Alma’s parents Joseph and Jane Compton were members of the Mormon Church when he was born in Arnold, England, in September 1856. Since his parents didn’t have enough money for the entire family to emigrate to Utah, they sent their children ahead of them as they were able to raise money. Alma was 12 and his sister 4 when they arrived in Utah. Their parents joined them a year later.
The family was poor, and all the children had to find employment. Alma paid his school tuition working as a janitor. When he was 17 years old, he went to work in a broom factory where he labored for five years.
In 1882, Alma became an apprentice with J. Christman’s Photographers of Ogden. Alma didn’t receive a salary for one year. In 1883, he rented a tent and photo equipment and traveled to Malad and Samaria, Idaho, and then Cache Valley taking photographs before he settled in Brigham City. Alma rented the J.C. Gasberg photo gallery for six months.
He eventually built a studio of his own and then an even larger facility on the corner of Main and 100 South. Alma married Jane Dalton in 1886, and she became his assistant. When Alma’s health began to fail, his wife and son Mathew took over the business. Alma died in 1919. His grandson Glen also became a photographer and worked at the same location.