If you are a “new kid” on the block, you might not know who the Rev. Henry Thompson was. The church was organized April 10, 1892, and was served with whoever might be in the area, who could conduct a worship service., until Reverend Henry Thompson came along. He was our first full time pastor at P.P.C., serving the church from September 1893 to September 1897.
Coming to Arizona from the Presbytery of St. Paul, Minnesota, where he was licensed to preach which he did for about one year.
Upon arriving in Arizona, he traveled over 10,000 miles on horseback or horse and buggy serving two to five “preaching stations”. His desert travel was fifteen to eighty five miles between Sundays.
In September of 1897, the Reverend Thompson left Peoria and entered Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. His “girl friend”, Mary Alice Mann left Peoria to marry Henry on September 12, 1900. They returned to Peoria in 1911 with five children, four boys and one daughter.
In my last article, I wrote about Wilbur, who made his home in Peoria. He was the youngest of the boys and our favorite, because we knew he was a great worker here at P.P.C. In later years, Dan, the oldest of the five, transferred his membership along with his wife’s from Phoenix First Church to Peoria. Dan was a civil engineer. Brother Ben worked for the Department of Interior and Webb became a Doctor. Their sister, Doris did not live in the area and I do not have any information on her.
Wilbur and his wife Zona, had three daughters who were all active in P.P.C. The oldest one is Sandra who married our minister’s son, Bill Marquardt in the late 1940’s. Sandra, living in Scottsdale, is my contact person and my correction agent for my Thompson stories. The second daughter is Anita, living in California. The youngest daughter is Sharon who lives in west Phoenix. It has been maybe close to forty years since I have seen any of the three girls. They were all active in the church family in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s.
One of our stained glass windows is dedicated to the Thompson family. As we look at the Thompson window, we think back of the days without electricity, running water, and an outhouse. So, let’s appreciate what the early Thompsons went through, so we may enjoy our Peoria church, as it stands today.