Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, believed the country had a duty to all national mothers to celebrate them for their oftentimes sacrificial support for their love and care. The first known Sunday, a day of rest for God and mothers, began May 10, 1908. Parade’s online site has an article, “What is the history of Mother’s Day”? In 1914, Woodrow Wilson agreed with her and others and passed the bill for “Mother,” to be honored on the 2nd Sunday in May.
How did we celebrate Mother’s Day up to the time I became a mother? When we could, we gathered at my mom’s or aunt’s table, had a picnic sometimes, but we always focused on being together and eating. We gave Grandma, the one who started all this family for my generation, flowers for her rock garden. Her daughters help plant her favorites. The celebration was nothing super fancy, often, potluck, but laughter and happiness accompanied aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins, mothers and fathers, and of course, Grandpa with Grandma, around the table.
Whether we were at the old homestead or the kid’s homes, we came together to celebrate these women’s charitable contributions to their families. Time was set for this day, that special Sunday, and usually right after we attended church we’d either drive for another “over the river and through the woods” event or race home and get the table set for a houseful of company.
The honoring of mothers was not given a special day or set up as a holiday by the government during my novels’ timeframes. Maude’s and Jennie’s mothers in my Minnesota Main Street Women’s series were already dead by the time the days of focused respect came about. So many of my extended family members are out of the area. Getting together with cousins and their children won’t take place since we don’t have our mothers telling us what to do or insisting on TRADITION. I guess that is why we gather at weddings and funerals if we can to celebrate our familiness.
It is now the next generation’s turn, not mine anymore. Lives have become so busy, it is hard to get together period. And last year? Last year was the year of Zoom, phone calls, and lovely cards. We cannot fix that. Yet, our longing to be together was with us for the remaining 364 days. Let’s try to make up for lost time, remember mothers, grandmothers, aunts–all the women in your lives–by giving them a special moment carved out of busy, busy lives. We women have a lot of loving to do yet.
Today, two WCCO news guys, Matt Brinkman and Jason DeRusha, reported from Lake Minnetonka on the segment “Goin’ to the Lake.” They talked a bit about the lake’s beauty, the great food outlets along the shore, and supplied a short history of the area. I was a bit dismayed when they started with Prince–even non-cult followers like me know “Purple Rain.” They gave the audience a Wikipedia-like summary of its early history, mentioning early “settlers.” I know this is history, Minnesota’s history, and I know they don’t have lots of time to say everything on air, so I get it.
Little has been written about Simon or connect him to this site, very few people connect him to brother John Harrington Stevens, and few know he was such a historic character who made so much happen in Minnesota. Without him and others like him, Clearwater might not have been founded. This weekend, Friday, in particular, Clearwater celebrates its heritage, and like days of old, the town sponsors a kiddie parade. After a long postponement, both the kiddie and the grown-up parade are back, where I think it belongs because of the word HERITAGE, downtown Main Street, where the town first began running parallel to the Clearwater and Mississippi Rivers. So here is a brief identification and synopsis of the parade route. Follow the Grand Marshal, Elaine Paumen, and take notice of the town that used to be. (By the way, you can gather more information about the sites in my AROUND CLEARWATER historical.)
Start at the Clearwater Dam area. Where the Rendezvous will be setup is where Clear Water–began. Sawmills, Quinn’s Tasting Room (not a saloon but it old booze),pulp mills, flour mills, and a number of other stores lined the banks of the Clearwater River. Abigail Camp Porter became the first white woman to settle in the village. She came from Stowe, Vermont, and served as the housekeeper for the first townsite hotel–along the banks of the river. BTW, none of this was there anymore even when I was a youngster.
As you come to the top of a slight rise, you’ll come to a newer section of town, as far back as the 1860s or so–Here on Oak Street, after you were dropped off by the ferry on the banks of the Mississippi, you’d most likely find a few buildings to inspect. Hardware stores, watch and jewelry dealers, general mercantile, shoes–you name it, and you could find it here.
Boutwell’s Hardware Store sat on the corner, a few hundred feet from the ferry landing. Upstairs, Maude Porter had her millinery store, as I wrote about in Pins & Needles. Across the street sat Pat Quinn’s Saloon and the Whiting Building–none of these buildings are there anymore.
To the west is the Masonic Temple–still standing– that houses the Masons upstairs, and hosted a variety of different businesses –general mercantile, beer parlors etc. 3. From here, you’ll see a variety of landmarks and areas where some used to be. You’ll go by James Lyon’s house and store. Many of the town originals remember it as the Solinger home –(where it is now all lit up and entertains with yuletide music at Christmas)–
Jessie Maude Porter’s last home sat next to Solingers but that too is gone. She was daughter to T. C. Porter and Abigial Camp Porter, early towns founders. Maude lived to be 103, was born, and lived all but her last year or so in Clearwater.
Kitty-corner is the United Methodist Church on Elm. This was the first church that was formed, but the first church built was the Congregationalist and sits on the hill by the apartment-once-school building.
A building or two down is another hardware store that is now owned by potters. When I was young, we often went here to buy nails, a stash of gifts, and just about everything else. And next to that is now a business office but it was once a bank as well.
Across from here at an angle are an old home and meat market, once owned by Luther Laughton–a name very well-known to the early citizens.
Next to this building on the corner stood the Lyons’ Mercantile. When I was a kid, the post office sat there.
3. I am beginning here with #3 because this building which now houses apartments was the Phillip Drug Store that I write about in Scruples & Dramshttp://www.cynthiafrankstupnik.com/product/scruples-drams-novel-minnesotas-main-street-women/. On the corner of Maple, this historic building has lived many lives. Drug store, Kniss Grocery, and now apartments to say the least. Right next door was –not so historic–Tri-County Lumber. Directly across the street from Phillips’s stood a hotel that burned down and was replaced by another grocery store, and then variety store.
4. Nearly at the Next block–Ash–was what early and old villagers referred to as the Black Smith Hill, named for all the blacksmiths that worked their trade in this area. A large house on the Corner is a large home once owned by the Banker Shaw. It was sold many times and often remodeled. Across the street, mid-block, was the Phillips’s home. Jennie and her father Stanley, as well as the rest of the family, trod back and forth many times a day from home to drug store as I told in Scruples & Drams. Most of the houses that line Main Street are historical, many have been remodeled, and many empty lots still sit waiting to be built on. Clearwater Outfitting can be seen off Pine Street. It is housed in the original creamery building.
5. You’ll find yourself coming to almost the end of your parade route soon once you go under the bridge, which has a historical life all its own. Thomas Porter owned much of the land from her on until you reach the Eagle Trace Golf Club.
Thomas, Abigail, and Maude Porter provided a home across the street for friends and relatives in their large home once it was built in 1871. This large white structure is on your right close to Porter Circle. After Maude moved out in 1910, Frank Kothmann owned it and most of the land.
Finally, you’ll be pulling into Eagle Drive on the left. Here you’ll be entertained even more Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2-3. The Rendezvous will start Saturday and go though Sunday. All the specifics can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/498211524260628/.
Back to Simon Stevens….without his foresight and adventurous spirit, he may not have come to Clearwater. But this beautiful landscape surrounded by water wouldn’t have been unfounded for long. Stevens may not have had a big name written in many history books like his brother, but he took on every job the town gave him, built a large farm, and had a strong family that carried on his name for years to come.
More information can be found in my Around Clearwater.
Thanks to Clearwater Remembers and Monticello Times for a couple of the various pictures provided.
I finally had a knee replacement on May 3. Many of you saw me hobbling around. I’d have good days and bad days, but this winter was the worst. Not only had I needed this surgery for quite a while, but the knee had caused my ankle to degenerate from the reconstruction I had in 2005. This caused my podiatrist to have a brace designed and cast for me to wear to protect my ankle from further issues. My doctors, family, and I took special precautions in order to commit to my recovery–blood thinners due to a previous pulmonary embolism, intensive, in-house rehab physical therapy for 2 weeks 3 times a day, and when I was released to go home, lots of care and more physical therapy 3 times a week with my favorite PT. After 8 weeks of physical therapy, I’m doing great, and better yet, NO BOOT to protect the ankle.
–With REV. MARY MACNICHOLL-–
I am putting the final touches on the powerpoint slide presentation for the first woman to be fully ordained in the Minnesota Methodist Conference in 1958. Most of you know that I earned a grant from the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History to write her story. Little did I know that this woman, Mary MacNicholl, who would be my minister in Clearwater, Minnesota, in the 1960s, had broken through her own ‘glass ceiling’. How did I know back then our church community would be served by such a celebrity? Not sure I or anyone else knew Mary Mac’s impact, but I know I felt honored to be noticed by her when I sang in the choir, attended Methodist Youth Fellowship, enrolled in our short confirmation class (Methodist youth usually have only a six-week education), she came to my graduation party, and when she often stopped to have coffee with my mom. She awoke our consciences, our awareness of the world around us, and our knowledge of our Methodist tradition. Sixty years after her ordination and forty years after her death, I hope to do justice to Mary MacNicholl’s story and service. The essay is ready to be sent to the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History. The new and improved powerpoint will be tested when I speak at Wykoff United Methodist Church. This was one of the three churches Pastor Mary MacNicholl was charged with after she graduated from Drew Seminary in 1949. I will be presenting her story on July 21 during the church service at 8:30, a.m.
–BRINGING THE STORIES OF STRONG MINNESOTA MAIN STREET WOMEN TO MY READERS–
I was busy up to surgery–actually, less than a week before I sold my books at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. Then the hiatus. Now, I am excited and ready to begin my busy time of the year–July through November.
Come see me at the Clearwater dam where I’ll be participating in the Rendezvous. Here where the Clearwater River merges with the Mississippi, the village was first created. In the 1850s, sawmills lined the banks and built the first houses and store buildings. Feed mills, sawmills, stores of all kinds– hardware, general merchandise, jewelry, clothing, shoe, and furniture sat on the banks of the Clearwater or up on Oak Street and Main Streets. These buildings and the people who occupy them are the subjects of my Around Clearwater history and Minnesota Main Street Women series. Each protagonist, Jennie Phillips in Scruples & Drams and Maude Porter in Pins & Needles, a real woman pioneer from Clearwater, made her mark on the community. They both see gender inequalities in the world as far as suffrage, health, education, and legal issues. Their desire to make things right for the women and their families they encounter is a major theme in my series.
If you want to know history, Arcadia Publishing’s Image of America: Around Clearwater is the most up-to-date word on early Clearwater.” Burrowed below bluffs overlooking the Mississippi and Clearwater Rivers, Clearwater’s houses, its churches, and most of its original businesses resemble those that settlers had left behind in the East. With its arch-like trees sheltering Oak and Main Streets, the community remained home to many who lived and died there and those who had moved on only to return for yearly Old Settlers gatherings. This sense of community allowed Clearwater to thrive. Flour and pulp mills lined the shores of the Clearwater River. Mercantile, hardware, jewelry, and drug stores cropped up, providing the products for a growing community. Trade once powered by steamboats on the Mississippi was taken over by James Hills Great Northern Railroad. While the village and surroundings have changed over time, the original charm is still there, ready to be explored again.”
–WITH SOME FINAL THOUGHTS–
Speaking of Clearwater, Minnesota’s heritage that I have been writing about for a number of years, Clearwater’s Heritage Days is coming up August 2-3, with the Rendezvous lasting through Sunday. Along with coronation activities going on before the celebration begins, the parade comes back to downtown Clearwater on Friday night at 7:00 beginning at the Clearwater Dam. What a great move back to come back where the village began by the Clearwater and Mississippi Rivers. The parade route will begin there and end up at Eagle Trace Golf Course.
This length of Main Street will take you by many of the historic sites– past the Boutwell Hardware and Pat Quinn’s Saloon (neither are standing–that I write about in Maude Porter’s story, Pins & Needles. It will take you past the historic United Methodist Church I attended when I was in my youth, and down to the drug store (now an apartment building) I write about in Jennie Phillips’s, the woman druggist) story, Scruples & Drams. Three blocks further you will come to the Thomas Porter home and farm that he built beginning in the 1870s. He was a fur trader, farmer, village treasure and besides serving Wright County, and served in the Minnesota Legislature for a few terms. Your final stop will be at Eagle Trace Golf Club, which was his original land that extends down to the Mississippi River. I had trouble with the golf club’s webpage but this gives you at least the location: 1100 Main St. https://www.yelp.com/biz/eagle-trace-golf-and-event-center-clearwater
Come join us for some fun. I’ll keep up better from now on and let you in on the different spots I’ll be located over the next few months.
This week, Pins & Needleswas wrapped up and sent to the printer. I am so happy with the cover and the story. I have had excellent editors along the way. I hope you enjoy it as well. It is the second in my Minnesota Main Street Women series. My next book will be the prequel. Once you have read Maude Porter’s story in the new novel, you’ll know who the protagonist is in the next story.
For the next couple weeks, I am offering my author’s discount for anyone wanting to place a pre-order with me. From 28.99 down to $20 and 1/2 price shipping (for a total of $22) unless you come to the book launch in mid-October in Clearwater, Minnesota, at the Clearwater United Methodist Church when and where shipping is free. AND this is where I’d love to see you to help launch this new book, have some fun, and eat cake. Unfortunately, I can’t give a positive launch date, but the book is at the publisher/printer.
I heard that there is rain and humidity in the forecast for this weekend’s big events in Clearwater. Clearwater Heritage Days and Clearwater Rendezvous down at the Clearwater Dam, right off Highway 75. Get out of the heat/damp weather for a while and come see and hear me at Clearwater’s Great River Regional
Library on Saturday at 11 until 12. Before and after this, I’ll be at the dam Saturday and Sunday. I’d love to see you. I will be bringing most of my books— to sell and sign. We will have some of our “SUNDRIES” to sell as well–soaps, bathroom sprays, lotions, face creams.
My sister sent the link to me because she was so impressed with the singers of the song. She was so right! I hope you take a few minutes to listen and watch a new spin on John Lennon’s classic because it is for our times–now.
I began this blog Saturday morning, August 19th. I am watching CNN broadcast of the Boston Rallies, hoping and praying for peaceful demonstrations. Every day we turn on the news to view more world dysfunction, a somersault of ideologies, values, and beliefs. (It is Monday, and the rallies in Boston were basically uneventful–at least the 24-hour news networks had little to say about them.)
From my writings, you know I am interested in women’s issues–health, history, welfare, etc. PBS aired 3 hour-long segments about the history of women’s suffrage in Great Britain–Suffragettes Forever! Women in America faced some of the same challenges, but maybe, not so violent. Women could be sold on the auction block like a slave, cow, pig, or horse. One woman was sold as late as 1917 for a pound. Women who voiced opinions were called scolds and husbands might force them to wear a bridle. Usually, the men dragged the women behind them throughout their villages, and sometimes the women were forced to stand in a public square to be publicly ridiculed and even labeled with words like “nag,” or “scold.” For centuries, many people, men and women, believed if a woman thought too deeply on anything she might damage her chances of fertility, thus the belief women shouldn’t be allowed to vote or take public office.
I understand the frustration when someone doesn’t seem to see what I see so clearly. As I keep learning about the suffrage movement in the US as well as other parts of the world, I understand how upset women became when they kept being denied the vote, equal pay for equal work, effective medical treatment for themselves and their children. I appreciate the sacrifices those who were on the front line made for me. Women like Alice Paul in the United States who during a demonstration was arrested, sent to prison, and was force-fed ( a nasty affair when tubes forced down her throat) when she refused to eat. Yes, a number of the women were radicals. It takes radicals to get things done, though. I take so much for granted because sometimes I forget what has been done for me already. I like what the famous presidential author David McCullough has said so eloquently : “You can’t be a full participant in our democracy if you don’t know our history.”
Jennie in Scruples & Drams, and Maude in Needles & Pins do what they do to help women survive. Some may not always understand why they do what they do but this is history. It happened. Women had no one but other women to help them. They had no rights, no medical advice, no maternity help, no fertility information due to the very controversial Comstock laws that were passed. Women were powerless–until they stood together.
How can we distinguish between evil fights and ones that are holy? I love what Maya Angelou said: “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” (SAW THAT ONE ON FACEBOOK AND KNEW I NEEDED IT!)
So let’s keep gathering together for the good stuff (the solar eclipse–even under clouds here in MINNESOTA at about 1 pm today),