A Man and a Woman Honor Mamas

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Please see an invitation below the meme at the end of this post.

The West Virginia state capitol and the capitol grounds provide two reminders of one of the ten commandments: Honor your father and your mother.

A bust of Anna Jarvis sits near the visitors desk inside the capitol. Jarvis was the founder of Mother’s Day.

A plaque beneath the bust says:

FROM THE MOTHER’S DAY BIRTHPLACE,
WEBSTER, TAYLOR COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA
ANNA JARVIS
FOUNDER OF MOTHER’S DAY

As we explored the West Virginia Veterans Memorial, I noticed this plaque on the portico near the World War II monolith.

In the center of the plaque were likenesses of a son and his stepmother. Under her likeness were these words:

To My Beloved Stepmother
MRS. ROSA BROWN ELLIS
July 8, 1881 – June 6, 1944

Notice that Mrs. Ellis died on D-Day. Under the son’s likeness were these words:

From A Most Grateful Son
JAMES H. ‘BUCK’ HARLESS
World War II Memorial Donor

These words surrounded the oval plaque:

THIS WORLD WAR II MONOLITH IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF ROSA BROWN ELLIS OF GILBERT, AND ALL THOSE WOMEN WHO MOTHERED WEST VIRGINIA’S CASUALTIES OF WAR.

For Anna Jarvis and James “Buck” Harless, honoring mothers was deeply personal. Anna was the 9th of her mother’s 11 children.  During the Civil War, Anna’s mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, led her community’s work to take care of both Union and Confederate soldiers.  After the war, she worked to heal divisions between those in her community who had disagreed about the war. Mrs. Jarvis was a Sunday School teacher. She had long desired that a day be set aside to honor mothers. She once told her Sunday School class that she hoped and prayed that someone would establish a day to honor mothers.

After her mother’s death, Anna Jarvis began working to found a national Mother’s Day. She was insistent that the day be called Mother’s Day with the singular word mother. She abhorred the way it was soon commercialized. Her original desire was to encourage children to be with their mothers on Mother’s Day. She wanted people to honor “the best mother who ever lived, yours.”

Regarding the second reminder, I had never heard of James “Buck” Harless until I did research to write this post. Harless’ mother died of pneumonia soon after his birth. Harless grew up under the care of his mother’s sister, Rosa Brown Ellis, and her husband, Ras Ellis. Like many West Virginians, Harless began his working life as a coal miner. He eventually became a very successful businessman. He was a man of great faith, and he was a great philanthropist. One of his many contributions was the World War II monolith which forms a portion of the West Virginia Veterans Memorial. That monolith honored his beloved aunt. Ellis died at age 94 in 2014.

I recently saw a post shared by the daughter of Gladys Walls, a beloved sister in Christ whom Ray and I knew in Oxford, Mississippi. Gladys served as the cook at the University Christian Student Center where Ray served as a campus minister to students at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). Gladys was one of the sweetest women we have known. She was devoted to Jesus and to our students who came to her for wise counsel. In her post, Gladys’ daughter Diane began: “Your parents are your parents.” She continued by encouraging people to listen to their parents—”even if they call five times a day and tell the same stories.” Diane then reminded folks that someday they will wish they could hear their parents’ voices.

Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.
Proverbs 23:25

I want you to know about a couple of interviews Notgrass History is conducting this week, one on Tuesday, November 16, and one on Thursday, November 18. Both are available through Homeschool History, which is our web-based app that helps parents find supplemental history resources. The following is the invitation that we sent out last week to the folks who receive the Notgrass History email newsletter.

Invitation

Homeschool History members are invited to join us for live interviews with interesting people to learn about history, art, technology, government, and public service. We have two exciting interviews scheduled for next week!

If you are not a Homeschool History member already, please sign up for a free trial. Then tap on the links below for all the details.

November 16 – Rocco Buttliere is an internationally recognized LEGO® Artist with a passion for and a degree in architecture. He has created dozens of world landmarks and geographically/historically accurate landscapes in intricate detail. Rocco has successfully adapted his artistic pursuits into a working business model, in lieu of a traditional architecture career.

November 18 – William Kamkwamba is an innovative entrepreneur from Malawi. As a teenager working from just one photo in a U.S. junior high school textbook, he reasoned out how to build an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, despite having no instructions. William and his wife, Olivia, are now working to bring the Moving Windmills Innovation Center to life in Kasungu, Malawi. William’s story is featured in Lesson 37 of our Exploring World Geography curriculum.

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