Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Winifred Lucille Mayer Thorpe was born December 12, 1892, the youngest daughter of Joseph Mayer (Hoffmeier) and Sarah Belle Wilbur.

Winnie was very proud of her pioneer family and of her hometown that was founded by her father, Joe Mayer, in 1881. The town was established as Big Bug Station about 1877 on Big Bug Creek, 32 miles southeast of Prescott in Yavapai County.

After Joe Mayer purchased the Station and brought his family to the area, he built a town and established Mayer as a railroad shipping center for the copper mining in the region. Mayer became a freight stop for shipping ore and for bringing in supplies, many of which were sold at the Mayer Store.

This was where Joe and Sarah settled and raised their four children, Martie, Mamie, Bur and Winifred. Winnie had many exciting experiences growing up in this small rural town. She knew the miners, many of whom her father grub- staked and the Indian and Chinese laborers who were part of Mayer's history.

Some of Winnie's memories as a girl were of looking forward to cowboy dances, of a gunfight in the street, and of feeding chickens and milking cows at home. An Apache Indian camp was close by and Winnie remembered their dances. Her father bartered with them for their baskets. Winnie's mother and sister were the postmistresses for many years. Winnie helped in the Post Office.

Having the Post Office in their home gave the Mayer family an inside track on what was going on in town as the Post Office was often the hub of local activity in the community. Winnie tried not to miss anything.

Joe Mayer was very interested in education and wanted the best for his children. He built the first school in Mayer and later gave his best lot for a new school that was constructed of bricks from his brickyard. The teachers and some of the students from outlying areas boarded at the Mayers' home. Winnie was a graduate of St. Joseph's Academy in Prescott and went on to attend the Normal School in Flagstaff.

Winnie met her husband, Thomas Thorpe, at Brisley's Drug Store in Prescott where he was the druggist. They subsequently moved to California, but later returned to Mayer. They had two sons, Thomas and Wilbur. Winnie and Thomas later divorced.

Winnie is remembered for her artistic endeavors, her poetry and her writing. She freely gave of her time to help record the history of Mayer. In 1978, she wrote "Joe Mayer and His Town" for the Journal of Arizona History. In 1981, Winnie was still living in the Old Stage Stop in Mayer built by her father. She broke her hip and could no longer live alone and so moved to Good Samaritan Village in Prescott.

Winnie died at the Village on July 19, 1983, and was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Prescott. Shortly after her death, the old Stage Stop burned down.

Donors: Nancy Burgess and Sylvia Neely

Additional documentation and photographs may be available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Library.