The Comptons’ Move to the Lakes
long known the Compton family started out in Orange County, New York, on
the west side of the Hudson River fifty miles north of New York City,
and that they ended up in the Finger Lakes area. Though we know that the
grandfather who died in the Revolution was involved with the town of
Cornwall before the War, the 1810 census shows his son living in the
Monroe area of Orange County, thirteen miles southwest of Cornwall.
son and Hannah Phebe Post were married in Orange County on February 23,
1794, during George Washington’s second term as President. At least
nine of their eleven children were born there. Those nine children and
their birth years (though not all records agree) are:
Two more daughters would be born, one for sure and perhaps both after
the family’s move to the Lakes area.
What can we
figure out about when the family made the move from eastern New York to
the Finger Lakes area, a bit south and east from Lake Seneca—other
than between censuses of1810 and 1820?
used for the following:
Birth dates of the
Compton and Lockwood
· History of Schuyler County
1820 census for
The History of Schuyler County
(which wasn’t called that until 1842) tells us the following about
the early days of the area:
That part of the town Orange called Mead’s Creek was
settled, or began to be settled, a few years previous to 1820. … [In
reference to Sugar Hill]… The settlement began about the year 1819 or
1820. Lewis Nichols, William Webb, Thomas Horton, Abraham Allen, John
Allen, Ebenezer Beach, Mr. Eveleth, Seymour Lockwood, and two
families of Comptons were among the first settlers.
questions are who was Seymour Lockwood and who were the “two families
census shows that William
Compton with wife and seven children were in Steuben County by then.
The oldest child, Anna, had married Seymour
Lockwood in 1812, and they already had four of the twelve children
they would have—Frances (1814), William (1815), Deborah (1817), and
Frederick (1819). David Compton,
William and Hannah’s second child and oldest son, was married and had
one daughter, Hannah Jane, born in 1819.
appears the “two families of Comptons” were William, father of the
clan, and David.
Peter Compton’s obituary says he “resided in Orange County, New York, where he was born, until 1819 when he moved west with his brother-in-law to Steuben County.” Since the Comptons’ second daughter wasn’t born until 1812, that brother-in-law had to be Seymour Lockwood. (This account seems to suggest that Seymour and Peter made the trip ahead of the rest of their families, perhaps as advance scouts; but see the matter of Susannah Compton below).
Steuben County reports:
>David Compton with wife and 1
child, a girl
>Seymore Lockwood with 6
Ages of the complete
Compton clan in 1820:
26 (Seymour was 8 years older than Anna)
question is who the seven children in the family were in the 1820
census. Six of them are clearly Elizabeth, William, John P, Hezekiah,
Abraham, and Runyen. We can’t tell for sure whether the seventh one
was Peter (third oldest) or Susannah (second youngest).
Because the 1820 census lists the family with two
daughters under 10, it appears to be Susannah. Most listings of
Susannah’s birth give her a birth date of 1816, which fits with the census.
If Susannah was the seventh child in the census, then it appears Peter not only didn’t make the move with the family but didn’t live with them on that end either. In that case, we can conclude that in the census the “3 boys 10-16” would be William, John, and Hezekiah. The “2 boys 16-18” would be Runyen and Abraham. Our birth date on Abraham is not a firm one, so he could have been 16 instead of 15. The “3 working agriculture” would be William and his sons Runyen and Abraham.
(An individual named separately in the census as Abraham with a wife really seems unlikely to be the Abraham in this family, unless our date for him is way off.)
Much seems to point to a move made near the end of
the second decade of the new century, with perhaps Seymour and Peter in
1819 serving as advance scouts for the rest of the family. The only
glitch in that scenario is if Susannah was indeed born in Tyrone
in 1816, rather than in eastern New York before the family made
A search of the history of the town of Tyrone (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyschuyl/tyrohist.htm) is not much help. It clearly shows life and activity in the town in the second decade and even the first decade of the 1800s, and it provides long lists of early settlers. William Compton is noticeably absent from those lists.
However, the name Runyon Compton appears four times (once as constable in1823), as well as a Jonathan Compton once. William-father-of-our-Compton-clan is reported to have had an older brother named Runyon, so it is quite possibly, even likely, him. Might he have been the influence that drew other members of the family westward to that location? (We have no information on a Jonathan Compton.)
What we know for sure is that William, Hannah Phebe, and family were in the area by the time of the 1820 census, as well as their sons David and Peter and their daughter Anna Lockwood and her family. William and Hannah’s last child, my ancestor Hannah Marie, would be born the following year, definitely in Tyrone, according to her obituary.
Conclusions? Since Hannah was born in Tyrone in 1821, it appears that is where the parents and the younger members of their family settled when they came from the East. We have reason to believe that Peter immediately took up life of his own in the Sugar Hill area a few miles southeast of Tyrone. And if we can judge by where the Lockwoods began to be buried, it appears they may have settled in the area five miles further south that eventually became known as Donovan Hill.
Interesting note from Iris Jones, descendant of both Anna and John P.: “The 1st time while in the Orange Co. court house I talked to a Mrs. Smith about my searching their records. She invited me, and wanted to show me where the Compton land was years ago. It is in the bottom of a large lake (man made).”
There is much more on this web site about the Comptons after their move to the Lakes area.
This map is of Orange Township, Schuyler County, NY in the 1870s. The map shows: 1) The circled Xs are the locations of Sugar Hill and Donovan Hill cemeteries. 2) The E.J.Brooks spot is the land sold by Peter Compton's two sons to Elijah Brooks in 1871 and in 1878 by Brooks to Patrick Donovan. 3) Tyrone Township where the Compton parents apparently settled is directly above the northwest corner this map of Orange Township.