts), and was on the Weber River Water Rights Committee representing the Weber River from Echo Reservoir to Gateway. He has also been city recorder and a city councilman.

His hobbies have been hunting, fishing, gardening, collecting rocks and lapidary work.

John is now 94 years old. There were about 151 men in the military service from Morgan County in World War I and as far as can be determined he is the only one now living.

John will be honored at a Senior Citizen dinner Wednesday, November 21.


Source: Morgan County News, Friday, November 16, 1990, Morgan Utah, USA


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