Payette's Portia Club
By Mrs. D.C. Chase

Brief History of the "Portia Club"

In the month of October, the year 1895, Mrs. B.P. Shawhan invited Mrs. Douglas Ross, Mrs. Major Burns, Mrs. D.C. Chase, Mrs. J.H. Shawhan and her two daughters, Gertrude and Bess and Mrs. Pickering and her daughter, to meet with her for a social cup of tea.

After visiting for an hour or two, Miss Gertrude Shawhan suggested our calling the little party a club and make it "sound big." To this we agreed.

The next thing in order was a suitable name for our club. Mrs. Burns laughingly said, "Why not name it after that very wise woman in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice"-"Portia"? So it was unanimously decided to call it the "Portia Club" and Mrs. B.P. Shawhan was elected our president and critic. We would read and discuss books and follow the line of self-improvement. After a few meetings others wished to join the club. The first being; Mrs. Henry Irwin, Mrs. McGlinchy, Mrs. A.B. Moss, Mrs. G.W. Williams and Miss Adams.

We met in different homes for over a year, by that time the Shawhans and Burns's found it necessary to move to New Plymouth and this left the club very much crippled until Mrs. McGlincy came to our rescue and to her and her associates the credit if due for its being Federated with the District in 1903; State in 1906 and General Federation in 1912.

The Club, now this 29th day of 1927, has a membership of 124 good loyal members. Women who feel proud to be able to do their bit towards and the erection of our Portia Club house, which is under construction.

In the years to come to those who fall heir to this Portia Club history I send greeting and wish you every good fortune.

Mrs. D.C. Chase

Learn more about the Portia Club and the Portia Club restoration project on their website at

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