Brown, Edgar William, Jr. (1894–1976)

By: Jeanette Heard Robinson

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: October 3, 2018

Edgar W. Brown, Jr., Orange County banker, shipbuilder, financier, and philanthropist, was a native and lifelong resident of Orange, born on February 10, 1894, to Carrie (Lutcher) and Dr. Edgar William Brown, Sr. He was the grandson of Henry Jacob Lutcher, one of the wealthiest lumbermen in the United States. Brown attended Princeton, but in 1917, in his junior year, his father died, and he returned to Orange to look after his family's business interests. He was married on July 23, 1915, to Gladys Slade, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Slade of Monroe, Louisiana. Four sons were born to them. After Gladys died on September 17, 1959, Brown married Elizabeth Smith Hustmyre of Orange, on November 20, 1960.

He was director and officer of the First National Bank, organizer and chairman of the County National Bank, and chairman of the board of the Orange National Bank. In 1933 he became the principal owner of Levingston Shipbuilding Company, which during World War II built many vessels for the war effort and was awarded the "E" award for outstanding service to the United States Navy. Later Brown acquired the Gulfport Shipbuilding Company in Port Arthur and the Higman Towing Company, which he sold to his son L. Slade Brown in 1969. He was president of the Lutcher-Moore Cypress Lumber Company and vice president of the Dibert, Stark, and Brown Cypress Lumber Company. With his brother, B. Lutcher Brown, and his mother, he organized the Brown Paper Mill Company in Monroe, Louisiana, in 1923 and acquired vast holdings of timber for its supply. In 1959 this property was sold for a substantial fortune to the Olin Corporation. Brown was a founder of the Sabine River Water Shed Association, which later became the Sabine River Authority, and ultimately developed Toledo Bend Reservoir. After World War II he was a founder, with H. J. Lutcher Stark, his cousin, of the Industrial Development Committee, which led to the development of Chemical Row with its many petrochemical plants.

Brown was known in Houston as a director and life member of the Houston Fat Stock Show. The 1974 show and rodeo were dedicated to him in recognition of his years of support. He was named Man of the Year in 1967 by the Variety Club of Houston in recognition of his philanthropies. He served many years in the management of the Bill Williams Charity Capon Dinners in Houston. Among his other philanthropies, he supported the American Red Cross and Salvation Army in Orange and provided new facilities for them. He and Gladys supported and donated funds to the Bancroft School library in their Pinehurst home district, and they founded and supported Girls Haven in Orange. They gave the Slade Chapel to the First Methodist Church of Orange and set up a foundation to provide for its maintenance; they also contributed a parsonage. To the First Presbyterian Church they gave a manse and a protective dome for the church's priceless stained-glass windows. The Browns gave the First Baptist Church of Orange money toward the building of the McCorquodale Education Building and a recreational building. Brown donated a building to the Orange Community Players and funds to assist with many of their productions. In his memory each year the troupe presents a "Mr. Edgar" award to outstanding achievers.

Brown sold his former residence on Green Avenue to the city of Orange for a city hall and left his fine mansion, Lindenwood, and its sixty-two acres on Old Highway 90, in Pinehurst, to the First Methodist Church. When that church was unable to accept it, the estate was given to Lamar University at Orange as an educational center. Edgar Brown died on January 8, 1976, and was buried in the Brown family vault in Evergreen Cemetery, Orange.

Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Vol. 10. Howard Williams, ed., Gateway to Texas: The history of Orange and Orange County (2d ed., Orange, Texas: Heritage House Museum, 1988).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jeanette Heard Robinson, “Brown, Edgar William, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
October 3, 2018