Chapter History

Organized November 28, 1939, “following a brilliant luncheon gathering in the home of Mrs. Frank D. Hevener,” according to an article in the South Coast News, the Patience Wright Chapter is one of the oldest DAR chapters in Orange County. The list of organizing members include: Stella Ferris Bellows, registrar; Pearl D. Ettinger; Mary R. Sherer, treasurer; Minnie Wetmore Hevener, regent; Grace M. Gill, secretary; Catalina Mason Kinney; L. Sleeth Miller, historian; Bessie D. King; Jessie Benthey Riddell; Edna Lee Rider, vice-regent; Anne G. Larter; Gertrude A. Larter.

The chapter was named after Patience Lovel Wright, a hero of the American Revolution and, appropriately for the artists' colony of Laguna Beach, an American artist who began her career as a sculptor by painting and molding faces out of wax.

Born on Long Island in 1725, she was a woman ahead of her time. At 23, Patience married an elderly Quaker farmer named Joseph Wright and together they had five children; the last, Sarah, was born after her husband's death.

In Colonial times, women did not inherit their husband’s property so she needed to do something to support her young children. With a natural gift for sculpture even without formal training, and at the encouragement of a neighbor, Patience converted her “hobby” of sculpting to her livelihood. She soon developed a reputation for her skill, important at a time when the only likenesses of people were painted or sculpted.

She moved from America to England in 1772, opened a wax museum, and Benjamin Franklin introduced her to London society. Although she was patronized by British royalty and nobility for her wax sculptures, she maintained her Patriot loyalties eventually becoming a spy for the American Revolution. Her messages to America about British war preparations were hidden inside her wax figures.


Portrait in relief of George Washington

 

December 1, 1939 South Coast News
Laguna Women Start D.A.R. Chapter

“Among the best known canvases of Patience Wright was the bust she painted in 1775 of Benjamin Franklin and later, in 1780 she painted what is her most famous work, the bust in relief of George Washington. It was in 1772 that Patience Wright went to England and painted portraits of the King and Queen. Her work, which was and still is held in high esteem was accomplished by means of wax paints in vogue at the time. Patience Wright was one of three artists, two being men, who attained great fame during Revolutionary days.” 

 


In 1966, members of the chapter founded the popular Patriot’s Day Parade in Laguna Beach and we continue to participate every year. The chapter also supports an extensive school awards program and rewards good citizenship and excellence in American history with scholarships for local students. 

Our meetings are held in the Laguna Beach area. Please contact us if you would like to attend a meeting as our guest.

 

 

 

Past Regents:
Mrs. Frank D. Hevener – Organizing Regent 1939-1941 Mrs. William B. Lynn 1976-1978
Mrs. Heil G. Rider 1941-1944 Mrs. Norman P. Thompson 1978-1980
Mrs. William E. Harris 1944-1946 Mrs. John Padach, Jr. 1980-1982
Mrs. Vonne Owings Webb 1946-1948 Miss Laura H. Stone 1982-1984
Mrs. John Holland Kinkaid 1948-1950 Mrs. Gwendolen Smith 1984-1986
Mrs. Thomas B. Kennedy 1950-1952 Ms. Michele Pellissier 1986-1988
Mrs. Phil Phillips 1952-1954 Mrs. Janet Watts 1988-1990
Mrs. Albert B. Jones 1954 Mrs. Walter Burnett 1990-1994
Mrs. Samuel J. Sherer 1954-1956 Dr. Dorothy Perkins Pierson Kerig 1994-1997
Mrs. Harry D. Neely 1956-1958 Ms. Michele Pellissier 1997-2000
Mrs. Leo Frank Foster 1958-1962 Mrs. Ethel Belle Stroupe, C.S.W. 2000
Mrs. Edgar Axtell 1962-1964 Dorothy Perkins Pierson Kerig, Ph.D. 2000-2004
Mrs. Charles D. Test 1964-1966 Lee Kucera, Ph.D. 2004-2008
Mrs. Albin Wethe 1966-1968 Jennifer Kucera 2008-2010
Mrs. Erwin B. Marks 1968-1970 Dorothy Perkins Pierson Kerig, Ph.D. 2010-2012
Mrs. Lowry H. Gallinger 1970-1972 Gloria Padach   2012-2013
Mrs. Harold B. Willats 1972-1974 Sharyn Li Downend  2013-2014
Mrs. Beatrice L. Crist 1974-1976 Stephanie Cox   2014-2015