Remember When …

Photo provided

Photo provided

Father’s Day took over 62 years to become a national holiday in American. Grace Golden Clayton, had lost her dad in 1896, then in 1908 there was a terrible mining accident that killed 360 men and boys and left 1,000 children fatherless.

Mrs. Clayton decided she wanted to honor the fathers that had died in her own town in Fairmont, West Virginia with a Father’s Day service on July 5, this was the first on record in the U.S.

We have a heavenly Father, from the old to the New Testament, that tells us to honor your earthly father and mother, is a common in most cultures across the world.

Ephesians 6:1 tells us to Honor and respect our parents which is the first commandment with promise, it must be important.

A father is a male parent of a child, a dad could be someone who is a father or a father figure, when you have no father or a mentor.

Sonora Smart-Dodd, at 16 in 1909, was at a church service for Mother’s Day (hearing how it started) thinking about how her father raised she and her five brothers alone, because her mother died 10 years earlier giving birth and wanted to honor him too. Sonora Dodd went to the ministers at the YWCA and they started to help her.



In Spokane, Washington June 19, 1910 was the first day Fathers’ Day was celebrated by more than a town; in honor of William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, and Sonora’s father. Honoring fathers has been going on for a long time, and Dodd was the one who blazed the trails for 62 years to make this day a national holiday when she turned 96.

The first time Fathers’ Day was denied in congress was 1913, then to presidents (Wilson, Coolidge, and Johnson) before being signed into law as a national holiday, by President Nixon in 1972.

Fathers’ Day is very special to me. My dad was a wonderful man with lots of double cousins in the area, I know everybody doesn’t have history like that (I am sorry).

We always had a garden and my dad loved life and his family, he worked in General Motors for 45 years as a Die Maker. My dad’s grandfather was a widower also and had to raise eight kids alone in Beal City.

I am a baby boomer and we had lots of TV shows to show us the cool things about dads and families. Like: “Father Knows Best”, “My Three Sons”, “Leave it to Beaver”, “The Brady Bunch” and even “Andy Griffith Show”. Than shows changed to “Happy Days” and all kinds of other things I loved growing up in the 60-70’s. You can watch them all on YouTube and laugh; I love the old family shows. Do you?

The U.S. government is concerned today about the “fatherless homes,” these children are more likely to get in trouble than families with both parents at home. See for more information.

Around the world we honor our fathers every year for being there for us. Seeing our dads this year will be great since the lockdowns are lifting.

I hope you get to spend quality time like going fishing, taking a walk, telling old stories, sharing a meal or just thank him for being your dad!

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email