Mother’s day is upon us once again. In honor of Mother’s day I thought we would take a look at how this national holiday got started. Being raised a Catholic; I had always heard that Mother’s day was celebrated to commemorate Mary Mother of Jesus. May is, after all, her month. It turns out I could not have been less informed on this topic.
Mother’s day was created in 1910 after a short campaign to set aside a special holiday to celebrate Mothers, started by Anna Jarvis in 1905. Anna wanted a way to demonstrate her love and respect to her own mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, a peace activist who had aided wounded soldiers on both sides during the Civil war.
Anna Jarvis celebrated the first Mother’s day in 1908 when she held a memorial for her mother in Grafton West Virginia. Mother’s day was officially recognized by the state of West Virginia in 1910. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed into law that the 2nd Sunday in May would be a national holiday- Mother’s day.
Anna had a vision about this holiday that she hoped would be shared by all. She wanted the day named Mother’s day- to personalize it for each and every mother, not just a blanket for all mothers. She wanted a day when people would reflect and honor their mothers in a personal way.
Anna was disappointed when Hall Mark jumped on the band wagon and commercialized the holiday with pre-printed cards. Florists, Candy makers, etc. soon took up the banner and the Mother’s day of today was born. Anna was so disappointed by the commercialism, in fact, that she started a brief and failed campaign to scrap the holiday all together.
In honor of Anna, take some time to visit your mom this year, make her a card, cook her dinner, and do something very intimate and personal. Interestingly, Anna never married and had no children. She was never the recipient of the holiday she started.
Happy Mother’s day to you; I hope it is filled with memories, love, and laughter.
THE JARVIS FAMILY OF WEST VIRGINIA
Anna Jarvis was born 5/1/1864 in Webster West Virginia. She died on 11/24/1948 in West Chester Pa. Anna never married. No children. She was the founder of mother’s day.
Anna was the daughter of Granville E. Jarvis (1824-1902) and Ann M. Reeves (1834-5/9/1905).The Jarvis married in 1850 and Ann indicates she was the mother of 13 children, 7 of them died before Anna was born in 1864.
In 1850 Granville Jarvis was married to Sarah M. ?. and living on a farm close to his parents. Granville and Sarah had two small children; Louisa A. Jarvis (1848), and John V. Jarvis (1950). Sarah passed away shortly after baby John was born and Granville married Ann M. Reeves before the end of the year. Both children had died by 1860.
Ann M. Reeves was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Reeves of Prince William Va. Thomas was a shoe maker. In addition to Ann the Reeves had at least two sons; S.A. Reeves (1834), working as a laborer in 1850, and Thomas C. Reeves (1841).
Granville and Ann Jarvis had the following known children; Josiah W.P. Jarvis (1853), (Columbia E. (1855), Claude (1859), Jarvis Jr. (1860), Anna M. (1864), Thomas R. (1866), Lilly (1868)Ellen Jarvis (?), Ralph Jarvis
Granville was the son of a Baptist Minister, born near Pruntytown Taylor Co. Va. He was a well-known and successful merchant and was appointed Post Master in Webster, Taylor Va. On 6/12/1858.
On behalf of mothers around the US I say, Thank you Anna M. Jarvis, for your thoughtfulness.