The purpose of this story is to show that Shows men have one main talent…. Marrying outstanding women.
Henry Routon Shows of Luverne, AL married Merle Compton of Marengo County, AL. She is the daughter of Samuel William Compton, a teacher, lawyer, farmer and cattleman, and Ella Boozer.
Merle attended Judson College and intended to become a teacher. She did teach for two years after graduation but did not enjoy that profession. She accepted a position as Director of Child Welfare in Luverne, Alabama in 1931. It was while working in this position that she met Henry Routon Shows. He was the bank president and successful widower about town and she the new and bright young lady from Tennessee. Merle said that she and a girlfriend with whom she worked would visit a local drugstore at noon each day to get a cup of coffee to go with their sandwiches for lunch. She said that Routon would "siddle up to the car" and try to talk to her. She "never paid him much mind" but several months later they were married.
It was about this time that the bank failed. The depression was hard in Luverne and the bank was suffering. A Dr. Ford, local physician and major depositor in the Bank of Luverne, decided to remove his money from the bank. Merle said that Routon came home that day, fell across the bed and cried like a baby. No amount of talk could persuade Dr. Ford to keep his money in the bank. It was then that several of the members of the board decided that a merger with a second bank in Luverne would be the best was to go. When this merger was completed, the second bank dumped their debt on the Bank of Luverne and it folded. Routon and his brother Taylor were too poor to carry the bank by themselves so they went into other ventures.--------------------------------
Taylor and Routon had a falling out and Taylor left the area. His young son Thomas didn’t want to leave the area so Merle and Routon took him in. Routon died an early death in 1947. Merle raised young Tom and is well respected in the community. She was unaware that the Shows families in Rutledge were directly related to Routon but she was instrumental in getting some of them accepted to colleges in the south. One of those was to Judson, her Alma Mater.
Merle has managed the Shows interests in Luverne for the last 53 years after Routon’s death. She made the rounds in the early days and collected the rents from the tenant farmers. She sold the cattle and horses and made all the decisions for a 2000-acre estate. So, while Routon was certainly an outstanding Shows man, Merle has been the one to stand in the breach for the last half century and built an outstanding estate.
As told to Ron Shows by Merle and placed here with her permission.