Edward and Emma Compton were married in 1860, at the beginning of the War Between the States. In the mid-to-late 19th century, shipbuilding, fishing, oystering, and intra-coastal freighting brought fortune to the sea captains living along the waterfront of the Maurice River. During this time, there were ninety sea captains living in Mauricetown, many were lost at sea with their first mates, friends and family members. At age twenty-five Edward was shipmaster/Captain of the Pathway built in the Mauricetown shipyard in 1811. He made at least three voyages, traveling to Port Royal and Beaufort, South Carolina and Santa La Grand, Cuba. He was offering a sum of $10,000.00 to transport a “cargo of slaves”, which he refused due to his anti-slavery and religious views. Slavery had been illegal since 1830. The sea captains would travel be train to Millville or Philadelphia where their boats would be docked and loaded with Cargo for their voyage along the Atlantic sea coast and into the Caribbean. A ferry would take them across the Maurice River to the train station in Maurice River Township. Edward frequently docked his boat in Millville.
The Comptons had four sons, the last one being born after the death of Edward in 1870, who at the young age of thirty-four succumbed to tuberculosis. Their beautiful Victorian Italianate home built in 1864, by Samuel Cobb and Griffith Pritchard contained a small second floor room known as the “prayer room”. Emma would pray for the safe return of her husband, and the other seafarers whose lives were in constant danger, and for the peaceful end to the War Between the States. The house was sold to Emma’s mother Elizabeth Lore Compton (window of Charles Compton) in 1868. Aaron and Anna Compton Vangilder (Emma’s cousin) purchased the house in 1877. Aaron was also a sea captain. The Compton house has had many owners and changes since 1864, and the Mauricetown Historical Society has worked to restore and interpret the property for Posterity.