Caroline Ager Compton
To give the reader of this history a perspective in time, these were the things that were happening in America at the time Caroline was born.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. The Civil war between the Northern and Southern States ended the last of April 1865. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated April 15, 1865. In 1870 the population of Morgan County was 1972.
Caroline Ager Compton was born January 19, 1865 to John Ager and Caroline Coolbear Ager in a humble log cabin with a dirt roof and dirt floor. It was located down by Canyon Creek in Morgan County, Utah. She was the second child in the family. The first twenty-four hours after her birth was a struggle between life and death; then the tiny baby Caroline became stronger and well. In 1866 she was blessed.
When she was a baby her mother put her on a blanket and left her Iying on the ground while she picked hops. These plants were used to make yeast, drinks, and for medicinal purposes. When Caroline's mother turned around to check on her, there was a large rattlesnake crawling over her baby's face, but it had not bitten her. As the snake slithered away, a very frightened mother grabbed her baby and quickly left the area. She was so thankful that her baby Caroline had not been harmed.
In the summertime the Indians were quite numerous and a little hostile. Sometimes around 200 Indians would pass through Morgan Valley. They wanted to claim the valley. The Morgan people would feed them to keep peace. Brigham Young said, "It is better to feed them than fight them."
When Caroline was a young baby her mother placed her in a cradle by the door of the log cabin to get some sunshine. Some Indians came to the door and with grunts and motions asked her mother for she thought was food. When she stepped out of the cabin a couple of minutes later with some food, her baby and the Indians were gone. Desperately frightened she ran and told her husband that Indians had stolen their baby! John went after them, caught up with them, and demanded they give him his baby. The Indians were angry but finally gave the baby back to a grateful father and went on their way. There were a lot of happy tears shed when the baby was placed in her mother's arms.
When Caroline was only three years of age, her father John Ager was drowned in the Weber River. A full account of this is recorded in her parents history, John Ager and Caroline Coolbear Ager.
This story was printed in The Friend December 1997, by Melissa Sedrick as told by Sarah Leone Compton Christensen.
Boss's Christmas Gift
"It was Christmas Eve, and large, soft snowflakes were gently falling. Three small girls--(daughters of John and Caroline Ager) Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Sarah Amelia Ager, who was often called Pet--were home alone while their widowed mother was at work. The three girls were worried about Santa not being able to get down their chimney, so they decided to sweep a path for him from the outside gate to the front door. Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Pet were excited as they finished and went inside their home.
In the house was a very large rocking chair, and all three girls cuddled up in it. They were beginning to get tired, when they heard their family cow, Boss, mooing and mooing. "Poor old Boss," Pet said. "She must be hungry."
They were quiet for a minute; then Sarah said, "Its Christmas, and Boss doesn't have one Christmas present, not even something to eat. Caroline came up with a wonderful idea: "Our mattress is filled with nice dried grass. Let's feed it to Boss."
So Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Pet pulled the covers off their bed, struggled to get a good hold on the mattress, and pulled it into the front room. They put on their coats and gloves, then dragged the mattress through the doorway and over to the barnyard. They ripped open the mattress and dumped the grass out. Old Boss stopped mooing and got busy eating her Christmas Eve supper. The very tired girls returned to the house. They curled up in the big rocking chair and were soon fast asleep.
When their mother got home, she awakened the girls and told them to go to bed. Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Pet told her that they couldn't because they had fed their bed to the cow. So that night their mother let them sleep in the big rocking chair.
Sometime that night, Santa came and filled their stockings with yummy things to eat. And the next morning a good neighbor came with a load of hay and straw. So old Boss got a second Christmas present, and Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Pet got a new straw bed."
Caroline was baptized by William Hemming in 1873 and confirmed by Jessie Haven.
When she was about eleven years old she began earning money of her own tending babies for fifty cents a week.
She had the usual childhood diseases, whooping cough, scarlet fever and later diphtheria. At that time there were not any vaccines and these diseases spread rapidly around the community.
Because of conditions at that time, Caroline's education was limited. The first school she attended was held in two log rooms built where the Spring Chicken Inn now stands. In each room was a bucket full of water with one dipper for all to drink from. They had an outdoor toilet that was very cold in the winter.
Her first teacher was Mrs. Richard Rawle. James Mason was her second teacher. Lessons were taught in the morning and in the afternoon sewing was taught to the girls. She completed the fourth grade.
When Caroline was a teenager she worked several years in Ogden for Alec Ross. She was only able to come home occasionally. She then worked about eight years doing house work, for Joe Williams and his wife. Mr. Williams was a successful merchant in Morgan.
Caroline went to Green River, Wyoming with her sister Mary Ellen. She worked there several years, then returned to Morgan and went to work for Eliza Durrant Ursenback Compton, George Compton's first wife. Eliza was very ill for several years and died January 8, 1890 when she was 45 years old. She left a daughter, Sarah Jane and a son Octave Ursenback.
GEORGE AND CAROLINE AGER COMPTON'S MARRIED LIFE
George and Caroline's courtship began a few months after the death of his first wife Eliza. They continued their courtship for about a year. They were married December 23, 1890 by Bishop Charles Turner. She was 25 years old and he was 44. They were later sealed in the Salt Lake Temple with their five children September 13,1900.
In 1890 when George and Caroline were married, the LDS Church membership was around 205,000 and Morgan Stake membership was 1,595. Now in 1998 Church membership is nearing 10,070,520.
They began their married life in a three room house near the home she had grown up in. Caroline had a older daughter, Sylvia, who was born in Green River, Wyoming. Eight children were born to Caroline and George, George Albert, Nellie May, John Ager, James Warwick, Carrie Rozella, Don Albert who died at birth, Alta Afton and Sarah Leone. George and Caroline lived happily, seldom if ever quarreling or bickering. They were a married couple who got along well. They worked together, planning and buying property and paying their debts. Within a few years all of the debts on the farm were paid.
While running the fifty acre farm, George had to hire help until his children were old enough to work with him. Rose liked to ride the derrick horse to pull the hay up in the barn. George always believed in having plenty of farming tools and implements. At one time he had thirteen pitchforks. Taxes on fifty acres of land in 1890 were $2.50.
On hot days when George had been laboring on the farm, he would drop in the house for a cold drink. Caroline would have lemonade, cold tea, or home made root beer ready for him. If it was a cold day, he would sit by the warm kitchen stove and sip a cup of hot tea, or a bowl of composition tea. George greatly appreciated her thoughffulness.
Caroline was a hard worker in her home and in her garden. She always had a good vegetable garden and took care of it most of the time, because the men were often too busy with the farm work to help. Some of the nice fresh vegetables she would give to relatives and neighbors. Caroline was happy in her work and never complained. She was very economical and frugal; nothing ever went to waste.
One of Caroline's special desserts was what she called "Blu Monge Pudding". It was made with cornstarch, sugar, milk, and vanilla or lemon flavoring. She would bring the ingredients to a boil and then pour it into sauce dishes to cool. Red jelly was then spooned in the center of each serving. The white pudding with red jelly would look so appetizing and taste so good.
In the winter Caroline would make a lot of delicious fruit cakes. She also would make a puff pastry to use for her pie crusts. This made the crust very flaky. She was quite ingenious with her cooking, some of which she learned when she was young and worked at the Broom Hotel in Ogden.
All the daughters helped with the housework. One big job was washing and ironing clothes for this large family. The water had to be carried out of the ditch in front of the house, put into a big copper or tin boiler then heated on the coal and wood stove. Wood was chopped and many arm-loads brought into the house to keep the hre going. Soap was made with Iye and left-over grease. This cleaned the clothes quite well. The clothes were rubbed on a wash board, whites first and then colored. They were rinsed by hand, then hung outside on the clothes line to dry. In the winter clothes were hung in the house to dry.
Their first washing machine was run by turning a wheel by hand; this would swish the clothes around inside the machine and clean them. A big black iron, heated on the stove was used to press the clothes. When the iron would get too cold it would be put back on the stove and another one that had been heating would be used.
In 1906 Caroline was operated on for a hernia that had bothered her for many years. The doctor was afraid to risk the trip to an Ogden hospital so he operated on her at home. Because she had her babies at home too, she never had to stay in the hospital. She was good at nursing her family using some of the old pioneer remedies. She always carried in her apron pocket a small bottle of her apricot cordial (her own special brew). When various fruits were in season, especially apricots, she would make her cordials. With a twinkle in her eye, she would say that a little sip of it always made the sick ones feel better. Another remedy was composition tea, which was made of many different herbs. It was good for many ailments, like chills, colds, stomach cramps, etc.
The children had the usual childhood illnesses such as whooping cough, measles, chicken pox and mumps. Caroline knew how to treat these diseases. She also relied more on the administration of the Elders than she did the doctors.
At one time George worked for J. Williams and Sons in their merchandise store in Morgan. The store was facing the train depot so when he was working he would watch for the Federal Authorities to get off the train. They would usually come to William's store and ask where different people lived. If he knew the authorities were looking for polygamists he would send someone to alert the family and the men would go into hiding.
On April 8, 1892, George had the opportunity to go on the top of the Latter Day Saint Temple in Salt Lake City and saw close up the gold plated statue of the Angel Moroni. This was a very special experience for him.
George Compton worked for the Morgan City and County for a few years. On January 1, 1906 he took the office of Morgan City Recorder and began taking minutes of the City Council on January 2nd. Sylvia often copied the minutes onto the record book for her father. The salary was $75.00 a year and was raised to $90.00 in 1909. He was janitor at the Morgan Court House from 1910 to 1916. During the years 1912 to 1916 he was building inspector, and in 1919 was janitor and fireman for the Morgan County High School. He was aided by family members. For the next two years the family had the job tending the furnaces at the high school and grade school. Some did the sweeping and cleaning, George and his son Jim took care of the furnaces. They would get up about six o' clock, start the fire at the high school, then go to the grade school and start the fire there. They would turn the dampers down then come back to the high school and check that furnace. George would watch the furnaces the rest of the day. (the buildings were about two blocks apart). He served as fireman from about 1919 to 1923.
People said George was a brilliant man and when they had a legal problem they could come to him for help.
George was good at forecasting weather. When he carried an umbrella people knew that most likely it would rain.
Caroline attended Mutual and was a Sunday School teacher. She was a faithful Relief Society member and Visiting Teacher for many years. She also belonged to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.
Often in the evening after supper, and lessons were done, the family would gather in the living room. Games were played such as Rook or Hearts, jokes shared, songs sung. Father George would play tunes on the organ accompanying the songs. Some of the songs were "I've Got a Gal and You Have None", "Little Liza Jane", and "The Keyhole In The Door".
Many a Sunday afternoon in the summertime they would get a large freezer of ice cream ready for the boys to freeze and always a big homemade cake to go with it. The family would enjoy such a great treat as well as the neighbors who would drop in. Sunday afternoons were special and so much fun.
When the Comptons were remolding their home a strange thing happened. Every time the wind blew, music could be heard, not really a tune, just music.
The family wondered where it was coming from. They discovered that under a window some chinking had fallen out from between the logs. Someone had put a mouth organ in the crevicel and it fell between the log wall and the new one. So every time the wind blew the mouth organ would play. The mystery was solved.
Caroline loved children, enjoyed a good joke and saw the funny side of about everything. She liked to play tricks on people and had a great sense of humor.
Some of the High School Students used to crawl over a fence and get into the Compton's raspberry patch. Caroline got tired of them tramping through the patch so she carefully pulled some raspberries out of their hulls, put a little cayenne pepper in the raspberries and carefully put them back into the hulls. She marked the spot in the patch so the family would not get them. That afternoon she watched the school kids sneak into the berry patch. Soon they came running out, fanning their mouths and wondering what happened to the lucious berries. This probably stopped them from coming back.
She made root beer often, especially in the summer. To keep it cool she stored it down the cellar under the house. Kids used to sneak down there and steal some root beer. Caroline knew who was taking it so she opened a couple of bottles, put into them a little dry mustard, salt and spices to make it taste horrible. The bottles were put back on the shelf in plain sight. A couple of days later she saw the kids coming out of the cellar spitting and gagging. They really got a surprise and did not come back again.
Jim, the youngest son, was a challenge to his mother. She could not convince him to keep his shirt tail tucked into his pants, so she sewed lace on the bottom of all of his shirts. He then made sure his shirt tail went into hiding.
Jim used to sneak outside at night. His mother had repeatedly warned him that she didn't want him out after dark where she could not keep track of him. He continued to disobey her. One evening she nailed his shoes to the floor. That stopped him in his tracks.
Caroline kept a Sears catalog in the their outdoor toilet to read and use. In the winter she hung a shawl in there so you could put it around your shoulders. She did not want anyone to get cold while sitting on the old "two-holer".
The boys, John and Jim were supposed to feed the pigs. The pigs were hungry and one had rooted out of the pen and got it's head stuck in a feed bucket. With it's head stuck it couldn't see where it was going and fell down the cellar steps. When the family arrived home they heard banging and snorting down in the cellar. When the boys investigated, they found the pig with a bucket on it's head running around wild and frightened. What a sight!
A man by the name of Russell from South Weber used to stay at the Compton's when he was in Morgan. He always hid a bottle of whiskey in the wagon under the hay and took little swigs about all day. He told Caroline that for some reason he always felt a little dizy in the evening. She knew it was the whiskey that made him dizzy. One evening he came to the house to stay all night. Caroline told her son John to empty the whiskey bottle and fill it with tea. The next morning when Mr. Russell left, the family watched him grab his bottle out of the hiding place and take a big gulp. He pulled a face and spit the tea out just like it was poison. The family had a good laugh. Mr. Russell did not come to visit again.
Caroline would go to quite a bit of preparation to have fun with her family on the morning of April Fool's day. The children would put their feet into their shoes - lo and behold they couldn't get them on. The toes of the shoes were stuffed with paper. She sewed large coat buttons on their clothes so that when they tried to button them the big buttons would not fit through the button holes. There were tricks at the breakfast table that brought giggles and laughter. The home-made biscuits had cotton in the centers - the salt shaker was hlled with sugar, and the sugar bowl had salt in it. She was in her glory, as the morning would turn into a hilarious time of April Fool.
Another funny episode happened when Afton was just a little girl and had picked up a few swear words. Her mother told her that whenever she used those naughty words she would put salt in her mouth. Well, this particular time Afton let out some swear words and then turned to her brother Jack and said "dammit Jack, go get the salt". Everyone had a hard time holding back a laugh.
A very well dressed lady caller dropped in on Caroline for a little visit. She wasn't everyone's favorite person but she was made welcome. She was dressed in a lovely black taffeta dress. As children do sometimes, Afton felt a little animosity toward the lady. Quietly, Afton eased over on the floor next to the lady and proceeded to wipe her little nose on the ladies beautiful skirt. As you can imagine this shortened the lady's visit. Caroline got quite a kick out of it.
When her son George was just a little boy, she had gathered a pan full of eggs and put them on a table. The room had a carpet with a floral pattern on it. Caroline had to leave the room for a short time and young George proceeded to break an egg in the center of each flower on the rug. Caroline was not too pleased.
One day little Jim was missing. When he was found he was quite far from home and was carrying a butcher knife. When questioned where he was going he calmly answered "I was hunting Indians". Jim was quite an adventurous child and had a mind of his own. As he grew older he didn't care much about going to church, so he came up with a plan. He took his new shoes out to the chopping block and chopped them up with the ax. He was not happy when he still had to go to church.
When Conrad Alma Smith was courting Nellie May Compton, he used to come in his buggy and tie his horse to the old wooden picket fence along the side of the Compton home. Little by little the horse whittled the tops of the fence down. The family never let him forget what his horse had done.
In the winter of 1918, the terrible flu epidemic was going around Morgan and other nearby cities. So many people died from this disease that everyone was really frightened. Everyone stayed away from people who had the flu.
Caroline's daughter, Nellie, who was married and expecting her fourth child, caught the flu along with her husband and they were very sick. There were three other young children to care for. Caroline came and cared for them even though she had just recovered from the flu. If it had not been for Caroline's excellent care her daughter probably would have died. The love and deep concern that she showed in every situation was such a help to all involved.
George was healthy most of his life, never suffering from rheumatism, or other ailments common to elderly people. He had a tooth that kept aching. The dentist pulled the tooth but it continued to bother him. The doctor found he had cancer of the jawbone and it later spread to his throat. After suffering for about two years, he passed away June 4, 1925 at age 79. Before he died his wife Caroline had a dream that his sister Sarah Ann, who had passed on, came to get him. He is buried in the South Morgan Cemetery.
Caroline and her family cared for her aged mother, Caroline Ager Durrant, for many years. When she couldn't live alone any longer, Caroline took her into her home and lovingly cared for her until she passed away.
When Caroline Compton was frail and elderly, Leone, her daughter was still living at home. Leone was such a kind, sweet, loving daughter. She watched over her, keeping her hair dressed attractively and even had friends in to visit to make her mothers last years enjoyable. John and his wife Annie and their two daughters Rosella and LouJean lived in part of his mother's home, and they were very helpful and loving in the care of Caroline in her later years.
She died September 10, 1938 at age 73 after an illness of one week. She is now resting next to her husband Geroge, in the South Morgan Cemetery overlooking the beautiful Morgan Valley where she was born.
We are so grateful for the lives of George and Caroline Ager Compton, for the example of love, devotion. and dedication to their family and in pioneering the growth and spirit of Morgan Valley.
This history was put together by Granddaughters Beth Smith Turner and Joyce Smith Weaver
Additional information: Children; Leone Compton Christensen, Sylvia Compton Pack, John Compton and a Daughter-in-law Margaret Compton