The History of Taylor County Chapter Two Hundred Seventy One

Mother's Day Begun

Death removed two prominent citizens of Grafton in the persons of Granville E. Jarvis and William H. Hoskins January 31,1902. Granville E. Jarvis, the son of a Baptist minister born near Pruntytown, began his career as a merchant at Webster at the time that place was a large shipping point for merchandise enroute to the interior counties not yet touched by rail. He resided at Webster until the close of the Civil War and in 1865 removed to Grafton and purchased the old brick hotel of Moses Robinett on Railroad street and opened up a general store in part of the building and using the other part of the building for family residence.

The members of his family were distinguished for their learning and the several vocations they engaged in for their life work the eldest some Josiah W.P. Jarvis began his education in the public schools of Grafton and attend a school of higher learning in the city of Baltimore to complete his education he enrolled in West Virginia college at Flemington and at the completion of his college course entered the office of Dr. Thomas Kennedy for the study of medicine. In 1874 he enrolled in the Western Medical college at Baltimore and attended the lecture course for two years and entered the lecture course and graduated in the class of 1876. He located at Amos in Marion county in 1877 and soon came into a large and lucrative practice.

Claude S. Jarvis began his career after leaving the public schools of Grafton as a printer establishing a job printery in the old Henry G. Davis building at the corner of Ethel and Railroad streets, and later he became auditor for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The cab business in the city of Philadelphia appealed to his as a business that was a need in transporting the great numbers of people entering and departing by train and led him to organize the Quaker City Cab Company which proved a most profitable venture and which grew to very large proportions. Quick to see the advantages of motor driven vehicles over the horse drawn cab he equipped his company with this new mode of transportation and at his time of death controlled practically all the taxi business in this great city long distances.

Miss Anna Jarvis of world fame as the founder of Mother’s Day born at Webster  lived her young girlhood in Grafton and began her education in the public schools the town and enrolled Wheeling female Seminary and graduated with high honors. Excellently educated and competent teacher, she was engaged by the local school board as an instructor of the intermediate grades in old Central School, her efficiency is attested to by the fact of her seven years continuous service in the Grafton school.

After the death of the father the family took up their residence with the son and brother, Claude, at Philadelphia. The mother Mrs. Anna Reeves Jarvis died at Philadelphia May 9, 1905. Miss Anna Jarvis conceived the idea of setting apart one day of each year to pay a loving tribute to the mother of mankind after the passing of her mother, she sought out John Wanamaker, the great merchant of Philadelphia and acquainted him with her idea. Mr. Wanamaker thought the idea a grand one and urged the start of the movement.

To begin the movement she wrote the late Lawson L. Loar who served as superintendent pf Andrews Methodist Episcopal Sunday school from 1903-1909 to start the movement in the church had instructed the Sunday school classes for so many years. The idea appealed to Mr. Loar and on Sunday, May 10,1908, he arose and made known the wishes of Miss Jarvis at the morning service on the above date, asking that one Sunday of each year be set apart and be given over paying a loving tribute to all mothers of mankind living and dead.

Judge Ira E. Robinson immediately moved the adoption of the movement and offered a resolution which stated:

“That the first Sunday in May of each year beginning with this 10th of May 1908, be set apart as Mother’s Day in Andrews Methodist Episcopal church of Grafton, West Virginia, that all other services be dispensed with and the day given over to paying loving tribute to all mothers at this service living and dead.”

 The resolution was unanimously adopted and on that Sunday, May 10, 1908, the nationwide movement had its beginning in Andrews Methodist Episcopal church of Grafton 31 years ago. Which has been religiously practiced throughout the years following its organization. This history of the movement ought dispel the idea that the movement was started elsewhere as claimed by many people and newspapers.

Granville E. Jarvis after establishing his residence in Grafton became a prominent figure in the business and political history of Grafton. He served as a town trustee, member of the town council, town clerk and member of the school board was a considerable property owner and interested in local industries. He retired from active business and political affairs in 1885, after disposing of his hotel property to Patrick Flannery and erected his family home on East Wilford where he passed away December 31, 1902, and interred with the ritualistic rites of the masonic fraternity in Bluemont cemetery, Misses Anna and Lillie Jarvis are residents of Philadelphia. Miss Anna is the owner of some property in Taylor County, whose attention requires her frequent visits to the home of her early years. Her name is now known throughout the civilized world as the founder of Mother’s Day.


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