Henderson County, Kentucky Biography
MARY TOWLES SASSEEN, of Henderson, was the founder of Mother’s Day. As far back as 1887 Miss Sasseen, then a school teacher, began the observation of Mother’s Day in her own school, later undertaking a campaign to have the day observed on a national scale.
While Miss Sasseen was visiting her sister, Mrs. Edwin W. (Sallie Therese Sasseen) OLDS in Springfield, Ohio, they were sucessful in having Mother’s Day observed in the Springfield public schools. Following her campaign for national recognition of Mother’s Day, she traveled extensively and appeared before many educational bodies.
On September 28, 1904, Miss Sasseen gave up teaching, married Judge William Marshall WILSON, and left Kentucky to make her home in Freeport, Florida. Six (actually it was two) years later she died while still endeavoring to promote a Nation-wide observance of the day. It remained for a Philadelphia woman, Miss Anna JARVIS, to win national observance of the day. In 1914, through the instrumentality of Miss Jarvic (Jarvis), President WILSON proclaimed Mother’s Day a legal holiday. Congress passed a resolution designating the second Sunday in May as the date for the observance.
A Boston business man, Ernest Dudley CHASE, discovered, after long research, that the “mother” of Mother’s Day was Mary Towles Sasseen, of Henderson, Kentucky.
The Kentucky Legislature in recognition of her work, passed a resolution acclaiming her as the “originator of the idea of Mother’s Day celebration” and praised her efforts to bring to the mind of children everywhere the full admiration, respect, and love due all mothers.
In the Henderson Cemetery there stands a white marker erected by the county historical society bearing this inscription: “Mary Towles Sasseen in 1887 founded Mother’s Day.”
Story was found on
page 89 in the “Henderson, Home of Audubon”. Henderson, Home
of Audubon was compiled by the Workers of the Writers’ Program of the
Work Projects Administration in the State of Kentucky and sponsored by
Susan Starling Towles, Librarian, Public Library, Henderson, KY
County Census, William H. Sasseen age 45, John P. age 14, William
A. age 11, Sarah A. age 9, Susan B. age 7, Robert J. Martin age 20, and
Mary E. Martin age unk, Robert's wife.
Marriages in Henderson County, Kentucky 1858 1900, Vol. 2
Page 112, J. P. Sasseen married Mary J. Towles 15 Dec 1858, Book 4, Pg
Page 94, Edwin M. Olds married Sallie T. Sasseen 20 Jun 1888, Book 21,