WV: Ann Jarvis Mothers Day

I feel that it is ironic that the founder of Mother’s Day never had any children of her own. The tradition of Mother’s Day started as an act of love for her Mother but would become her undoing later in life. She worked in the later part of her life to have the national holiday un-recognized.

Anna jarvis.jpg
Photo Credit: Olairian
Source: Wikipedia

Per Wikipedia:

Anna Maria Jarvis was born to Granville E. and Ann Maria (née Reeves) Jarvis on May 1, 1864, in Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, the ninth of eleven children. Seven of her siblings died in infancy or early childhood. Her birthplace, today known as the Anna Jarvis House, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. 

Ann Reeves Jarvis was a social activist, founder of Mothers’ Day Work Clubs. As a woman defined by her faith, she was very active within the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church community. It was during one of her Sunday school lessons in 1876 that her daughter, Anna Jarvis, allegedly found her inspiration for Mother’s Day, as Ann closed her lesson with a prayer, stating:

I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mothers day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.— Ann Reeves Jarvis

On May 10, 1908, three years after her mother’s death, Jarvis held a memorial ceremony to honor her mother and all mothers at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, today the International Mother’s Day in Grafton, West Virginia, marking the first official observance of Mother’s Day.

Her efforts to hold on to the original meaning of the day led to her own economic hardship. While others profited from the day, Jarvis did not, and she spent the later years of her life with her sister Lillie. In 1943, she began organizing a petition to rescind Mother’s Day. However, these efforts were halted when she was placed in the Marshall Square Sanitarium in West Chester, Pennsylvania. People connected with the floral and greeting card industries paid the bills to keep her in the sanitarium.

Jarvis died on November 24, 1948, and was buried next to her mother, sister, and brother at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Although the Anna M. Jarvis Committee supported her and helped to continue her movement during her declining health, it ultimately disbanded with the assurance that the Jarvis family gravesite would remain under the care of her grandniece who was the only heir to the estate, her oldest brother’s granddaughter, as she herself never married or had any children.

Newspaper Articles on Anna Jarvis and Mother’s Day:

The Indianapolis Star
Indianapolis, Indiana
12 May 1940, Sun  •  Page 96
The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
07 May 1945, Mon  •  Page 4
Anna Jarvis -
Beckley Post-Herald
Beckley, West Virginia
30 Apr 1946, Tue  •  Page 10
Beckley Post-Herald
Beckley, West Virginia
13 May 1946, Mon  •  Page 1
The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
11 May 1947, Sun  •  Page 3
The Morning Herald
Uniontown, Pennsylvania
30 Nov 1948, Tue  •  Page 11
The Owensboro Messenger
Owensboro, Kentucky
30 Nov 1948, Tue  •  Page 8
The Anna Jarvis House
Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia
Source: Wikipedia

Per WV GenWeb:

The Anna Jarvis Birthplace

Webster Village, Taylor County, WV

The Anna Jarvis Birthplace

Anna Jarvis was born in the village of Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, on May 1, 1864, in a two-story wooden house built by her father, Granville E. Jarvis, in 1854. The family occupied the house for eleven years during one of the most exciting periods of American history.

The house became a focal point of 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. Webster at that time was an important depot for both troops and supplies. The Wheeling-Staunton Pike (Route 250) which ran in front of the house connected the two biggest cities in what was then the state of Virginia.

The Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum has been restored by Thunder on the Tygart, Inc., using no federal, state or county funds. Thunder on the Tygart, named after the local farmers’ description of cannon fire during the first land battle of the Civil War, is a non-profit foundation begun in 1994 to create jobs in West Virginia, preserve historic sites, and educate today’s youth about their heritage and the wealth of history that has occurred in West Virginia.

The Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum is located four miles south of Grafton on U.S. Route 119/250. Check their website for tour information.

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