A "Father's Day" service was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church. Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her father when, on December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monongah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children. Clayton suggested her pastor Robert Thomas Webb to honor all those fathers. Clayton chose the Sunday nearest to the birthday of her father, Methodist minister Fletcher Golden.|
Clayton's event did not have repercussions outside of Fairmont for several reasons, among them: the city was overwhelmed by other events, the celebration was never promoted outside of the town itself and no proclamation was made in 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 didn't even think of promoting the event, and it wasn't celebrated again for many years. The original sermon was not reproduced in press and it was lost. Finally, Clayton was a quiet person, who never promoted the event or even talked to other persons about it.
Clayton also might have been inspired by Anna Jarvis' crusade to establish Mother's Day; two months prior, Jarvis had held a celebration for her dead mother in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles (24 km) away from Fairmont.
In 1911 Jane Addams proposed a city-wide Father's Day in Chicago, but she was turned down.
In 1912 there was a Father's Day celebration in Vancouver, Washington, suggested by methodist pastor J. J. Berringer of the Irvingtom methodist Church. They believed mistakenly that they had been the first to celebrate such a day. They followed a 1911 suggestion by the Portland Oregonian.
Harry C. Meek, member of Lions Clubs International who helped to promote the holiday, claimed that he had first the idea for Father's Day in 1915. He claims that the third Sunday of June was chosen because it was his birthday (it would have been more natural to choose his father's birthday). The Lions Club has named him "Originator of Father's Day"