100 Years of Mothers Days 1

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In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution of Congress, officially establishing Mother’s Day in the United States. The resolution called mothers “the country’s greatest source of strength and inspiration.”

As we headed back south from the Pennsylvania homeschool convention yesterday, Ray and I decided to stop in Staunton, Virginia, to tour the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, which includes the Presbyterian manse where Wilson was born.

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We parked behind the complex and walked through the beautiful gardens, maintained by The Garden Club of Virginia since the 1930s.

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Back Entrance of Wilson’s Birthplace
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Boxwood-lined Bowknot Beds
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The Garden Club of Virginia added
brick pathways and a brick terrace in 1967-68.

Ray and I had not realized the significance of this particular Mother’s Day, but Sunday turned out to be the perfect day to visit Wilson’s birthplace . We were surprised to find out that it was the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day and that I would get in free.

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Presbyterian minister Joseph Ruggles Wilson, his wife Janet “Jessie” Woodrow Wilson, and their two daughters, Marion and Annie, had lived in the manse for only two years when Thomas “Tommie” Woodrow Wilson was born there three days after Christmas in 1856.

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Tommy Wilson’s Baby Dress

Our tour began at the backdoor entrance to the basement, where we toured the kitchen, scullery, informal dining room, and cook’s bedroom.

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Our guide then took us to the front of the house so we could enter the first floor. There we saw the parlor, the formal dining room, Joseph Wilson’s study, and the bedroom where Wilson was born. The four top floor bedrooms were not included in the tour.

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While Tommy was an infant, his father went to Dalton, Georgia, to perform the marriage ceremony of Jessie’s brother, who was also a minister. While there the elder Wilson met leaders from the First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia. They invited him to become their new minister. Joseph moved his family to Augusta and began serving in his new church when Tommy was just over one year old.

The Wilson family remained in Augusta until Tommy was about thirteen years old. Here Joseph Jr. was born and here Tommy began his education at home. When Tommy grew up, he decided to be called Woodrow. As an adult, he earned his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, served as president of Princeton University, was elected governor of New Jersey, and became President of the United States.

Ray and I enjoyed the exhibits in the Wilson museum, housed in another building. Here are a few highlights:

  • The briefcase that Wilson used from the time he was a college student through his years as President of the United States.
  • Sheet music for the patriotic song “Over There,” which encouraged Americans both in World War I and World War II.

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  • Posters encouraging Americans to support the World War I war effort.

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  • A lifesize model of a World War I trench.

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  • A “Toby Jug” created by the English Royal Staffordshire Pottery Company to honor Wilson’s role in helping to defeat the Central Powers in World War I. Wilson is dressed as Uncle Sam and is riding on an airplane.

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  • Wilson’s favorite Pierce Arrow automobile, which he rode in after leaving the presidency.

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According to our guide, Thomas Woodrow Wilson was ten years old before he knew his ABCs and twelve before he could read a book. Quiet your anxious mama heart and be patient as your children learn on the timetable God has created for them.

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
Psalm 37:7a



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