Sunday, May 11, 2008

Olympia, Wash., April 28, 1910

Washingtonians in 1910 had a very far-sighted state government, proclaiming Mothers' Day four years before President Woodrow Wilson did in 1914. They also weren't shy about mixing their government with religion, as you will see.

In accordance with a custom that has sprung up all over the United States of setting aside day for Mothers’ Day, Governor M.E. Hay has issued a proclamation naming Sunday, May 8, as Mothers’ Day in Washington. He requests that each person wear a white flower on that day and that special religious services be held in all the churches.

The proclamation follows:

A mother’s love – how sweet the name!
What is a mother’s love?
A noble, pure and tender flame,
Enkindled from above,
To bless a heart of earthly mold;
The warmest love that can grow cold;
This is a mother’s love.

In recent years there has sprung up in many portions of our land a most beautiful custom—that of setting aside one day in the year to be designated as Mothers’ Day. Of the many observances we have, there is probably none that appeals more to the average person than this, and as long as this nation shall endure, may this custom never die.

Therefore, in conformance with this usage, I, Marion E. Hay, governor of the State of Washington, do hereby designate and set apart Sunday, May 8, 1910, as Mothers’ Day, and do recommend and request that it be observed as such throughout this commonwealth. I urge that, on that day, all persons wear a white flower in acknowledgment and honor of the one who went down into the valley of the shadow of death for us. No more fitting place can be found for holding special services of this character than in our churches, and I request that all religious organizations throughout our State prepare a special program for this day, and I urge all good citizens to attend these services.


From A Seattle Newspaper

Within the past two years America has imported an established English custom, that of setting aside the second Sunday in May as “Mothers’ Day” and this year the churches, without regard to denomination, will use for their dominant sentiment the glory of motherhood and will exert every effort to make the day a time of tender remembrance.

The observance was first advocated in this country last year by the Presbyterian assembly. This year other denominations have take the matter up, and through their assemblies and local church circles it is expected that more than fifty Seattle pastors will give the subject prominence in the services tomorrow.

The call to observe the day is directed by the Presbyterian committee to the men particularly. Each man is asked to write a letter to his mother, if absent, tell her in person he loves her if she is living, and if she is dead, to wear a white carnation as a token of remembrance. The ladies are requested to bring bouquets of flowers as the outward expression of a similar sentiment.

Following last year’s precedent, the First Presbyterian Church in Seattle will make the floral offerings the subject of a special ceremony at the services at 11 a.m. tomorrow. At a given signal from Rev. M.A. Matthews, the pastor, all the women are to hold their bouquets aloft while the pastor pronounces a blessing, and at the close of the services the flowers will be gathered and placed on the graves of mothers whose relatives are not in the city to perform the duty.

In March 1909, when Governor Samuel Cosgrove died shortly after taking office, Republican Lieutenant Governor Marion E. Hay and his family became the first occupants of the Washington State Governor's mansion pictured above.


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