The Origins of Father's Day, from the daughter of a Union Army Vet

O' Be Joyful

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May 12, 2019
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Many people assume Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day for that matter) is a holiday designed by greeting card makers to turn a profit. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The story behind how this day became a holiday is actually a tale of determination by one woman and a decades-long fight to get fathers the recognition they deserve.

Some attribute the first Father’s Day observance to the 1907 Monongah, West Virginia mining disaster that killed 361 men—250 of them fathers— and which left more than a thousand children without a dad. Grace Golden Clayton, whose father was killed in the tragedy, suggested a service of commemoration to the pastor of her local Methodist chapel. But it never really caught on as an annual observance.

Two years later, in May of 1909, a woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, heard a Mother’s Day sermon by Reverend Dr. Henry Rasmussen in her hometown church and thought a similar day should be set aside to honor fathers. Her own father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, raised six children as a single parent.


I wish all a Happy Father's Day, if only it is in your own present case or as a fond remembrance of days gone by.

And, Grand-paps must be remembered as well. Ya' never know when you might be gifted a gold pocket watch.


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Jul 28, 2019
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William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran,
Look what I found for OBJ... The Family life bio on William Smart... a lot of babies... need to read... link...

William Jackson Smart was a twice-married, twice-widowed Civil War veteran and father of 14 children, one of whom dedicated her life to the creation of Father’s Day in honor of her devoted and selfless dad.

Snip... rebel turned yankee...

William Jackson Smart, the original inspiration for Father’s Day, was born in Arkansas in 1842 and records show that he enlisted as a Union soldier there in 1863. That was odd, because Arkansas was a Confederate state. Spokane resident, Jerry Numbers, who owned what had been Sonora’s home, researched the Smart family history for Spokane’s Father’s Day Centennial Celebration in 2010. Numbers says that William, in fact, fought for both sides in the Civil War.

Driving a supply wagon for Confederate troops, William was captured in the Battle of Pea Ridge, a decisive Union victory in Arkansas in 1862. Rather than languish in a prisoner of war camp, he opted to join the northern cause. As indication that William was a “Reb” before he was a “Yank,” Sonora was a member of both the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Daughters of Union Veterans.