Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Separation--Margaret and Bud Have to Return to the States, George Stays Behind in Tahiti

             Baby Bud, Eighteen-year-old Margaret and Sister Rositer,
the mission president's wife, 1916 or 1917

        After the birth of her son at age 18,  Margaret settled into her regular missionary routine, but now she had a baby to care for.

       On December 24, 1916 George was leading a Sunday School class when he sat down and then keeled over. Margaret wrote in her diary, "They rubbed him until he came to."   Margaret thought for a few terrifying minutes that he was dead, but after a few minutes he felt fine.  They decided that he had eaten too much rich candy that day.

                      Sister Rositer, Tahitians, Margaret and Bud in the middle,
                                                 a missionary to the far right,  1916

        On March 19, 1917, Margaret  recorded in her diary that "George Boy" (her husband), left for Hikueru for a year or more. We can only imagine how hard it must have been for them to say goodbye and to live  apart at that time, when they were newlyweds, and their first child was only 6 months old.  Mail and communication was sporadic  between the islands,  so they were really cut off from each other.  Their separation was to last longer than they had expected as they would find out.

        With George on Hikeru, Margaret had to raise Bud by herself. A few months after George left, in June of 1917, she became so sick that President Rossiter suggested she take the next steamer with Bud and return to the States.  In  Tahiti she couldn't get the medical treatment  she needed.

         Margaret said about this period of time,  "I had difficulties, because my hours were long down there. I had my baby to take care of.  I had to take turns cooking every other week.   I had to learn the ways and means of cooking and serving the missionaries.  I worked in the printing room.  I learned to set type.  I kept the mission diary. I really felt like I wanted to, and had to fill every moment of the day during the time I was down there. Therefore my health began to be rather poor, and I eventually became anemic.  I think, perhaps, it might have been due to some of the foods that were lacking, like we had very little meat.  We had butter just once in a while and very few eggs.  We didn’t have any milk, with the exception of a little canned milk. So, I feel like the diet was partly to blame.  And maybe I was a little overzealous about wanting to be a good missionary.  I loved the people and they loved me. They loved our baby, oh how they loved our baby. They always wanted to hold him through the meetings."

           On June 14, 1917  the President gave Margaret  her release and on July 8th, she and Bud sailed from Tahiti.
This is Bud's passport allowing him into the United States in 1917.  
Its a large, single sheet of paper --about 18" x  14." 
Sorry about the glare from the camera flash.

        Because the mail was so slow, George didn’t know his wife and child had left Tahiti and he wasn’t able to say goodbye to them, even by letter.  Margaret used to tell her  grandkids about how hard it was to say   farewell to the Tahtian people when she left, and how she loved them.  She said she was sad to leave early, especially without her husband.

          Margaret and little Bud sailed to San Francisco where they arrived on July 23, 1917  and then they headed for Ogden. On the way, they stopped in Sparks, Nevada, to stay with Margaret’s sister, Bertha M. Purdy who was expecting a baby. They stayed there until Bertha  had her child--a son, Don Purdy. Margaret was able to help care for her sister and the new baby for several weeks, then they made their way home to Ogden.

                              Margaret and little Bud in a knit suit, 1917 or 1918

        Margaret and Bud arrived in Ogden on September 29, 1917. They were invited to live with David and Mayme Evans for two years. Margaret said they were wonderful people, always ready to help and support her and Bud. It was wartime so she and Mayme went to the Red Cross rooms and helped whenever possible. She was also engaged in Mutual work in the Third Ward and enjoyed it very much.

Cute little Bud on a wooden  horse

         To be continued.
         Note from Tammy in 2012:  Marama "Bud"  Compton lived a long and active life and passed away peacefully a month ago in February.   His family celebrated his life with a beautiful memorial service and display of his photography and accomplishments.  I am wholeheartedly glad I could go and be with him and his siblings the last time they were all together in November of 2010 to listen to them  talking about their early years, their parents and their family.   Thanks to my dad, sister Tina, and many cousins for facilitating that meeting and helping with logistics such as lunch, transportation and photo-sharing.   One of the cousins gave me  the  wonderful photos and mementos  which I've included in this blog post--sorry I don't remember who it was.   Marmie?  Helen?    Cousin Mike Eckersley recorded an interview with Margaret around 1976  which contains priceless information about her early life and years in the Tahitian Mission.   I believe it was Aunt Barbara and Cousin Mike who typed up George and Margaret's mission diaries, (correct me if I'm wrong) and my dad, Merlin  wrote a concise life history for both George and Margaret from which I draw for these posts.  My dad is a big proponent of preserving family history--I appreciate his and everyone else's enthusiasm. Thanks all!

    I hope to write much more about my Uncle Bud and his siblings in this blog, as time allows, and to share more photos from my cousins' collections, if they will share them,  hint, hint. 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! Great pictures!

    For the past several months the "Keepapitchinin: The Mormon History Blog" community has been enjoying Venus Rossiter's diary of her time in Tahiti. A week or so ago a question came up about the Comptons and a couple days ago I happened to see your blog. What a great resource. What adventures they had.

    We'd love to read more about their experiences.

    You can see Venus's diary starting here:

    It looks like the Comptons show up in 15 weekly installments so far.