By David Taylor
Bev and I recently decided to take the scenic drive to see a few sites along the way. One of those stops was at the Anna Jarvis House, the birthplace of Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day.
According to Wikipedia, the modern holiday was first celebrated in 1907, when Anna Jarvis (May 1, 1864 – November 24, 1948) held the first Mother’s Day service of worship at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. She and another peace activist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe had been urging for the creation of a “Mother’s Day For Peace” where mothers would ask that their husbands and sons were no longer killed in wars. 40 years before it became an official holiday, Ward Howe had made her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870, which called upon mothers of all nationalities to band together to promote the “amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.” Anna Jarvis wanted to honor this and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.
What many might not know is that this house also was a focal point during the Civil War when General George B. McClellan used it as his headquarters, and his troops were encamped across the road in what is now Ocean Pearl Felton Historic Park.
This historic site is located 3576 Webster Pike just south of Grafton in Taylor County along US. 119 and US 250.