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So What About Father's Day?

(Fox Broadcasting Co. Via Associated Press)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

So What About Father's Day?

Would you believe it was all a copycat move by Grafton's not-too-distant neighbor, the city of Fairmont, W.Va.?

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That's how some Graftonites tend to view the fact that the first Father's Day celebration was held at Fairmont's Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South on July 5, 1908. A couple of months after the first Mother's Day service. Just up the road a piece. Coincidence? They think not.

History, however, isn't so clear. Credit for starting the day for dads often goes to Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash. Openly inspired by Anna Jarvis, she arranged a service honoring fathers in June 1910 and launched the drive that culminated in the declaration of the official holiday in 1972.

But Fairmont's earlier service gives it paternity rights. And town native Grace Golden Clayton is the acknowledged originator of the idea to hold it. But was she motivated, as some accounts have it, by a fatal mining accident the year before that left more than 300 children fatherless? Or did she get the idea from what had taken place in Grafton earlier that year?

The latter, say Graftonites. That's their story, and they're sticking to it.

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