The Compton House is one of the leading landmarks of Clayton's National Historic District. The house was built in 1850 and features strong Greek architectural influences which were common in Johnston County at the time. During General Sherman's March through the South in 1865, Sherman stayed in the house. At that time, the home was owned by Joseph M. Smith. During the time General Sherman stayed here, he met with two former North Carolina governors who were sent by Confederate Governor Zebulon B. Vance. Vance remained in Raleigh while Sherman met with former governors William Alexander Graham and David Swain who were sent by Vance to meet with Sherman in Clayton to discuss terms for ending the war. After a brief skirmish on the outskirts of town, Sherman and Vance's delegates came to an agreement, and Sherman did not destroy the town of Raleigh. He also did not destroy property throughout the region as he had done in South Carolina and Georgia.
Backstory and Context
The house's name is a reference to early residents which include members of some of the most prominent founding members of the town: Durham, Ellington, and Compton.
A Timeline of Events in Clayton Area History. Town of Clayton website. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.townofclaytonnc.org/uploads/files/Library/clayton%20timeline%202014.pdf.