Pirrie Thompson was a son of Joseph Thompson and Elizabeth Ackers. He trained in railroading as a young man in England with a "Lord Pirrie" after whom he was named. When his father made the move to America, they went together to San Francisco along with brothers Gibson, Joseph and Alfred. Pirrie followed his father into ranching for two years in California. Then they moved to Kansas and bought a lumbermill. When that venture failed, they split up. Pirrie went to Ontario, Canada to a railroad job on the Great Northern. In Canada he met Janet Crooks, married and raised a family. In the early 1900's they all moved to Everett WA. It is said that his son Will objected to the move, having concern about dislocating the family. So he took Will to Everett for a visit. They agreed then that it would be a good move.
Pirrie worked for Great Northern for 39 years, becoming an air brake specialist. About the time he would have retired, he lost the chance for a pension because there was a strike, he refused to cross the picket line, and the company punished him by withholding his pension.