Rev. Vanderhoof and FBCS
AN EXCITING YEAR
On February 14, Valentine’s Day, 1912, following years of struggling for the achievement, Arizona Territory became the State of Arizona upon the signature of President William Howard Taft. The Baby State was born!
Also sometime in that February of 1912, Verner became deathly ill and was confined to his bed in the adobe house on the Bryan Ranch. When the illness began, what it was, and when it ended is not known. He was treated by a doctor from Tempe, B. B. Moeur who later became a governor of Arizona. The little park on the southeast corner of Curry Road and Mill Ave on the north side of Tempe, the Salt River, and the Tempe Bridge is named after Dr. Moeur. How the illness abruptly ended is a startling and beautiful story, told by Verner himself.
Verner A. Vanderhoof tells of his calling to the ministry.
From his June 15, 1956 autobiography
In February of 1912, after 3 days of illness, Dr. B.B. Moeur of Tempe told Mrs. Vanderhoof that I had about 3 hours to live, not any longer than that. He would hurry back to Tempe and secure a trained nurse and do all they could to help but he didn’t think that it would be very much, though they would try. The Dr. had been gone a few minutes when Mrs. Vanderhoof returned to the sick room with tears in her eyes and I asked, “Are you not well this morning?” She said, “Yes, but the doctor says you are very sick and he has gone for a trained nurse.” I said, “You need not worry because I am not going to die.”
About an hour later a small square light appeared on the ceiling and a shaft of light came from it to my body and I was healed instantly. At the time I didn’t know I was being healed. I called to Mrs. Vanderhoof to call the children and come to my room, I guessed I had been mistaken when I told her that I wasn’t going to die. I kissed her and the children good bye and said, “I guess I am going but I would like to see Mrs. Hayden.” The hired man was a Pima Indian and he was sent at once with the buggie for Mrs. Hayden. When she came she said, “I don’t believe you are going to die at all. Don’t you want us to pray for you?” Also there were Chaplain [sic] and Mrs. Scott, E.O. Brown who had purchased the store and Post Office, and Mr. and Mrs. Rothrock. E.O. Brown was not a Christian at that time and went out when the others prepared for prayer time. While they prayed it was revealed to me that I was healed and I so stated when the group had finished praying. There was great rejoicing.
The doctor was back shortly after the prayers were offered and the guests had departed. The trained nurse he had gone after had taken another job and he had phoned to Phoenix for another one. She was to come out on the Mail Stage at 11:00. I do not know what conversation was had when the doctor came to the door, but when he came to my room he watched me very closely as he asked, “Verner how do you feel?” I said, “I feel fine.” He checked me all over very carefully and said, “You feel fine do you?” I said, “Yes I do.” As he put his stethoscope in his pocket he said, “I’ll be Da---- if I don’t think you do. When I left there was nothing but bronchial breathing and now those lungs are clear as a bell.”
The doctor had been gone about an hour when I was given a series of visions that lasted over 4 hours. It was the first moving picture that I had ever seen. Pictures of my life moved right along on the wall and were about 8 inches tall. I saw them just as well with my eyes closed as I did with them opened. The picture would stop for an instant when the Lord wanted me to remember what the impression was that He was giving me of what was in need of correction. For one thing He showed me that I needed more patience with the children. The last half of the series of pictures showed what my work as a minister was to be and that was the pattern that my ministerial work followed as a pastor and Colporter-Missionary the last 40 years. I began at once to try to preach but it was like the preaching of a minister that a friend told me about. He said the preacher started with a $25.00 per month salary and when he was asked if that was not pretty poor pay he said, “Yes but is was pretty poor preaching too.” Before we left the ranch I had an appointment as a Colporter-Missionary for Arizona.
When I wrote my mother in Kansas of my healing and call to the Gospel Ministry, she wrote that she had dedicated me to the Lord when I was born, but she had never told me before. The only church near my home in Kansas was a Methodist church and I was converted in the first evangelistic meeting I was ever in and I was 15. I wanted to be baptized but sister Daisy and I were received in that Methodist Church on New Year’s day with deep snow on the ground and no place near for baptism so mother persuaded me to accept sprinkling and be baptized at a later date.
1912 - THE BIG EVENT FOR FBCS
The formation of First Baptist Church of Scottsdale
On Wednesday, June 8, 1912 Rev. T.F. McCourtney (State Executive Secretary), Rev. & Mrs. J Harvey Deere (pastor First Baptist Church of Phoenix) and W.B. Getsinger (a deacon of First Baptist Church of Phoenix) met at the home of V.A. Vanderhoof on Bryan Ranch with Rev. & Mrs. William Wilbur, Rev. & Mrs. Limon Trumbull, and deacon & Mrs. Hans Weaver to arrange a program for the organization of a Baptist Church for Scottsdale. A motion was made by Rev. Wilbur, seconded by Hans Weaver, that the group proceed with such a program, to meet in the school house in Scottsdale the following Sunday at 3:00 PM, June 12, 1912, and organize the church. The motion carried and after the program was arranged, Dr. Deere said, “This is unusual.” Someone asked, “What’s unusual?” Dr. Deere said, “We have just organized a Baptist Church in a Methodist home.” (The Vanderhoofs were Methodists at that time.)
As had been agreed upon, the afore-mentioned people and many more of Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Tempe, met the following Sunday and perfected the organization of the First Baptist Church of Scottsdale with Hans Weaver as Treasurer and Hattie Weaver as Church Clerk. Rev. R.L. Creal (Pastor of Tempe Baptist Church), and W.B. Getsinger offered to supply the pulpit each Sunday evening until a pastor was called.
The following members signed as charter members of the First Baptist Church of Scottsdale: Rev. & Mrs. William Wilbur, Rev. & Mrs. Limon Trumbull and their daughter Rose Trumbull, Mr. & Mrs. Hans Weaver and their daughter Hattie (later Hattie Peterson), Mrs. E.O. Brown and her children Alvin and Ruth (later Ruth Zimmerman), Mrs. Sarah Thomas and her children Ellis and Grace (later Grace Crews).
Rev. Limon T. Trumbull from Astoria, Oregon was called as the first pastor. He served only a short time. Early in Rev. Trumbull’s term, Rev. Wm J. Gordon, a Colporter-Missionary from New Mexico, conducted the first evangelistic meeting ever held in Scottsdale. He entertained the first week and a half in the Vanderhoof’s home and remarked at that time how he was enjoying the fellowship of a good Baptist home. But when he was told that he was not in a Baptist home. He asked, “Are you not Baptists?” Verner and Jane said, “No.” He asked, “What are you?” They replied, “Methodists.” Rev. Gordon then asked, “What is the matter with these Baptists folks that they can’t entertain me? I am going to make other arrangements at once.” The Vanderhoofs said, “We were afraid you’d do something like that if you found out you were in a Methodist home so we have kept quiet about it.”
Verner then explained to Rev. Gordon that they had wanted to know what Baptists believe and had spirited him away from the Baptist homes so they could question him about Baptist Doctrine. They had kept him from bed for an hour or two each night after services that they might get information about what Baptists stand for and why be a Baptist anyway.
First non-charter members and first baptisms
In Verner’s words:
“You will understand that the information he gave us was satisfactory when you learn that at the last service of the meetings, I presented myself as the first candidate for baptism. Later Mrs. Vanderhoof, our daughter May and a man named Whitney presented themselves for baptism. We four were baptized in an irrigation ditch on Easter Sunday by Rev. Wilbur. This was the first baptism to take place in Scottsdale. Our eldest daughter, now Mrs. Fred (May) Mathis, Mrs. Vanderhoof and I were the first persons, with one other man, ever baptized in Scottsdale.”
The first baptism “in an irrigation ditch” occurred in the junction box on the southeast corner of the intersection of Indian School and Scottsdale Roads.
An interesting note to the first baptism: after searching many of the early records and some of the Vanderhoof clan records and memories, no first name for “a man named Whitney” has been revealed. It appears at this point that he shall go down in church history with the full name of “a man named Whitney”!
Rev. Wm. Wilbur, who had been State Evangelist for Kansas baptized the four because Pastor Trumbull was not well enough to attend to that work. Rev. Limon Trumbull was found dead in bed by his daughter, Rose, the next Wednesday morning after the baptisms. Rev. Wilbur was then called to succeed Trumbull as pastor.
The early church records were lost following the death of a church clerk in an auto accident and we cannot give dates nor length of service of the following pastors who served as listed by Vanderhoof: Mr. B.W. Getsinger, Rev. R.L. Creal, Rev. Limon T. Trumbull, Rev. William Wilbur, Rev. Sam Bridges, Rev. Sweat, Rev. R.P. Pope, Rev. C. Holland, Rev. W.F. Smith, Rev. R.P. Pope, Rev. V.A. Vanderhoof, Rev. A.S. Wahl, Rev. J.E. Wicker, Rev. William J. Gordon, Rev. Fred Mathis, Rev. Ed Lester, Rev. H.S. Lucas (Supply) Rev. J.W. Taber, Rev. C. Marvin Anderson, Rev. John McFarland (supply or interim), Rev. S.G. Cleveland, Rev. Elihu Goldman (supply or interim), Rev. Milton Van Slyke.