By Robert Vincent
Dr. DeForest Clinton Jarvis, noted country doctor and author, was my 1st cousin twice removed. His mother, Abigail Gene Vincent was my great grandfather’s (Clinton Joy Vincent’s) sister. Dr. Jarvis was related to Anna Marie Jarvis (1864 – 1948) who founded Mother’s Day in honor of her mother, Ann Marie Reeves-Jarvis (1834 – 1905).
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), sentiment in western Virginia was sharply divided between the north and south. In 1863, this culminated in the western part of the state breaking away from Virginia and forming the new state of West Virginia, which was loyal to the Union. Western Virginia became the location of some of the first battles of the Civil War. Ann Reeves-Jarvis urged neutrality and provided aid to both Confederate and Union soldiers. She promoted better sanitation and nursing care, which helped save thousands of lives on both sides. After the war, she continued her work to help heal the wounds of the war years and bring families and communities together again.
Thanks to the tireless work of Anna Marie Jarvis to honor her mother, and all mothers, a joint resolution in the United States Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. President Woodrow Wilson signed the official resolution for Mothers’ Day in 1914.
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