Mother’s Day: Founded in Appalachia

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Mother’s Day, an important holiday to many of us, originated in Appalachia. It was founded in 1858 by Ann Jarvis. The founding of Mother’s Day was in response to the need for sanitation for new mothers since the infant mortality rate at that time was so high. Infection spread easily through mining camps and the small communities. Diseases that were prevalent were small pox, tuberculosis, whooping cough, measles, typhoid, and diptheria, to name a few.

After the Civil War in 1865, a woman named Julia Ward Howe who was both an author and an activist, wrote the lyrics to the Battle Hymn of the Republic and her husband was responsible for trying to clean up the unsanitary conditions that existed during and after the Civil War in the army camps. More men died in the camps from unsanitary conditions than were killed in the war. Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation which urged all mother’s to leave their homes for one day in June and work for peace in their communities. There existed two versions of Mother’s Day.

In May 1908, Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Anne Jarvis who established the initial version of Mother’s Day, worked tirelessly to see her mother’s vision fulfilled. She enlisted the help of others to get an official day established honoring mothers. In 1912, West Virginia became the first state to recognize Mother’s Day. Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation declaring the second Sunday in May a national holiday — Mother’s Day. Its symbol became the carnation.

By the 1940s, Anna had soured on Mother’s Day as it was celebrated in modern society, particularly its commercialization. She passed away without ever becoming a mother.

Mother’s Day lives on and we celebrate our mother’s, or their memory, every year…..all thanks to a woman from Appalachia. #mothers day  #appalachia

 

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