Chapter History

Martin Severance Chapter (State number 31) was organized under Mrs. Edmund D. Barry (Adeline Belle Fitzgerald Barry) on June 13, 1914. Mrs. Barry was descended from patriot Martin Severance, Sr., hence the chapter name. Mrs. Barry served as Organizing Regent from 1914 to 1918.

Martin Severance descended from John Severance of Ipswich, England, who came to Massachusetts Colony about 1630 as a freeman. His name first appears in the list of landowners in the first division of land for the town of Salisbury, in 1639-1640. In 1640, he was listed as a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. John’s descendants continued the tradition of fighting to defend their homes and towns. Martin was a fervent Indian fighter, serving during the French and Indian Wars. Archives in Massachusetts contain a receipt for mileage of 112 miles signed by Martin Severance dated September 22, 1777. Martin is listed as a member of the militia from September 22, 1777 to October 23, 1777, then as a Sergeant from July 1, 1778 to October 31, 1778.

 The Martin Severance Chapter has been active in Pasadena and the surrounding communities for over a century. Chapter members have assisted the Red Cross during the World Wars, participated in annual Armistice Day/Flag Day celebrations, as well as in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade on several occasions. Past Regent Miss Harriet Sterling portrayed Lady Liberty as queen of the parade in 1928. Currently, the chapter is a Commemorative Partner for the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Members continue to focus attention on the goals of patriotism, education and historic preservation portraying 18th century women patriots through period costumes and sharing their lives with students and organizations; awarding educational mini-grants to worthy teachers in the Pasadena Unified School District; presenting American History, Good Citizen and ROTC medals and scholarships to deserving students; commending individuals or groups with Historic Preservation Recognition Awards; and celebrating patriotic events such as Constitution Week, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Fourth of July.