Stark House features Orange during WWI

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

An exhibit at The W.H. Stark House entitled The World War I Home Front: Orange Goes Over the Top tells the story of how the Starks and the local community worked in home front efforts during World War I. This special Tower Room exhibit, the last stop on a regular tour, offers a glimpse into local life at a unique and historic moment. This exhibit will be on view until Saturday, July 14, 2018.

The exhibit space is divided into seven sections covering specific themes: Introduction, Red Cross, The Orchid Lady (Frances Ann Lutcher), Industry, Soldiers, and Belgian Relief.

Interactive spaces include the Turret area with a sound board that will play songs popular during the war and in the center of the room guests can see a large map and can stick blue and gold stars down where family members have served or given their lives in military service.

The impact across America at entering War World I was felt everywhere including the small town of Orange. While the Starks helped found the Orange Chapter of the American Red Cross, several household staff members helped support the organization including their gardener packing boxes of bed sheets and other supplies for the servicemen.

The exhibit explores how the Starks and the town of Orange supported war time activities. Almost everyone in Orange, from the Starks to their relatives, servants, and employees played an active role.

Miriam’s mother, Frances Lutcher knitted socks for the Red Cross and was known as “The Orchid Lady” as she gave troops passing through Orange an orchid to help lift their spirits.

The 20th Engineer Regiment, formed in 1917, was one of the largest in the army. The job of the men was not to be engineers but lumbermen needed to produce lumber for the war efforts. At least 29 soldiers in the regime were from Orange, including Sam Holland, the son of the last cook for the Starks. Sam also did some yard work for the family.

The need for workers was so great, a letter from N.A. Smith of the US Labor Department was published in The Orange Daily Leader on October 18, 1918:

“The Lutcher –Moore and Miller-Link Lumber Co. of Orange, Texas, are having great difficulty in getting labor necessary to meet their contracts with the Emergency Fleet Corporation.

You will therefore take whatever measures you deem necessary to supply this labor. If it is necessary draw from every industry in Orange and vicinity except the railroad, Express Co. and shipyards. It is imperative that this is done and if resistance is met with, the most drastic measures are to be applied.”

Also on display are the memorabilia items soldiers kept as a reminder of their time abroad such as patches, photos and letters. The David family loaned the exhibit items passed down from Lt. Eugene Dullahan.

A map of the world is on display in the Tower Room which encourages visitors to place stars of family members or friends who served or serving in the military.

“The interaction between visitors has been amazing,” Site Manager/Curator of The W.H. Stark House, Jeff Harris, said. “We had two here who both had a family member who served in the Philippines and hearing them trade stories was amazing.”

As with all wars, some of those serving did not return home.

Orange soldiers killed in action are:

  • Eddie Baker – October 9, 19189
  • Isaac Smith – October 8. 1918
  • Abel Clarke – September 12. 1918
  • Rudolph Lambert – September 12. 1918
  • Hamilton Smith – November 2, 1918
  • Llyod Grubbs – October 2, 1918

W.H. Stark House The World War I Home Front: Orange Goes Over the Top exhibit gives a unique glimpse into the past and how the war effected the entire community.

Free Admission for Stark Cultural Venues Members. Adults  (age: 18-64)   $6.00 Senior (age: 65 and up)  $5.00 Student  (w/current I.D.)  $5.00 Youth (age: 10 to 17)  $5.00 Admission is limited to individuals 10 years and older. Stairs are an essential part of the tour. Please note: Bags, purses, and backpacks of all sizes must be checked into one of the lockers provided in the Carriage House prior to starting a Tour. In addition to visiting the Stark House, visitors are encouraged to visit the Stark Museum of Art, a sister program of the Stark House, as part of their visit to downtown Orange.

The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation honors active duty military and their families by providing free admission to them at The W.H. Stark House and its partners, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center and the Stark Museum of Art, throughout the year. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, The W.H. Stark House and its partners participate in the Blue Star Program, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,800 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families, according to its official website.

Below is a list of the Orange soldiers that served in the 20th Regiment during WWI.

Roy Bellair

Edmon Berry

  • Alonzo Butler

Oliver Byrd

Gus Deron

  • Hubert Edwards

William Edwards

Alvie Frederick

  • Earl Fuller
  • John Hebert

Fred Holden

Sam Holland

Richard Holloway

Jessie Jenkins

McKinley Johnson

Fabius Jones

Walter Kancler

Wyatt King

Lon Livsey

George Louis

James Mattox

Peter Mitchell

John Perkins

  • Dail Phillips
  • Douglas Pruter

Charlie Samuel

Walter Singleton

Mose Winters

Eli Wolford


  • Lutcher & Moore Lumber Company Employees


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