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, NSDAR, 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; and Gertrude A. Larter.

The chapter was named after Patience Lovel Wright, a hero of the American Revolutionary War 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 they needed to do something to support their 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 Revolutionary War. 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.









Photos Courtesy of Chapter Archives 

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

California State Society Daughters of the American Revolution