Lutcher, Frances Ann Robinson (1841–1924)

By: Howard C. Williams

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1995

Updated: July 1, 2022

Frances Ann Robinson Lutcher, philanthropist and humanitarian, daughter of David Robinson, was born on October 17, 1841, in Pennsylvania. She married Henry Jacob Lutcher on January 23, 1858. They had two children, Miriam Melissa (see STARK, MIRIAM M. L.), who married William H. Stark, and Carrie Launa, who married Dr. Edgar W. Brown, Sr. The Lutchers moved to Orange, Texas, in 1878. Frances Lutcher was one of Orange's greatest benefactors. She built the First Presbyterian Church in honor of the Lutcher family and dedicated it to Orange on January 28, 1912. This marble structure was reputedly the first structure west of the Mississippi River to have air-conditioning. A Texas Historical Commission marker was placed there in 1978. In 1921 she dedicated the Frances Ann Lutcher Hospital, the first modern hospital in Orange. It had the most up-to-date equipment of the time and also maintained a nurses' training program and a home for student nurses. The hospital was particularly needed for the many workmen injured at the surrounding sawmills and in other lumber-industry accidents. These men had previously been transported long distances by train for treatment. Frences Lutcher became known for having the finest orchid collection in the South. During World War I soldiers in the area called her the "Orchid Lady" because of the orchids that she gave away. She was an ardent traveler and journeyed through the United States and the world up into her eighties. She made her home, however, in Orange from 1877 until her death. She died on October 21, 1924, while on vacation in New York. She was buried in the family mausoleum in Evergreen Cemetery in Orange. Her grandson, Henry Jacob Lutcher Stark, joined the family lumber business and continued his grandmother's philanthropic tradition.

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Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.

  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Women
  • Education
  • Medical Schools and Teaching Hospitals
  • Health and Medicine
  • Hospitals, Clinics, and Medical Centers
  • Religion
  • Presbyterian
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
  • East Texas
  • Upper Gulf Coast

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

Howard C. Williams, “Lutcher, Frances Ann Robinson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022,

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November 1, 1995
July 1, 2022

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