Ministerial Negotiations and Mail Problems, 1944

by Mike Roberts, Church Historian

The process of selecting a new minister to serve a church is always a difficult one for both sides of the negotiations. The methods utilized for this process have changed greatly over the years due mainly to great changes in communication and transportation. In 1944, our church was courting George Thorburn to be its new minister but confusion and delays resulting from transportation and communication issues, made the process difficult. The following letter was sent by Mr. Thorburn to church officials:

January 17, 1944 ~ Dear Mrs. Hundley,

From a letter we have received from our aunt in Hamilton, I feel I better go more in detail concerning your Air Mail letter. On Friday, after your telegram arrived, I went to the post office and inquired about the letter. The clerk went back and looked it up and came forward to say “We were about to return it as not deliverable.” One of the stamp clerks told me today that if they had shown it to her, she could have told them where to take it. Because of the mushroom growth of Arlington County (It is a county, not a town in organization) we are having many experiences with the mails. Some do not get their mail until supper time and in many instances, high school boys are being used as carriers.

There are many post offices for “Arlington”- a central office at Arlington (Clarendon) village from which mail is redistributed to offices in the many settlements. Mail for Arlington comes from Washington by truck as no railroad goes through here. Our station is Union Station in Washington. Railroads pass either side of the county.

I am sorry the boys at the post office made no attempt to find me as it was received here at 10:30 last Monday morning–it was late Friday when I located it. I am looking forward to hearing from you further and to being among the good folks in the Cincinnati church.

Most cordially yours, George H. Thorburn, Jr.

NOTE: Happily, Reverend Thorburn was hired and served our church with distinction through the end of the 1940’s. His home in Arlington is now a renovated condo which has 532 square feet and rents for $1,350 per month. Times do change.