In downtown Albion along the north branch of the Kalamazoo River at Reiger Park is a Michigan historical marker telling the story of the first Mother’s Day in Michigan. I visited the park in late fall and I have been waiting until the right day for this post. I am sure you can figure out why I waited until now to post this.
The marker reads:
On May 13, 1877, the second Sunday of the month, Juliet Calhoun Blakeley stepped into the pulpit of the Methodist Episcopal Church and completed the sermon for the Reverend Myron Daugherty. According to legend, Daugherty was distraught because an anti-temperance group had forced his son to spend the night in a saloon. Proud of their mother’s achievement Charles and Moses Blakeley encouraged others to pay tribute to their mothers. In the 1880s the Albion Methodist church began celebrating Mother’s Day in Blakeley’s honor.
The official observance of Mother’s Day resulted from the efforts of Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia. In 1868 her mother had organized a Mother’s Friendship Day in a West Virginia town to unite Confederate and Union families after the Civil War. Anna Reeves Jarvis died on the second Sunday in May 1905. In 1907 her daughter began promoting the second Sunday in May as a holiday to honor mothers. Following an act of Congress in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day.
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