And Now You Know: Editor Taylor’s Diary tells of Orange events

Published 7:19 am Saturday, May 26, 2018

By Mike Louviere

The editor of the Orange Daily Leader, Hugh K. Taylor, had started making daily diary entries when the New Year 1916, started. The dairy was his observation of events in Orange. Most were about the opening of the Port of Orange. The diary was published in the February 1916 edition of the Southern Industrial and Lumber Review.

Some of his entries were about prosperous events in Orange that had occurred in January: Lutcher and Moore Lumber Company had signed a contract for a new half million dollar mill to be built; there had been incorporation of a realty company in the amount of $25,000 to handle new properties in Orange; a $50,000 trading and development corporation was announced; several Orange merchants had made improvements to their businesses in the Orange retail district, the improvements totaled over $15,000; construction had begun on a 60 foot steel bridge that would cross Little Cypress Bayou; plans had been approved and the contract let for a new city jail, the jail would be a concrete structure. Orange was poised to have a year of prosperity. The biggest event in Orange and one of the most promising was the opening of the Port of Orange.

Taylor’s dairy noted: “Jan. 2 — Four masted schooner Stanley M. Seaman arrived. The Seaman is the first deep water vessel to navigate the Sabine River Channel.

Jan. 3 – Many congratulatory messages were received about the opening of the new port.

Jan 4. – Seaman being loaded at the docks of Lutcher and Moore Lumber Company. The arrival of other boats was announced.

Jan. 5 – Schooner Estelle Krieger arrives greeted by whistle blowing and bomb (fireworks) salutes and a large outpouring of Orange’s population. She then turns in the turning basin opposite the business district. Flanagan and Sons of Port Arthur opened a branch stevedoring office in the Stark Building.

Jan. 6 – Schooner Henry F. Kreger arrives to load timber for Lisbon, Portugal and the M.A. Bellevue to load for Trinidad; the first vessels to report for foreign cargoes.

Jan. 7 – Schooner William E. Downes reports for cargo. President O’Conner of the International Longshoreman’s Association pleased with the local situation. Other vessels begin loading. It is a busy scene in the Orange harbor. Jan. 8 – Schooner Doane arrives. Plans are matured for Board of Trade banquet for ship captains. Jan. 10 – Board of Trade banquet held at the Holland Hotel was great success. Orange gets notice in New York newspapers.

Jan. 11 – Salt water guard locks completed, Depth in channel now 34 feet, 6 inches. Dallas, Galveston, and Houston give Port of Orange much publicity.

Jan. 14 – Schooner Roseway arrives; the seventh seagoing vessel to enter the Port of Orange. Galveston-Dallas News gives prominent mention of Port. Elks Lodge gives banquet for ship captains.

Jan. 17 – M.A. Bellevue puts to sea with the first cargo loaded onto a deep draft ship by the Port of Orange. John R. Adams Company purchases a large grocery and announces they will open a large ship chandlery.

Jan. 23 – Stanley M. Seaman drawing a 20 foot draft passes from Orange to sea without mishap. Captain was pleased with his stay here and expects to return.

Jan. 24 – Purchase of large seagoing tug R.C. Veit by Orange interests is announced. Orange will now be her home port. Beaumont tug Keechie comes to Orange for a haul-out after an unsuccessful attempt to get her repairs done at home: she got them here.

Jan. 25 – “The Port of Orange, Texas”, the Orange Daily Leader’s Edition DeLuxe is issued, the public is gratified—‘a superb product’ is the verdict. The schooner Martha arrives in port.

Jan. 27 – Schooner William E. Downes clears the port with cargo. Schooner Frank W. Benedict is brought into port by Orange’s new tug, R.C. Veit; the first tow under her new ownership.

Jan. 31 –Schooner Henry F. Freger clears port for Lisbon with a cargo of 850,000 feet of sawn timbers.”

As editor Taylor recorded in his diary, the Port of Orange had a busy month and great prospects for an even busier future. As long as the sawmills stayed busy, the port stayed busy, as the output of the mills declined, over time, so did the shipping from the port. In later years, there was some shipping of cargos of rice, then, as the rice declined, so did the port. There are no longer any cargoes shipped from the Port of Orange. The Port of Orange is still in business, but as a port for lay berthing.

“And now you know”