Saturday, March 5, 2011

Compton's Store

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
October 12, 2010
Compton’s Store was Located West of Frederick

Many Tillman County residents who travel west of Frederick on Highway 5 are familiar with a heavy grove of trees 1-¾ miles west of town on the north side of the road. Few realize that this grove was once site of an early store, or that the rustic area was a place where public functions were once held.
The store was a small wood-frame building that was constructed in the 1920s by Joe Alexander and operated in its earliest years as Alexander’s Station.
The grove of trees near the store was the site of many public events during the 1920s and 1930s, including dances, carnivals, and rodeos.
In 1932, the store was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Compton and named Compton’s Store. Mrs. Compton died in 1934.
In the county’s early decades, store robberies were not uncommon and there are numerous stories of store owners or robbers being killed during hold-ups.
In the History of Tillman County Vol. II (1978), the late Wilbur Brown wrote about a robbery attempt at Compton’s Store during the Depression.
“Although Mr. Compton was quite elderly and of slight stature, he was not one to be trifled with. One night a trio of bandits stopped by the store and, upon entering, ordered Mr. Compton to empty the cash register. He immediately dropped to the floor behind the counter and came up shooting. The would-be bandits were quickly put to rout. Because of the sudden turn of events, they were thoroughly demoralized, and soon after wrecked their car and were apprehended.”
Mr. Compton survived the robbery attempt without injury, but he died soon after in January 1936 when his car was struck by a train on West Grand Avenue.
Mr. and Mrs. Compton are buried in the Frederick Cemetery.
NOTE: Primary source for information about Compton’s Store was Wilbur Brown’s research in Vol. II of the History of Tillman County.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the many people who worked in the 1970s to compile the two history volumes. The history book committee eventually became the Tillman County Historical Society.
Production of the two volumes of county history was a massive undertaking when the books were produced in 1976 (Vol. I) and 1978 (Vol. II). Without the books, countless stories from our history would have been lost.
Only a limited number of both books were produced, so they are often in great demand.

Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board of Directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at

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