Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
JOSEPH M. COMPARET is one
of the best known business men of Ritzville, and is now the general manager
of the King Mercantile Company. He was born at Fort Wayne, Indiana,
June 11, 1863. His father, Joseph J. Comparet, was a native of the
same place. The grandmother of Joseph J. Comparet was a niece of
General McIntosh, who was in command of Fort Detroit during the French
and Indian War. An interesting bit of history connected with the
family of our subject was the escape of Frank Comparet, the grandfather
of our subject, when ten years of age, with an elder brother and sister,
in a canoe from Fort Monroe to Detroit at the time of the famous Monroe
massacre, in which both his parents were murdered by the Indians.
The grandfather of Joseph J. came to America from France as a contractor
and builder in the employ of the French government to erect forts on the
frontier. This grandfather--the great-grandfather of our subject--was
the father of three sons, two of whom, with himself, while returning to
America from a visit to France, were drowned in a shipwreck. The
other son had remained at Monroe, Michigan, and it is from him that the
present generation of Comparets is descended. The grandfather of
Joseph M. went to Fort Wayne in the employ of the Astor Fur Company, where
he lived several years and died. His son,-- our subject's father--was
for a number of years a member of the firm of Comparet & Hubbel, grist
mill and steam and canal boat owners, which firm was also a leader in many
commercial enterprises. The first locomotive ever brought to Fort
Wayne was put together in his warehouse. Joseph J. Comparet died
in Stevens county, Washington, April 11, 1895, having come west with the
subject of our sketch in 1884, with whom he remained until death.
The mother of Mr. Comparet was Marion R. (Alexander)
Comparet, a native of Ireland who came to the United States with her parents
in childhood. They first settled at Utica, New York, and later removed
to Paulding county, Ohio, where her father died. He was a retired
British army officer, who at one time was knighted for signal bravery displayed
in quelling a certain riot. Mrs. Comparet died November 4, 1878,
at Kentland, Indiana.
At the age of six years, Joseph M. Comparet
left Fort Wayne and removed with his parents to Kentland, Indiana, where
he attended school, while his father engaged in the commission business.
After passing through the grammar school he took a business course in the
Northwest Normal and Commercial school at Kentland, and later occupied
positions with Kent & Company, and other merchants of the city.
Upon attaining his majority he came with his father to Sprague, where he
worked in the railroad shops and fired a locomotive until 1889, when he
went to Adams county and filed on a pre-emption and timber culture.
Subsequently he sold his interests here, removed to Stevens county and
engaged in mining. In 1896, returning to Adams county, he worked
at various occupations until the following year, when he took a position
with Thiel, Dorman & Company, with which firm he continued until it
became Thiel, Dorman & King. In 1898 he entered into partnership
with Jared M. Harris, whose life is sketched elsewhere in this history,
with the firm name of Harris & Comparet. Later the two firms--Thiel,
Dorman & King and Harris & Comparet--were consolidated, and reincorporated
under the firm name of the King Mercantile Company, since which time our
subject has held his present position.
Mr. Comparet is also president of the Blue
Point Marble Company, Stevens county; manager of the Keystone Mining Company,
Ferry county, and is otherwise heavily interested in mining propositions
with his partner, Mr. King.
At Ritzville, on July 1890, occurred the marriage
of Joseph M. Comparet to Laura E. Harris, daughter of his present partner,
Jared M. Harris, in whose biography her life is briefly dwelt upon.
The issue of this marriage is a son, Kenneth, aged eleven years.
While a man of close connection with the business
life of his city, Mr. Comparet has been equally prominent and actively
identified with its fraternity circles. He is now a member of the
F. and A. M., and of the K. of P. of Ritzville, and major on the Brigade
Staff of U. R. K. of P. of Washington, and is also a member of the Modern
Politically, he affiliates with no party,
leaving himself free to cast his ballot for what he deems the most deserving
candidate and the one best fitted for the position to which he aspires,
but he is not what could be called an active man in political affairs.