Robert J. Compton was born November 8, 1837, in Catharine, Chemung County, New York, the son of John P. (b. 1810-1871) and Eliza Ann (Woodruff, b. 1813).
Robert’s parents were both New York natives and were probably married in New York about 1832. The following year they were residing in Steuben County, New York, but by 1837 they had settled in Catharine, Chemung County, New York where they lived for many years.
In 1850 the family was still in Catharine where John worked as a carpenter and Robert and his younger brother Silas attended school. The family moved from New York to Michigan sometime between 1855 and 1860, settling on a farm in Tallmadge, Ottawa County when Robert (listed as “Johnson J.) was working as a farmer and living with his family (including his younger brother Silas who would also enlist in the Third Michigan).
Robert stood 6’, with blue eyes, a light complexion and brown hair and was 23 years old and living in Lamont, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861, probably along with his younger brother Silas. He was missing in action at White Oak Swamp, Virginia in July (probably on July 1) of 1862, and returned to the Regiment on August 6 at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. He was wounded on July 2, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and sent to one of the hospitals in Philadelphia, where he was possibly employed as a nurse. He remained absent sick from July of 1863 through January of 1864. Sometime in early 1864 he recovered enough to return to the regiment and he was wounded slightly in the arm sometime in early May. He was admitted on May 11, 1864, to Mt. Pleasant hospital in Washington, probably from a Fredericksburg hospital, but his injury was “not sufficient . . . to be retained in ward.” (He had listed his nearest relative a John Compton in Lisbon, Ottawa County.) He was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.
After his discharge Robert probably returned to Michigan, and probably to Ottawa County
In 1864 he married New York native Margaret Melinda Shimel (b. 1851), in Ottawa County, and they had at least three children: Mary (b. 1865), Nellie (b. 1871, Mrs. Fred Parker), Robert (b. 1878) and Inas (b. 1882).
By 1870 Robert was living with his wife and daughter in Ravenna, Muskegon County. By 1880 he was working as a talleyman and living with his family in Ludington, Mason County.
Robert may have been working as a laborer in Moorland, Muskegon County in 1886 when he became a member of Grand Army of the Republic Sperry Post No. 337 in Ravenna, and he was living in Ravenna when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in 1887, and at one time he may have been a member of Grand Army of the Republic Williams Post No. 15 in Ludington, Mason County.
In 1912 Robert testified that after the war he resided in Ottawa County for 7 years, Ludington, Mason County for 12 years, Muskegon County for 3 years, Mason County for 2 years, Boyne city for 1 year, Mason County for 15 years and Harrietta, Wexford County for 7 years. (He was living in Moorland in 1888, 1890 and 1894. By 1910 he was living (along with his son Robert and daughter Inas) with his daughter Nellie and her husband Fred Parker, in Slagle Township, Wexford County. By 1912 he was living in Harrietta, Wexford County.
In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 561783).
Robert died on March 23, 1914, possibly in Harrietta, Wexford County, and if so may have been buried there.
Silas H. Compton was born December 20, 1842, in Catharine, Chemung County, New York, son of John P. (b. 1810-1871) and Eliza Ann (Woodruff, b. 1813).
Silas’ parents were both New York natives and were probably married in New York about 1832. The following year they were residing in Steuben County, New York, but by 1837 they had settled in Catharine, Chemung County, New York where they lived for many years. In 1850 the family was still in Catharine where John worked as a carpenter and Silas and his older brother Robert attended school. (Robert would also enlist in the Third Michigan infantry.) By 1860 Silas was attending school with five of his siblings and living with his family on a farm in Tallmadge, Ottawa County.
He stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 18 years old and living in Tallmadge when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861, probably with his older brother Robert.
On October 9, 1861, Silas wrote to his aunt, H. M. Wells, from Arlington Heights, Virginia. “We had a heavy rain here night before last and the wind blew a perfect storm. The ground was soft and the pins that holds [sic] our tents got loose so the wind like to have blown them away. In fact we had to hang on and growl to keep our tents in the camp. So much for being a soldier. The Fifth Regiment is encamped about a mile from here towards Munson's Hill. They have got a big name here. They call themselves the fighting fifth. And I hope they will keep up to their name for it is a good name if it is kept good. We hae [sic] also a good name for we call ourselves the basswood third, and I guess we can keep our name good in battle for we do every where else. Every regt has its name and so do we.”
Silas was reportedly absent sick in his quarters in November and December of 1861, and then again absent sick in a general hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, in August of 1862, admitted on August 23. He was reported as a corporal in November and December and a recipient of the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 3, 1863.
On December 23, 1863, he was a Corporal when he reenlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids.
Silas went home on 30 days’ veterans’ furlough in January of 1864, and it was during his furlough that he married Louisa V. Phinney (b. 1844 or 1847), possibly in Lisbon, Kent (?) County; they had one child, a son Frederick.
Silas probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.
Silas was subsequently promoted to Sergeant on March 1, 1864, and suffered the loss of a middle finger when he was wounded in the hand on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was absent wounded when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864; it is possible that he joined the Fifth Michigan and may have been wounded on August 1, 1864.
On April 8, 1865, he was admitted to Armory Square hospital in Washington, diagnosed with gonorrheal vegitatius, and it is unclear whether he was physically present with the Fifth Michigan when he was mustered out as First Sergeant on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
It is unknown if Silas returned to Michigan after his discharge from tge army. We do know that he and his wife settled in New York State, and were possibly living in Schuyler County by 1867 when their son Frederick was born.
They were probably still living in Schuyler County in January of 1870 when Silas, then working as a boatman on the Erie Canal was injured when he fell between two boats. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital in New York City where he died on February 2, 1870, of pyremia following an operation for urine retention. Silas was probably buried in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, on Long Island.
His widow eventually moved back to Michigan settling in Muskegon, Muskegon County, where she remarried one Henry or Patrick McEvilla (or McVilla; d. 1901). She and her second husband moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1898 and she was a widow living at 2220 Market Street in Seattle, Washington, in December of 1918 and October of 1919 when she applied for a widow’s pension (no. 888869) based on the service of her second husband. It is possible that in 1926 she applied for a pension (no. 1555864) based on Silas’ service, but the certificate was never granted.