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Father's Day

Monongah Mining Disaster

Dec, 1907
Monongah, West Virginia, U.S.

Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her father, when in December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monongah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children. Clayton suggested that her pastor Robert Thomas Webb honor all those fathers. Clayton's event did not have repercussions outside Fairmont for several reasons; among them were the city was overwhelmed by other events, the celebration was never promoted outside the town itself, and no proclamation of it was made by the city council. Also, two events overshadowed this event: the celebration of Independence Day July 4, 1908, with 12,000 attendants and several shows, including a hot-air balloon event, which took over the headlines in the following days, and the death of a 16-year-old girl on July 4. The local church and council were overwhelmed and they did not even think of promoting the event, and it was not celebrated again for many years. The original sermon was not reproduced by the press and it was lost. Finally, Clayton was a quiet person, who never promoted the event and never talked to other persons about it.


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