Brief History of Compton Family

Built in 1881 this Victorian farmhouse was home to the Charles Randolph Compton family for over ninety years. The Reverand Charles Compton, a Presbyterian minister, moved from Fredericksburg, Ohio, to Wooster in 1903 to become Development Director for the University of Wooster. His brother, Elias Compton, was Dean of the University of Wooster. Both brothers were instrumental in the early development of the present College of Wooster.

Charles and Elizabeth Belle White's five children were named William, Martha, Charles W., Leila, and Mary Belle. All five graduated from the College of Wooster. William became a physician, married, and moved to Cleveland. Martha married and moved to Canada.

Charles("Compy"), was a bit eccentric, interested in tinkering with electronic gadgets, worked at Agricultural Experiment Station(now OARDC), worked with local scouts, and could be seen riding his bicycle around town. Charles died in 1967, following a fall at OARDC in a laboratory while preparing for Dairy Day.

Mary Belle went to Chicago to take nurse's training, was injured when getting off a streetcar, and returned home to recuperate. She never went back to complete her training, instead remaining at home to manage the gardens, cook meals, care for her mother, which enabled Leila to pursue work outside the home.

Leila taught high school for several years. She earned her Masters' Degree in Botany at Cornell University in 1931.....rather spectacular for a woman in that time! She taught at Cornell University for several years. For a time she was secretary for Mr. John R. Mott and companion to Mrs. Mott. During this time she travelled extensively in Europe, the Near East and the Far East. She told stories about sleeping in a tent on the desert near the pyamids and of time spent in Cairo. She served as secretary to President Wishart at the College of Wooster for nine years, as secretary of the COW Speech Department 1956-67, and secretary of the First Presbyterian Church for six years.

While at Cornell, Leila became interested in herbs and their many uses. She eventually was recognized as a local authority on herbs. In 1978 Leila wrote an extensive article published in The Herbalist. It was entitled "What's in a Name? History, Friends, History!" and dealt with the historical significnce of the names for many herbs and flowering plants. At the age of 83 Leila planted an herb garden at the Wayne County Historical Society in Wooster. In 1989 the Herb Society of America presented Leila with a certificate of achievement for distinquished contributions in herbal knowledge and horticulture.

Leila and Mary Belle lived at the home until 1990, during which time they were known as "gracious hostesses" to many who were entertained at tea which included many syrups and jams made from their garden herbs. Included were rose petal, pineapple, lemon, grape, apple, cherry, pear, and sweet woodruff. The grape arbor, apple and cherry trees, and roses are still on the property. The Compton sisters were both avid bird watchers and kept records of bird activities which was often shared with the Taggarts. In 1990 they moved to Westview Manor. It was here that Leila's neices and nephews travelled from many countries to celebrate her 100th birthday on February 15, 1993. She was still aware and able to participate in the festivities. Leila died in April 1994 at the age of 101, and Mary Belle died in July 1994 at 97 years.

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copyright 1997 by Martha Taggart; last updated August 1998