Mother’s Day History

May 2017- General Guide, along with the Recorder Newspaper – will be honoring the Oldest Mother who raised her children in Albion during Albion Week – the week after Mother’s Day. We would like more names of any mother who was born before 1927 who raised her children here. We will be writing some of their story, as the family would like to share with us. There is a form here to submit to the Recorder for this special feature. There will be some prizes and special recognition for this mother. We hope to have this an annual event, and to get the story of Albion’s involvement with Mother’s Day out to a wider region also.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FORM OR LOOK IN THE RECORDER – DURING EARLY MAY –


juliette_flat_oval_002Albion’s Mother’s Day Founder, Juliette Calhoun Blakeley is described on a historical marker behind the library.  Few people know that Juliette was also very involved in the underground railroad. Her home was one of the Underground Railroad Stations.

From Frank Passic’s history:

“The original Blakeley home stood on the southeast corner of W. Cass and S. Clinton Sts., the present site of a city parking lot across from the fire station. Mrs. Blakeley allowed her house to serve as one of the local hiding stations for the so-called “Underground Railroad” which transported fugitive slaves to safety in Canada. The entire Blakeley family was involved in the operation out of their home. The family would hide the fugitives in the bottom of their wagon under bags of grain, or covered with ears of corn, and transport them along the predetermined route.

Julia’s son Charles Blakeley (1852-1935) often served as the driver. On one particular mission when he was accompanied by his father, Charles was held up by slave catchers who, in their search for fugitives, poked long sharp sticks through a visible bottom coop-type area covered by grain sacks, located under the wagon. They found no one however, because the slaves were hidden higher up under the main portion of the wagon. The artificial coop had been purposely placed there to distract the slave catchers.”

Used with permission – source: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/030511b.shtml

A group of Michigan Historians is tracing more of the fascinating ethnic history of this region and we hope to publish some of their findings as this site grows.

Mother’s Day in Albion

Juliette Calhoun Blakely
Juliette Calhoun Blakeley

This portrait of Juliette Calhoun Blakeley is in the Gardner House Museum.

On May 13, 1877, the second Sunday of the month, Juliet Calhoun Blakeley stepped into the pulpit of the Methodist-Episcopal Church and completed the sermon for the Reverand Myron Daughterty. According to local legend, Daughterty was distraught because an antitemperance group had forced his son to spend the night in a saloon.

Proud of their mother’s achievement, Charles and Moses Blakeley encouraged other to pay tribute to their mothers. In the 1880’s the Albion Methodist church began celebrating Mother’s Day in Blakeley’s honor.

From Frank Passic’s historical essay:

“The original Blakeley home stood on the southeast corner of W. Cass and S. Clinton Sts., the present site of a city parking lot across from the fire station. Mrs. Blakeley allowed her house to serve as one of the local hiding stations for the so-called “Underground Railroad” which transported fugitive slaves to safety in Canada. The entire Blakeley family was involved in the operation out of their home. The family would hide the fugitives in the bottom of their wagon under bags of grain, or covered with ears of corn, and transport them along the predetermined route.

Julia’s son Charles Blakeley (1852-1935) often served as the driver. On one particular mission when he was accompanied by his father, Charles was held up by slave catchers who, in their search for fugitives, poked long sharp sticks through a visible bottom coop-type area covered by grain sacks, located under the wagon. They found no one however, because the slaves were hidden higher up under the main portion of the wagon. The artificial coop had been purposely placed there to distract the slave catchers.

Years later when Mrs. Blakeley was publicly honored by her church, two local black youth, Wilbur Moore and Claude Thomas, ages three and four respectively, were given the honor of pulling a rope which unfurled a large American flag at the church. This was done in recognition of Mrs. Blakeley’s participation in the Underground Railroad many years earlier.

Unfortunately, the original Blakeley home at 121 W. Cass/103 S. Clinton St. that served as an Underground Railroad stop here was demolished years ago.”

Used with permission.  Source: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/030511b.shtml