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.