1914: My 3rd Cousin’s Husband Proclaimed Mother’s Day a National Holiday


A Presidential Proclamation

First Lady - Edith Bolling Wilson

First Lady – Edith Bolling Wilson My 3rd Cousin

On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson (husband of my third cousin, Edith Bolling Wilson), issued a presidential proclamation that officially established the first national Mother’s Day holiday to celebrate America’s mothers. But, there are two lines of thought about where and when the idea of Mother’s Day was first brought up.

Julia Ward Howe

1) Julia Ward Howe was a prominent American abolitionist, social activist (especially in the women’s rights to vote movement), poet, and the author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  She saw some of the worst effects of the Civil War — not only the death and disease which killed and maimed the soldiers. She worked with the widows and orphans of soldiers on both sides of the war, and realized that the effects of the war went beyond the killing of soldiers in battle. She also saw the economic devastation and crises that followed the war, and the restructuring of the economies of both North and South.

In 1870, Mrs. Howe distressed by her experience of the realities of war, determined that peace was one of the two most important causes of the world (the other being equality in its many forms) and seeing war arise again in the world in the Franco-Prussian War, she called for women to rise up and oppose war in all its forms. She wanted women to come together across national lines, to recognize what they held in common above what divided them, and to commit to finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts. She issued a Declaration, hoping to gather women in a congress of action.  In 1872, her campaign for a holiday to commemorate peace and to reunite families (mothers and their sons) who had been separated by the Civil War failed.mothers-day proclamation-julia-ward-howe

 Anna Jarvis

Anna Jarvis - 1872

Anna Jarvis – 1872

2) Anna Jarvis’ mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, also attempted to set up a version of Mother’s Day during the Civil War as a time for remembrance. After the holiday failed to catch on, Anna recalled hearing her mother pray for a memorial day for mothers. Anna’s mother died in May,1905, and two years later, Ms. Jarvis held a memorial for her mother and her good deeds. The next year, she again held a service, and gave away carnations, her mother’s favorite flower, to all that attended. Red and pink carnations were worn for living mothers, and white for those who had passed away. Jarvis wanted all to attend church and afterward, for children to spend time writing a note of appreciation to their mothers.  In 1910, she formed a committee in West Virginia  at it became the first state to adopt the holiday.

Anne Reeves Jarvis

A placard in the West Virginia State Museum in Charleston, WV, to honor the Jarvis women and Mother’s Day.

Soon, Jarvis began to raise new awareness and support, and in 1914, President Wilson declared the second Sunday in May “Mother’s Day.”

In President Wilson’s first Mother’s Day proclamation, he stated that the holiday offered a chance to “publicly express our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

Jeremiah Warren: photographer, videographer, After Effects’er, YouTuber, and social media marketer based in Dallas, TX,produced the following clever video last year in honor of the day.  I thought you might enjoy it.

 

 

See also:      http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mothers-day/videos/history-of-mothers-day

Happy Mother's Day

Two Pocahontas Descendants Became First Ladies


A wonderful post dated July 12, 2013 on the Edith Bolling Wilson Museum’s Facebook Page that includes many wonderful short snippets about Edith, her life, and museum artifacts, pictures, and events in Wytheville, Virginia was all the prompting I needed to adapt and expand it.

Pocahontas and Edith Bolling Wilson…
Strong Women and Role Models for Young Girls.

How many young girls can claim they descend from Pocahontas? I didn’t know much about my ancestors or my relationships to them when I was a girl, but I do now and I’m very glad that I took the time to learn more. In fact, this is my primary reason for writing these posts–to share the knowledge of our heritage with future generations.

pocahontas

Princess Pocahontas Matoaka Rebecca POWHATAN

To summarize one of my earlier posts written nearly two years ago, Pocahontas was a Virginia Indian notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia.

In 1614, Pocahontas married John Rolfe, a tobacco farmer, and gave birth to Thomas Rolfe in 1615.  The marriage between John and Pocahontas was the first recorded interracial marriage in American history.  Soon after having Thomas, John and Pocahontas left for England where she became somewhat of a celebrity.

At age 22, Pocahontas, became gravely ill and died.  It was Thomas, her only child that began the lineage of Pocahontas descendants, including the First Families of Virginia, First Ladies Edith Wilson and Nancy Reagan, and astronomer Percival Lowell.

Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan, First Lady to 40th US President

Mrs. Wilson, too, was very proud of her heritage.  She was the 9th generation descendant of Pocahontas, and her great-great grandmother was also sister to Thomas Jefferson.

Percival Lowell

Percival Lowell, Astronomer

Gown-Edith Bolling Galt Wilson

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, First Lady to 28th US President

 

 

I’m wondering if Edith’s large, poor southern family and being the seventh of eleven children born to William Holcombe Bolling and Sarah “Sally” Spiers White was the impetus for her becoming a strong woman and even a secret president (as she cared for her ailing husband, President Woodrow Wilson)?

Below is an excerpt from Edith Bolling Wilson’s book, My Memoirs, published in 1935 by the Bobbs-Merrill Company.  I understand used copies of this book may be purchased from the Edith Bolling Wilson Foundation by emailing them at:  info@edithbollingwilson.org.

Snippet--MyMemoir

The Genealogy of Edith Bolling Wilson

Edith Bolling Wilson and I through many generations, share the same direct descendants of the famous American Indian, Pocahontas, as shown below:

The genealogical path from Pocahontas

  1. Pocahontas and John Rolfe – son, Thomas Rolfe
  2. Thomas Rolfe and Jane Roythress – daughter, Jane Rolfe
  3. Jane Rolfe and Robert Bolling – son, John Bolling
  4. John Bolling and Mary Kennon – son, John Bolling, Jr.
  5. John Bolling Jr. and Elizabeth Blair – son, John Bolling III
  6. John Bolling III and Mary Jefferson – son, Archibald Bolling
    (Mary Jefferson was sister of Thomas Jefferson)
  7. Archibald Bolling and Catherine Payne – son, Archibald Bolling Jr.
  8. Archibald Bolling Jr. and Anne Wiggington – son, William Holcombe Bolling
  9. William Holcombe Bolling and Sallie Spiers White – daughter, Edith Bolling

The genealogical link to Martha Washington (includes Robert E. Lee)

  1. Martha Dandridge’s (Washington) first husband – Daniel Parke Custis
  2. Martha Dandridge and Daniel Parke Custis – son, John Parke Custis
  3. John Parke Custis and Eleanor Calvert – son, George Washington Parke Custis
  4. George Washington Parke Custis and Mary Lee Fitzhugh – daughter, Mary Anna Randolph Custis
  5. Mary Anna Randolph Custis and Robert E. Lee – son, William H. Fitzhugh Lee
  6. William H. Fitzhugh Lee married Mary Tabb Bolling, descendant of Colonel Robert Bolling and Ann Stith, Robert Bolling’s second wife

I encourage you to visit the museum:

Edith Bolling Wilson Museum
145 East Main Street Wytheville, VA 24382
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.