As this Sunday, May 10, is Mother’s Day, I figured this was a great opportunity to pay tribute to the “first mother” of the United States–Mary Ball Washington. But before we go on about Mary Washington, let us entertain a bit of legal history. Many of us see Mother’s Day like any other holiday with a timeless past; however, it was not until 1914 that it was set out as a national holiday for the United States.
On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued Presidential Proclamation 1268. The proclamation directs “the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings” and “invite[s] the people of the United States to display the flag on their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC), which we use frequently for illustrating this blog, includes several images concerning Mary Ball Washington. As you may know, Mary Washington, the mother of the first president of the United States, George Washington, was a long-time resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Thus, it is no surprise that Fredericksburg would be rich with landmarks commemorating her historical presence there. Hence the reason why University of Mary Washington, which is also in Fredericksburg, is named after her.
One Sunday, this past March, as I was looking to kill time before getting to my church, Fredericksburg Baptist Church, I stumbled across Mary Washington’s House. So, I seized the moment and took a few pictures, which you can see below. The house is located on the corner of Lewis and Charles Streets, at 1200 Charles Street, in the Historic District of Fredericksburg, Virginia. For those of you interested in colonial architecture, be sure to take a look at these images.
Later, during one of my strolls through other parts of Fredericksburg, I chanced upon the Mary Washington Monument. Below are those pictures.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all the moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!