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Old man, some jobs ain't for saving. And some legacies? (Burns his mementos) They are for pissin' on.
~ Arthur makes his disgust for Compson known.
I still exist!!
~ Jeremiah Compson

Jeremiah Compson is a side-character/stranger encounter from Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2, with an incredibly shady past.

Biography

From the game's third chapter onwards, protagonist Arthur Morgan/John Marston may encounter Compson lying on a bench in Rhodes, mourning his misfortune and drowning his sorrows. Sympathetic, he asks Compson about his wellbeing, to which Jeremiah laments that his life has fallen apart, because the cryptic "they" took everything from him, losing his job, his entire career, and even having his home forclosed by the bank.

Taking great pity on him, Arthur/John offers their help, when he says he'd be happy to recover his three heirlooms: His antique pocket watch, flintlock pistol and ledger. With this, Arthur/John make their way to his forclosed home to break in and retrieve the mementos.

Once at his property, the protagonist can also locate several notes and letters, detailing his backstory. These include his son Rance (and also his grandson) disowning him, wanting nothing to do with him for some unexplained reason, his former employers, the Ascenscion Plantation making him redundant (subtle foreshadowing his true nature), and being fired from the Central Union railroad company for alienating both his customers and co-workers. After retrieving Compson's watch, and fighting off two squatters to recover his pistol, Arthur/John search for his ledger by entering his trapdoor basement.

It is here that the truth is revealed: Arthur/John is horrified to discover chains, whips and shackles, and it turns out Compson's ledger is a list of black slaves Compson captured and sold to plantations for cash (including a mother and child). He also discovers a diary belonging to one of the aforementioned slaves Compson captured and tortured in his basement, revealing (as well as shedding a light on the letters/notes found in his house) that Jeremiah was not a put upon old man, who suffered government harrassment, but rather, a racist, Confederate slave catcher who lost his job and got what he deserved when the North (who are the "they" Compson speaks of) won the Civil War, thus rendering his trade abolished, and exiling him from the now more civilised society.

Morally disgusted by these discoveries, Arthur/John confronts Compson about it at his rough camp; rather than be remorseful for his immoral history, Compson simply laments that his respected gentleman status has been revoked, and is bitter that his job, which he took pride in is no more and his legacy destroyed. For this, instead of just giving him back his posessions, Arthur/John will spitefully throw them into his campfire, enraging Compson into trying unsuccesfully to shoot the protagonist with the worn-out flintlock pistol. He then cries out about still existing in a society/life that no-longer values him, and bursts into devastated tears.

Trivia

  • His lack of remorse for what he did, and taking pride in it makes him a villain.
  • It's implied the complaints at the Central Union job that got him fired, were related to his racism or clinging to his slaver history.
  • Unlike normal cases of murdering defenseless characters, murdering Jeremiah Compson will increase the player's Honor (Karma) gauge, hinting that he is to be seen as a despicable person. Alternatively, the honor could be for putting Compson out of his misery, since death may be better than living with his current circumstances.
  • This goes hand in hand with the Eugenics Supporter and KKK, who also give you honor/no repercussions for murdering them.
    The Iniquities of History - Red Dead Redemption 2-0

    The Iniquities of History - Red Dead Redemption 2-0

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