The History of Taylor County Chapter Three Hundred-Fifty-Two

Mother's Day Founded

Word was received in Grafton of the death of John L. Gibson at Portsmouth, Virginia April 13,1908. As a young man he began his career in the transportation department on the Parkersburg branch of the Baltimore and Ohio and was the first man to drive the first Mogul No. 171 when the old ten-wheel Camel type was discarded for the larger and heavier type. HE was promoted to the passenger service in 1882 and for 20 years was regarded as one of the most efficient locomotive drivers on the entire system. In 1901 he retired from the service to engage in the mercantile business at Portsmouth. He was afflicted with cancer of the throat while a resident of the Virginia city and it was deemed necessary to operate for the removal of cancer, but his vitality was so low he never recovered from the operation. His remains were returned to Grafton and interred in Bluemont Cemetery besides the bodies of his son and daughter. 

The Patriarchal Dr. James M. Hamilton, for many years engaged in the mercantile and drug business in Grafton died at the home of his daughter Mrs. Harry Long in West Grafton and was laid to rest in Bluemont Cemetery. 

The condition of the water system caused the town council to give serious attention to the needs of this department of the municipality which it was found inadequate for the constant demands made upon the system by installation in new home and business houses and to secure this needed improvement the mayor and council issued a proposal to the citizens asking that a bond issue in the sum of $90,000 be submitted to the voters at a special election on April 23, 1908 and a special levy of 10 cents be added for the establishment of sinking fund for the retirement of the bonds. 

The commissioners appointed to conduct the special election on April 23rd reported the following cast: 

For ratification 614 votes were cast for and 219 votes cast against the bond issue. For the special levy 612 votes were cast for and 219 votes cast against the levy. 

At the morning service in Andrews Methodist Church Sunday May 10,1908 the late Lawson L. Loar then superintendent of the Sunday School arose during the service and read a telegram from Miss Anna Jarvis a former member of Andrews congregation asking that a day be set aside as Mother’s Day to be observed as a loving tribute to the memory of the mothers of mankind both living and dead. Miss Jarvis defined the purpose of the day as due to “Revive the dormant love and filial gratitude owe to those who gave us birth. To be a home tire for the absent, to obliterate family and estrangement. To create a bond of brotherhood through the wearing of the floral badge the white carnation period to make us better children by getting us closer to the hearts of our good mothers period to brighten the lives of good mothers period to have them know we appreciate them that we do not often show it often as we might.”

Honorable judge Ira E. Robinson a member of the congregation present on that Sunday morning after hearing the reading and offered a resolution asking the congregation of Andrews Methodist Church of Grafton, West Virginia at the request of miss Anna Jarvis set apart the second Sunday of May each year as Mother’s Day and dispense with the regular church program on each second Sunday in May and the following years for the loyal sons and daughters to honor their mother’s. The resolution was promptly adopted and Andrews Methodist Church of Grafton in that year became the mother Church of Mother’s Day. This bit of history should settle for all time the origin of Mother’s Day and its founder.

A Baldwin Sloane in Frederick ransom musical fantasy the gingerbread man came to the Opera House May 10, 1908. This gorgeously gowned, brilliant and catchy musical spectacle bringing alive the famous nursery characters Chris Kingle, Simple Simon, Margorie doll, Peter piper and other characters family are to the children for ages past learned at their mother’s knee drew and immense audience to the theater who again lived their childhood days and seeing these imagery folks singing and act for their amusement. The musical numbers were new and catchy and for some time they were heard by some whistling the airs on the street who was present at the production. The scenery and properties were carried by the company, and this lent additional interest to the production.

The graduating class of Grafton high school 21 in number was the largest yet to complete their education in this school they were:

George Blaney, Jr., Grave Brown, Ralph Brown, Juanita Bartlett, Estelle Eccles, Pauline Gaskins, Leota Griffith, Edna Grinnan,Rhea Heironomus, Robert Jackson, Ross Johnson, Clyde Campbell, Lulu Lanham, guy Leonard, Earl Phillips, Leslie Poe, Juanita Shingleton, Lawrence Sinsel, Agnes Stuck, Helen Thompson and Mays Williams.

Only five of those class of 1908 are residents of Grafton who are Mrs. Grace Brown Frye, Miss Leota Griffith, Mrs. Juanita Shingleton Harden, Lawrence Sinsel, and Mrs. Agnes Stuck Brown.

Memorial Day brought an unusual number of people to Grafton who were once residents and who marveled at the many changes that had taken place during their absence, the smooth brick surface streets that replaced the old cobblestone pavement the finer water and electric light system, street railway, the substantial rows of brick buildings that line old Latrobe that replace the flimsy inflatable structures as man and boy they marched past to attend the many memorial celebrations of the past. The fine steel bridge that led to West Grafton which obliviated the necessity of crossings the old railroad bridge over his length untold thousands had passed in mere years to reach the National Cemetery for these


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