The Dallas Journal, Volume 46, 2000 Page: 8
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Autobiography of Charles V. Compton by Don Raney
bottle was unthinkable. Finally we conceived the plan of one of us holding on to the end of a fishing pole and being let
down the embankment and then gradually venturing out to recover the fortune of gold. All vowed to hold on to the long
heavy pole and draw the adventurer in when called on. Charley said, "I am the oldest and the strongest and should be
the main one to hold on to the pole." Billie, the easy going one in the crowd, wouldn't say yes or no but just shook his
head. George was naturally allergic to quicksand, so they together elected me to recover the discovered treasure.
I took a form grip on the end of the pole and was lowered, foot by foot until I reached the sandy peninsula. I found it to
be almost as dangerous as it looked to be, but I knew that the pole could be depended upon, so I waded out until the
sand was up to my waist, then seized the coveted gold bottle and, with the aid of the boys, I gradually made my way
back to the embankment. Then came the blow that was my undoing. Charley said "Volantus, you know that I found that
gold bottle and it belongs to me and we will not pull you up until you agree to give it to me.
Then I blew up and swore that I would die in the quicksand rather than give him full ownership of the bottle. Tears and
vile epithets passed between us until near sunset, when Charley finally said, "We will pull you up but I am going to
have that bottle." I said in substance that it would bo over my dead body. They pulled me up but I held on to that bottle
with a death like grip. The twilight was fading when we reached home. Charley, slightly in advance, ran in and told his
family of his finding of the gold bottle, that it was in my possession and he would soon get it. I ran in to our house, only
a few hundred yards from the Gossett home and showed our family the treasure that I recovered at the risk of my life. I
left it out in a box in a dark room and went to supper. Father and mother laughed, but their hearts were too tender to
disillusion me. Charley, lurking in the dark, watched where I deposited the bottle and sneaked in and picked it up and
ran home. His family like mine were very much amused and silent.
After supper, I ran to get my gold bottle and found it missing. One yell after another rent the air and I started to recover
my treasure. It was then that I was told to cease worrying, that the bottle that we were contending for was only a
discarded yellow glass snuff bottle. And, in a minute, Charley, who had gotten the same information, ran down and
handed me the bottle and agreed that we four were its owners. Never before had any of us seen yellow glass. Our
families chuckled and teased us for days following. What a valuable lesson this episode has been to me and how happy I
am that we found out that the bottle was not gold. For, if it had been, it would have brought dissension between
boyhood friends. What a tragedy that would have been, for we spent our boyhood and manhood together without a
cloud to mar the sunshine of our friendship.
Writing this true story about the gold bottle was simple because every detail was impressed on my childish mind. The
following story, though interesting, is less vivid. I recall how enthusiastic all of us were when we first started to place
the fields in cultivation. How inconvenienced we were, when our landlord refused to give us sufficient farming
implements to plant and work our crops, and how disappointed we were, when he refused conveyances so that we could
attend church on Sundays. All of this was agreed upon when we entered into this contract and to all of this was added
insults and threats that continued to the day we left the premises. It was a harrowing experience.
After all, it proved to be a blessing in disguise, for we discovered the fact that the land was not rich in that part of the
state and we began making diligent inquiries about other locations. Several of the fine people we had m c told us to go
to Williamson County, near Circleville, on the San Gabriel River. They told us that the land there was rich and that a
fine Christian citizenry over a distance of nearly fifty miles, along the river, were the salt of the earth. Plans were soon
made to make a survey and study of other parts of the state. We were not disheartened or disillusioned, even though our
first venture in Texas was disappointing.
In brief, Uncle Tom and father purchased horses and saddles and were soon on their way to the young settlement in
Williamson County, near Circleville, on the San Gabriel River. On arrival, after a strenuous trip, following cattle trails,
pig trails and no trails, they called on Mr Downee Young at his home. Though they were total strangers, he received
them as though they had been old comrades. He assured them that he appreciated their coming and made them welcome
to stay as long as they cared to. They talked at length about Texas, then about his farm of about 200 acres that had not
been rented for the crop year of 1880. They talked of Kentucky and their reason for leaving there. Mr. Young was
vitally interested and assured them that they could not find a finer citizenry in Texas and that it was an old settlement
with established churches and schools and that the citizenry was entirely free from the evil influences of liquor.
After going over the farm the following day, they saw several houses, of which two were very satisfactory, although far
from being palatial. Both were near gushing springs, with small cribs and cow lots. The one father chose had in it board
windows, suspended at the top by steel hinges. The rental agreement was, that we were to furnish our own teams and
receive 3/4 of the cotton and 2/3 of the corn, which was satisfactory to us. The contracts were sealed by handshakes and
two happy pioneers were soon on their way to break the glad news of finding the place of their dreams. On their return,
RThe Dallas Journal
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Dallas Genealogical Society. The Dallas Journal, Volume 46, 2000, periodical, June 2000; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth186859/m1/14/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Genealogical Society.