In a recent issue of the CHATTER, Larry Cary wrote an article about the early history of Peoria Presbyterian Church. He did real well with his writing, for being the “new kid” on the block and with the material available to him about our history.
What Larry does not have access to is, an article I have printed in the Glendale News weekly newspaper that was written by Alice (Mann) Thompson and published March 3, 1939. I will share this article with anyone, but I did not realize Larry was writing articles about our history. Later in the article, I will mention that Alice Mann married Henry Thompson, our first pastor.
Alice Mann came to Tempe, AZ on March 10, 1889 with her father Hiram C. and mother Jennie Mann. They were glad to leave the cold Kansas winter weather. Alice wrote that it was a real treat to see the trees in full leak and an Alfalfa a foot high in March when other parts of the Unit6edf States was covered with snow. “On March 15th, we drove to our new home in Peoria. Father Mann had purchased a team of gray horses and a new wagon for our transportation.” Remember, this was in 1889.
By this time, others had settled in Peoria. “Once in a while, when we could secure a minister, we had church service and almost everyone came. Our preacher brought his family. Sometimes when their son was bad, his mother took him out and spanked him SOUNDLY. We heard it from inside.” I have never heard soundly, but I imagine the mother did not “spare the rod.”
I am not sure how long The Rev. Thompson served our Peoria church because the news article states he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and served a church for ten years. Alice left Peoria in 1900 to marry Henry. They returned to Peoria on December 12, 1911 with five children. Let’s think about the trip for a minute. They probably came by train because my guess is seven people in an old car in 1911 would not have all fit. Someone would have had to just hang on. I do not know for sure, but chances are there was no diner on the train, so it was up to the passengers to bring enough grub for the trip. It was not an easy trip compared to today’s travel as we know it. People learned to get along with what they had.
The youngest of the five children was Wilbur. Wilbur stayed in Peoria until his death in 1979. Wilbur was an asset to Peoria Presbyterian. His mother, Alice lived in her own home on Wilbur’s farm at 75th Ave and Olive Ave. until her death. Alice did not drive, so Wilbur brought her to Sunday School and church every Sunday. Wilbur served on Session, was Sunday School Superintendent and served wherever needed. Away from P.P.C., he had a dairy on the farm and ran the meat department for a grocery store in Glendale. One of Alice’s other sons, was a medical doctor. Another one of her sons, was named Daniel. Dan and his wife, Catherine joined P.P.C. by letter of transfer from Phoenix First Presbyterian.
Wilbur and his wife, Zona had three daughters. I am in contact with the oldest one of the three, Sandra. She is living in Scottsdale.
As we prepare for our 125th anniversary, let’s think back in time of what the early pioneers went through, especially the young lad who probably had a warm behind after a SOUNDLY whipping.
P.S. In a future article, you will learn about Wilbur’s brothers. I did mention Dan, but that is all I said. So, stay tuned for this and also Wilbur’s other