SEVERANCE, LOUIS HENRY (1 Aug. 1838-25 June 1913), treasurer of STANDARD OIL (1876-94), began his business career at the Commercial National Bank in Cleveland. Severance was the younger son of Solomon Lewis and Mary Long Severance. He attended the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS. After service in the CIVIL WAR (1863) he returned to his position at the Commercial National Bank. He left the city in 1864 to pursue the oil business, first in Titusville, PA, and later in New York City. Severance resided in Cleveland again from 1874-76 and split his time between New York and his hometown thereafter, serving as church elder and Sunday School Superintendent (1897) of Cleveland's Woodland Avenue Presbyterian Church. He served as president of the Cleveland Presbyterian Union (1893-1903) (see PRESBYTERIAN UNION). Severance also invested in salt, sulphur, and steel. In the 1890s, with HERMAN FRASCH, F. B. Squire, and Frank Rockefeller, he established the Union Sulphur Co. Severance retired in 1894.
Severance was the benefactor of the Severance Hospital and the Severance Medical College in Seoul, Korea. Severance married Fannie Buckingham Benedict (d. 1874) of Norwalk, OH, on 13 August 1862. The couple's children were JOHN LONG SEVERANCE, Elisabeth Severance Allen Prentiss and Anne Belle Severance. In 1894 Severance married Florence Harkness (d. 1895), daughter of STEPHEN V. HARKNESS.