Lutcher, Henry Jacob (1836–1912)

By: Robert Wooster

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 30, 2019

Henry Jacob Lutcher, lumberman and industrialist, the son of Louis and Barbara Lutcher, was born at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on November 4, 1836. His parents had immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1826. By 1857 Lutcher had entered business as a farmer and butcher. On January 23, 1858, he married Frances Ann Robinson. He subsequently entered the lumber trade and by 1865 had become a partner with G. Bedell Moore in the Lutcher and Moore Company. Although Lutcher continued to trade cattle, the rapid depletion of Pennsylvania timber threatened his lumber business. Seeking a new location, he and Moore made a grueling inspection tour of Texas in 1877. Lutcher moved to Orange the following year, and he and Moore invested heavily in the timberlands of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. Their plants at Orange and at Lutcher, Louisiana, were among the nation's largest and helped set off a lumbering bonanza in the region. The Lutcher and Moore plant at Orange also set precedents in the area by paying its workers in cash on a weekly basis after 1900, and by instituting a ten-hour workday in 1901. Lutcher diversified his industrial investments and helped finance the construction of both the Orange and Northwestern and the Gulf, Sabine and Red River railroads. He also lent powerful support to the deepwater movements in Jefferson and Orange counties that culminated in the construction of the Sabine-Neches Waterway. Lutcher was a lifelong Democrat. He died at a Cincinnati sanitarium on October 2, 1912, after a paralytic stroke and was buried in the family mausoleum in Evergreen Cemetery, Orange. His two daughters, Miriam Lutcher Stark and Carrie Lutcher Brown, married into powerful local families and established a Lutcher-Stark-Brown dynasty that dominated area affairs for years to come. The Lutcher family donated the First Presbyterian Church and the Frances Ann Lutcher Hospital to the city of Orange. See also LUMBER INDUSTRY.

Robert S. Maxwell and Robert D. Baker, Sawdust Empire: The Texas Lumber Industry, 1830–1940 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983).

Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas

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

Robert Wooster, “Lutcher, Henry Jacob,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 30, 2019