Barnes Compton

Barnes Compton

Congressman Less

Barnes Compton

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Barnes Compton (November 16, 1830 – December 2, 1898) was a wealthy planter who became a politician at the state level before the Civil War. He was appointed as Maryland State Treasurer, serving 1872-1885. He was elected to the US House of Representatives from the fifth congressional district of Maryland (1884–1894, excepting one term). Orphaned when young, at age 21 in 1851 he took control of numerous estates and became the second largest slaveholder in Maryland.

Early life

Barnes Compton was born on November 16, 1830, in Port Tobacco, Charles County, the son of William Penn Compton (?-1838) and Mary Clarissa (Barnes) Compton (?-1833). Both parents had strong connections to the history of southern Maryland and its leading families in Charles and St. Mary's counties. (Barnes Compton was able to trace his ancestry to politician Philip Key, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1779 to 1790, who was a maternal great-grandfather.), Members' Application Papers, Sons of the American Revolution in the State of Maryland. Langsdale Library Special Collections, University of Baltimore, accessed 17 Mar 2010.

Born into wealth on his family's plantation, Barnes Compton was orphaned when young. His mother died when he was three, and five years later he lost his father. His maternal grandfather John Barnes became guardian of Compton, the only child of the marriage. After Barnes died in 1843, Compton at age 13 was sole heir to both the...
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