Buckner Orphans' Home, Dallas County, Texas
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Buckner Orphanage Residents: individual photos, circa 1900
Buckner Orphans @ State Fair of Texas photo, circa 1900

(Updated June 13, 2004)



Contributions Received From
the Knights of Pythias.


     The following contributions to the travelers' well for the Buckner orphans' home have been received in reply to the circular letter issued by Dallas lodge No. 70 K. of P.; Lone Star lodge of Weatherford, No. 4, $10; Bois d'Arc of Bonham, No. 41, $10; Sulphur City of Lampasas, No. 52, $5; Resolute of Trinity, No. 176, $10; total $35.
     The wagon to receive contributions for the orphans started at 10 o'clock this morning and all are expected to have their packages ready. Mr. Ed C. Smith furnished a wagon free of charge.

- December 24, 1892, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 6.
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The Dallas Ladies Invade the
Precincts of That Noble

     The misty weather of last Saturday morning did not daunt the spirits of a merry company of people who boarded the train for Buckner's Orphan Home bent on giving the children a taste of Christmas cheer.
     Numerous obstacles beset their pathway, the worst, perhaps, being the sturdy resistance shown by the "black waxy," but the little party at last arrived at the Home.
     The wagon containing gifts for the children had not arrived, and there seemed to be a good deal of doubt as to the probability of its getting through, but at last, it was descried coming at a snail's pace up the lane. If wonder was expressed at the slowness of the driver's progress, it was changed to praise for his perseverance and heroic efforts, the panting horses having struggled on through almost impassable roads, being obliged to stop every few steps to rest and recover breath.
     However, at the chapel door, the things were unloaded at last, and soon, busy hands transformed the platform into a veritable Santa Claus den, piled up with boxes, baskets, toys, wagons, dolls, candy, bananas, oranges, etc. Then, the big bell pealed forth the welcome announcement that all was ready. Presently, they appeared, and tears arose unbidden to many yes at the sigh to the wee motherless babies from the nursery as they toddle in, twenty-one in all. Then, the next in size, and so, on came the clean aproned procession, marching with folded arms and expectant faces.
     How it warmed all hearts to hear the little hands clapped and the bright faces break into smiles when they beheld the treat in store for them. All took places in perfect order, and then filed up to have their outstretched arms filled to overflowing. Each was bountifully remembered, and still there was plenty, and to spare, enough fruit being left for desert for their turkey dinner next day.
     The afternoon ended very pleasantly with an impromptu program, to which the orphans contributed the larger share very creditably. Good-byes were said, and the pleasant day passed into a sweet and helpful memory to all.
     The committee wish to extend thanks to Mr. H. S. Brewer, of the Texas Furniture and Storage company, for so generously providing the team and driver, whose triumph over difficulties made possible the day's success; to Garlington & Co., for candy; A. DeStefano for fruit; the Arcade for caps and shirtwaists; and the ladies of the establishment for purse; A. Harris, dry goods, and all others contributed money, clothes, toys, etc., that added, in no small measure, to the happiness of the orphan's Christmas entertainment.

- December 30, 1892, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 3.
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Added February 1, 2004:

     Dr. Buckner indignantly denies the story of ill-treatment given to the press by two runaways. The lads, he says, violated the rules of the Home and ran away before they could be whipped.

- June 14, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3, col. 4.
- o o o -


Generous Contributions Reported -- The
Artesian Well.

     Col. H. C. Stephenson said to a TIMES HERALD reporter:
     The Buckner orphans return thanks for contributions as follows: J. W. Taylor, Grand avenue, a bundle of clothing; Dallas tinware manufacturing company, a box of tinware; Huey & Philp, a grinding stone, six large dishes, fifty tablespoons, four soup ladles, four perforated soup ladles, three large coffee pots, four stew pans, three meal sieves, twelve scrubbing brushes, twenty-four syrup pitchers, eight sadiron[s], a large tub for the hospital; Harry Bros., a carving knife and steel, fifty tumblers, a large hanging lamp; Doolittle, Simpson & Roberts, eight waiters, six cook spoons, 3 teapots, 6 iron water bucks [buckets?], 1 galvanized iron tub, 6 dozen pepper and t dozen salt cellars, Sanger Bros., 300 yards of cloth, 6 gross buttons, 6 gross of thread; Fakes & Col., 6 rocking chairs; James Wilkerson, 6 receipt books; Mrs. N. W. Vaughan, a bundle of children's clothing.
     The well is down to a depth of 1192 feet, with the auger going through a hard rock at the rate of about a foot a day. It is strongly hoped that water will be struck at 1202 feet, the depth estimated by Prof. Cummings, assistant state geologist. We have money enough in hand to go that depth, the cost being $3300.

- August 4, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 3.
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Col. H. C. Stevenson Requests Thanks Be

     Col. H. C. Stevenson requests us to return thanks to Mrs. Walter Caruth for ten suits of boys' clothing; to an unknown lady for one bundle childrens' suits; to the Dallas Stamping mills for six galvanizing iron tubs, and to the Enterprise manufacturing company of Philadelphia for a hotel size coffee mill worth $30 or $40. The ladies of Oak Cliff have organized the Buckner Orphan's Home sewing society with 25 members. They have already made and forwarded through Col. Stevenson, twenty or thirty suits and will make up one-hundred more. These orphans only ask for "the crumbs which fall from the table" That is, the hats and caps and the clothing which our children have outgrown, and will never be used again, will be gratefully received by those too tender to work for themselves and who never get anything save from the hand of charity. Thanks to the generosity of Messrs. Hughey & Philp, to Doolittle, Simpson and Robinson of the Arcade, to the Mahana Hardware company, to Walker's china hall, to Harry Bros., and the Moroney Hardware company, the Dallas tinware company and T. J. Oliver, the table, kitchen and dining-room have been abundantly supplied with all necessary wares. For the first time, owing to the solicitations of Col. Stevenson and the noble generosity of the gentlemen who own these establishments, the 275 orphans sat down at their tables last Sunday and everyone had a plate, a cup, knife, fork and spoon. The sight was a cheerful one indeed. And, what a change from this yesterday! It may be that the spirits of the mother's of these children were with them in their glee.
     In the hospital, the sick had easy chairs sent them by Fakes & Co.
     It is suggested that if framed pictures be drawn attics and sent them to hang upon their walls, it would cheer them-those we have grown tired of and taken down. Anything useful or ornamental will be promptly forwarded if left at 305 Main street, next door east of the Cockrell building.

- August 12, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 3
- o o o -


At Buckner's Orphan Home -- Dr. Buck-
ner Talks.

     Said Dr. r. C. Buckner yesterday: "Referring to the resignation of the orphans' artesian well committee and the statement in the TIMES HERALD to the effect, that the committee had turned the well over to me, as general manager of the orphanage, I wish to make a few statements. The patience and perseverance of the committee has been remarkable, and I wish to express personally, and in behalf of the orphans, sincere gratitude to them and my testimony to the fact that they have been generous and faithful. I wish, also, to make grateful acknowledgment to the commercial travelers who inaugurated the well movement and contributed liberally to the work; to the Knights of Pythias who so nobly seconded their efforts and generously contributed to the fund, and to all others who made donations. After a few days, I desire to publish a statement of particulars. Tom complete the last 100 feet of the 1200, and to put larger casings below the first 600 feet, so as to make it easier to go to a greater depth, I have resumed over $500, and have paid nearly $150 of the amount. I feel that I cannot, at best, do more than pay the balance of this amount. The auger should not stop, but there is not a dollar in sight to go further."

- August 22, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3, col. 2-3.
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Added January 27, 2004:
Orphans Home.

     Dr. R. C. Buckner asks the TIMES HERALD to express his admiration of the progress being made by the machinery men and plumbers in preparations for placing water service pipe, steam heating, etc., in the buildings at the orphanage, and hearty gratitude to them and others for marked liberality. He states, also, that the proposition to make a natatorium for the orphans is off for the present, and suggests that all who were disposed to aid in that matter are respectfully requested to consider the fact that help is needed and would be gratefully acknowledged in the efforts of the machinery men and plumbers.

- September 28, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 2.
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More of Them are Needed in Aid of The

     Dr. Buckner requests the TIMES HERALD to call attention to the fact, that by deeds to land in various parts of Texas, bequests, life insurance in its interest and by notes of hand, an endowment of about $20,000 has been secured to the orphanage, but that nothing of that kind is yet yielding anything for its present support. This important matter has not been forgotten in the midst of the persistent efforts that have been requisite in providing suitable permanent buildings and supporting the great and increasing family of dependent orphans. He keeps on hand, forms of endorsement notes, deeds, bequests, etc., and would like an interview with persons feeling inclined to help endow the Home.

- October 2, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 8, col. 2.
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Information Desired on the Real Status of
The Orphan's Home.

Editor Times Herald.
ALLAS, Texas., Oct. 3. -- Apropos of Dr. Buckner's appeal for the Orphan's Home, will you oblige myself and others of your subscribers, by giving through the columns of your newspaper, the following information concerning the home:
     Is it a chartered institution?
     Is the property, and are contributions made to Dr. Buckner, his property, in fact, or, the property of the orphans; that is to say, would -- in the event of Dr. Buckner's death -- the property go to his heirs or the orphans?
     Is there a board of trustees who disburse contributions, and to what extent is the labor of the inmates utilized?
     Is there any provision, in the event of the doctor's death, for this most commendable work being continued by other persons?
     We all wish the doctor and his noble work success, and I feel convinced, that if the general public were informed on points herein stated, more liberal donations would be made. R. L. W
     Dr. Buckner will, doubtless, be pleased to furnish the T
IMES HERALD correspondent with the information desired.

- October 4, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 3.
- o o o -


Lively Interest of the Charitably Dis-
posed in the Institution.

     Mr. Philip Sanger has donated to Buckner Orphan's Home, enough material to make full wool suits for all the boys in the institution and sufficient goods to make dresses for all the girls, upon condition that the ladies of the city volunteer their services to do the cutting, fitting and needle work. To date, the following ladies in Dallas have sent their names to Col. H. C. Stevenson and signified a willingness to make some of the garments: Mesdames M. A. Abel, C. L. Marten, M. E. Wright, J. B. Nabors, C. M. Bolles, S. A. Harman, J. W. Whiten, Jack Freland, W. W. Palmer, Alice G. Merchant, C. W. Taylor, J. W. Rogers, Miss Kate Schwing, Miss Bessie Best.
     At Oak Cliff, an Orphan's Home sewing society has been organized, with Mrs. F. L. Lyons president, Mrs. W. A. Edrington, treasurer and Miss Belle Haynes secretary. The membership is thirty. The society has already made 200 garments, and has thirty suits in hand.

- October 11, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 8, col. 2.
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We could never have loved the earth
    so well
If we had had no children in it.
                                  -- George Eliot.

     Among the many popular fallacies that Charles Lamb should have consigned to the "rag bag of oblivion," yet which he inadvertently overlooked, is the fine old saying, "comparisons are odious." On the contrary, a well applied comparison often creates a feeling of contentment, a kind of exultant consciousness of the improvement of modern conditions upon the picturesque, yet extreme discomfort of many of the ways and means of the past.
     We all remember the darkness and cold, amid which Nicholas Nickleby made his famous ride of "200 and odd miles in severe weather" upon the top of a stage coach, for the ultimate purpose of becoming a part of the internal economy of that delectable institution, Dotheboy's Hall.
     It was upon that memorable occasion that the small boy, under convoy of Mr. Squeers to the Yorkshire orphanage, succumbed to an unreasonable demand of nature and took the liberty of sneezing:
     "Halloo, sir!" growled the schoolmaster, turning around.
"What's that, sir?"
     "Nothing, please sir," replied the little boy.
     "Nothing, sir!" exclaimed Mr. Squeers.
     "Please, sir, I sneezed," rejoined the boy, trembling till the little trunk shook under him.
     "Oh, sneezed, did you?" retorted Mr. Squeers, "Then what did you say 'nothing' for, sir?"


     There was no snow or wind, no trembling small boy on an equally small trunk to emphasize our approach to an orphanage, and the modern conditions were as different, geographically, as ethically, from those of the mother country under the old philanthropic regime.
     After leaving the city, the road to Buckner Orphan's home lies through an open country, the monotony occasionally broken by an old mill and several frame houses sprinkled over the landscape, while in a certain hollow between the hills, well known to angling youth, White Rock creek meanders, its lack of energy in harmony with the long-horned aborigines grazing along the banks. The sign of the holy advent time was suggested in the mistletoe clinging to the pecan trees and bois d'arc hedges, and all things were utterly unlike our old friend's drive into Yorkshire.
     This home for the orphans of our state, emigrated from Dallas in 1880, to a plateau about eight miles east and 125 feet above this city. The dedication services were held in the one-room, cedar-log house, that, in itself, is a part of historic Dallas. This primitive cabin was the first house built where this city now stands, and was, at that time, the only human tenement within a hundred miles, except a temporary shelter built on the bank of the Trinity. This home was, for some time, used as the first Dallas postoffice, and was afterwards removed to the tract of land where it now stands as a memorial cottage upon the Orphan's Home ground.
     This home, that has served as a shelter for more than a thousand orphans, is rapidly developing into a large industrial school, that will give to its youthful inmates, a practical training, and furnish the weapons in the future conflict for existence. The broom factory, carpenter shop, printing office, shoe and harness shop and farm, each will afford an opening in the industrial world for the boys, while the large field of domestic work, sewing, typewriting and other feminine employment will give to each girl, a valuable practical experience.


     Upon the bright winter's day, of which we write, the outposts were in possession of several stragglers from the regular army, who were, however, doing their best to join the rank and file in response to the insinuating notes of an immense dinner bell, expressively manipulated by a small girl with hair the shad that titian loved, small bright eyes, a long blue dress and energy sufficient for a driving wheel. This diurnal announcement was made from the porch of the old building, separated from its new and commodious neighbor by a plat of moist black earth of rather an adhesive quality, owing to the preparations for grading and the effects of the overflowing tank of the new well.
     The new building is imposing in proportion, its height being such that from an observatory can be seen fourteen towns. Although this structure represents an immense amount of effort on the parts of the general manager and the many friends of the fatherless, it is still in an incomplete stage, where all of the accessories that contribute to comfort are yet to come. The entrances that are to be attained by iron stairs are, at present, supplied by the most sketchy substitutes of wood, but the kind providence that always tempers conditions to the helpless, enables the smallest child to reach the top with the success and agility of a professional acrobat. The children came in single file up one series of breakneck temporaries and down another to the goal of goals, the dining hall, at the door of which, they were met by the strains from the organ, the march practically becoming a quickstep, as each small person was met by the odor coming from the kitchen beyond. The genial father of all these fatherless stood on the platform at the side of the organist, and as the children had sung with enthusiasm, the encouraging little song, "Scatter Sunshine," Dr. Buckner addressed them in a few appropriate words, which were followed by the noise of many feet and the entire home was seated at dinner. The refectory is 130 feet long and has eight tables stretching their immense lengths in companionable couples down the center.


     The dinner hour affords an excellent opportunity for studying the children; it is then that the unit can be separated form the aggregate. One instinctively feels that among 300 children, there are elements of all possibilities. The "mute inglorious Milton" may lie sleeping in the little fellow whose large brown eyes seriously contemplate the huge plate of bread; that the baby in the high chair complacently eating his democratic bread and molasses, and unconscious of the conditions that have placed him beyond the autocratic treacle of Squeers, may become a national senator. One also feels that there is at least a round dozen of the noble nobodies who will lead the vanguards and forlorn hopes in the conflicts of the future. They all seemed blissfully unconscious of these future possibilities, yet it saddened one to think of the doubt and risk attendant upon the inevitable struggle, and which will wield the greater power, heredity or environment?
     "Amelia, what is the matter?" asked the doctor of a baby girl, whose dark hair emphasized the many light ones around her. She suspended weeping for a few moments, took her small fists out of her eyes and indignantly corrected with all the pride of a trans-Rio Grandean and the Mexican accent, "Amaylee."
     The children often have special feast days, when the potato pie might have received its proportions from the giant's kitchen, and the surprise of a glorious turkey dinner has left the young folks as Dickens expressed it, "steeped in sage and onions to the eyebrows."


     There are two divisions into which the children are organized for work and play, one half is given the morning for their duties, and the other, the afternoon. There is a regular graded school with experienced teachers, attached to the institution and not the least interesting feature of the home is the little Kindergarten class. At one end of the long room, a semi-circle of small children stood, their eager little voices responding to the music and their little hands as swift to catch the movements of the object lessons as the most attentively cared for darlings of fortune. Among these very small people was Miss Artesia Drummer, the young lady who came nameless to the home, on the day the drummers' artesian well was begun and the fact became sponsor to the baby. The little sentiment about birthdays is regarded, giving the touch of home love to the hearts of the homeless. If the child's anniversary is unknown, a birthday is immediately conferred and observed as often as possible.


     A spot that appeals in its pathos to all is the infirmary, a small building set apart for hospital purposes. At present, the number of inmates is very limited, "la grippe" having grasped several small girls and holds them fast within the white walls. It is in the infirmary that "Master Carlos" holds sway, his infant highness still addicted to the bottle and his influence as autocratic as any happy baby with the natural attendant slaves of mother and father.
     The infirmary has its own grounds, a special garden, that will be set apart for fruits and flowers, and at the back door, a motherly little hen, surrounded by her family, already comfortably scratches for the worm that she does not have to use the poetic suggestion to arise early in order to obtain. There is also a special little chicken house within this enclosure that suggests the genuineness of "new laid eggs," and an equally exclusive cow indicated a liberal supply of milk for the invalids. The home has a vegetable garden of five acres, with a peach orchard of equally respectable dimensions, the thought of which, makes one cry, "Would I were a boy again." The state horticultural society proposes to set out twenty-five acres in fruits, the future abundance of which, will no doubt, eradicate from the breast of many a boy, the old orthodox longing for a nocturnal raid.


     After a full inspection of the entire establishment, not forgetting the office, where the ranks of the home has already supplied a pretty typewriter, we drove away with mighty visions of supply and demand dancing through our head, notably the 18 barrels of bread required for a week; the 85 pounds of flour and 3 bushels of potatoes that had to be gathered together in order to satisfy the requirements of one meal.
     The day being a holiday, we found the road fringed by a series of small boys, each group seeming an especial "find" of our own, but down among the pecan trees, they grew so numerous that we could not resist accrediting to the home, every little fellow within six miles of the institution.


     Away to the south, across the Trinity, at Oak Cliff, is another shelter for the fatherless, the St. Mary's orphanage of the Catholic church, under care of the sisters of mercy. This institution, although yet in its infancy and still has many important needs, is as thoroughly organized, as scrupulously attended to domestically, and as methodical in its life as all institutions of this denomination. The children here are all young and have the quiet demeanor that forbids one giving away to the natural impulse of saying "hallo" to the boys, or getting on familar terms with the dignified little girls. They were gathered around their teacher and friend, and seemed as quietly happy as children kept carefully in the home life usually are. The dormitories are pictures of neatness, and at the foot of each little white bed stands a small red chair, that leaves upon one, the impression of their methodical system. The children all gathered together, complimented the occasion with a Christmas hymn in Latin, the refrain, "Gloria in Excelsis, Deo," was swelled by the baby voice of a little girl who had reached the mature age of fifteen months. It is here that Santa Claus will find a tree with good things on the 28th, as also our little friends at the Buckner home will keep the feast with many things that children like best, and that might be supplemented by some thoughtful friend with a sufficient quantity of sugar to supply an ever-to-be remembered candy pulling.


     From time immemorial, the word "home" has held a peculiar place in the hearts of all men, and there are none so converted to the nomad idea of civilization, but who, in theory, at least, finds it symbolical of his deepest feelings, the exponent of his idea of what should be best and truest. To nearly all, the idea of home has the suggestiveness of all happy and dear possibilities, and phonetically, it has a certain charm to which we listen, as Leigh Hunt would say, "as if our soul had taken off its hat."

- December 28, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 1-4.
- o o o -

The "Home" Stretch.

     I have committed myself to the completion, by April 1, of the orphans' brick house, but it will costs $4,000. The following donations have been made since the announcement:
     Gen. S. B. Maxey, G. J. Eppright, W. J. Cline and Col. W. L. Williams, $25 each; Bogel A. Harris, $10; J. S. Armstrong, $100. Others will yet respond, and acknowledgments will be made.
     Towards furnishing the building, we desire soon as possible, to purchase 150 iron beds with woven wire mattresses, at a cost of $10 each; memorial beds with brass knobs and name of donor or other name engraved, $12. For this purpose, the following has been received to date: Luke Dotson, Miss Nardie Frazier, ----- ------ of Waco, $10 each. For memorial beds, Mr. Lar Lu Alexander, Edward Garlick and Maria Goodwin; "Halbert," Ladies' Aid Society of Longview, Smith & Davis of St. Louis, and W. J. Cline, $12 each.
     The names of little children whom death has claimed will be inscribed on several of the memorial beds.
                                                               R. C. B
                       Orphans' Home Station, Dallas Co., Tex.

- February 26, 1894, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 3.
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A Little Girl Who Knew What to Do
When Dr. Buckner Failed to Meet.

     Lady Bessie Watkins, aged eight years, applied to the police last night for protection until this morning. She said she came from fifteen miles below Rosenberg to go to Dr. Buckner's Orphans' Home, but the train was several hours late and the doctor did not meet her at the depot.
     She carried her worldly possessions in a little bundle, and seemed to have self-possession and plenty of common sense.

- August 1, 1894, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 4.
- o o o -

Added April 12, 2004:



Buckner Orphans' Home Has the Measles,
Is Under Quarantine, but a Cheerful
Spirit Hovers Over It -- A Few
Delicacies are Desired.

To the Times Herald:
     As the generous public seems to be glad to hear of the condition of affairs at the Buckner Orphans' Home, I beg to state that things are moving on nicely, notwithstanding, we feel very severely, the stringency of the times. We have, however, just now quite an epidemic of measles, about sixty cases, and many others who will probably be in bed by the time this notice comes before the public. Everything is favorable, except the weather. We are, for the present, supplied with nurses and a good physician on the premises, day and night.. The Home is still under quarantine and probably will be until April 1, fearing the introduction of smallpox. Dallas has always been good to the 'Home,' and I am sure that we have always been appreciated. Anything the generous citizens may feel disposed to contribute, especially during the epidemic, will be helpful. Contributions of oranges, lemons, ice and other articles, good for the sick, would certainly be altogether timely, and if delivered at the freight office of the Texas & Pacific depot by 4 o'clock in the afternoon, would be delivered at our platform by the local freight at 10 o'clock the next morning.
                                                                      R. C. B

- March 16, 1895, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 3.
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To the Times Herald:
     The 27th day of September will be the fifteenth anniversary of the dedication of the Buckner Orphans Home, and it would be exceedingly pleasant to have a visit on that occasion from as many of the friends of the institution as can make it convenient to attend. The reception would extend from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m., giving seven hours for inspection and such programme of entertainment as might be arranged. If there should be a gathering, everything possible would be done to make it pleasant for visitors, and to give them a more thorough knowledge of the great institution in all its parts, plans and practical work. It is believed that special excursion rates could be obtained from the railroads. If a reasonable number will notify us of their purpose to be present, the anniversary will be announced definitely; a programme will be arranged and efforts made to secure the best rates over the roads possible. The rallying point will be the city of Dallas, and then a special train out to the institution and back. Who will undertake to come? Please answer as soon as possible and state the road or roads over which you would reach Dallas.
     Remember that the celebration will not take place unless definitely announced, and that the announcement will not be made unless a large number of persons write that they will come if the announcement is made.
                    Address R. C. B
                    Orphans Home, Dallas Co., Texas.


Electric Light Reception.

     There will be an electric light reception at the Buckner Orphans' Home, Monday, August 12, opening at the setting of the sun and closing ten minutes after the blowing of the whistle. The moon will rise about ten o'clock, affording a beautiful drive back to the city.
The pastors of all the churches, their respective congregations, and all good citizens are respectfully invited to be present. It shall be made pleasant for them. R. C. B

- August 7, 1895, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 2.
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Added June 13, 2004:

     The following correspondence illustrated some of the benevolent work of the Shriners:
     Dallas, Tex., Dec. 21. -- Dr. R. C. Buckner, Orphans' Home, Tex.: Dear sir -- This temple, at its annual session, held the 19th instant, authorized the donation of $100 for the benefit of the Buckner Orphans' Home and directed me to remit the same to you,
in accordance with said action, I take pleasure in handing you, herewith, the warrant of the temple for $100 and beg that you will accept, with it, the best wishes of Hella Temple, for the success of your beneficent institution. Very truly yours,
W. W. M
ANNING, recorder.

     Dr. Buckner replied as follows:
     Mr. W. W. Manning, Recorder, etc., Dallas, Tex.: Dear sir -- Your communication excites admiration, gratitude and curiosity, admiration of your noble order, proverbial for its charity and good works, gratitude for the generous donation, not the first by several to help and cheer us in this work, curiosity to know what is "indicated by the peculiar picture always adorning your official letter-heads. The picture, I take it, of a mound of earth or stone with a dark side and a low, dark entrance. Wonder if it represents the lodge-room of your order, or a gold mine away off somewhere, from which your liberal gifts are brought. I know, however, that my curiosity will never be gratified unless I swim a river, climb a pole, encounter a surprised goat or perform some other heroic act, so I will content myself with the enjoyment of a degree of admiration and gratitude that I cannot well express. Cordially and respectfully yours,
                                                      R. C. B

- January 8, 1896, The Dallas Morning News, p. 8, col. 2.
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Bertie Britton, 17 years.
Marvin and Milton Britton, twins, 10 years.
Carlos Jones, 6 years.
Willie Richards, 9 years.
Grover Cleveland Yarbrough, 12 years
Oscar Jackson, 12 years.
Preston Kribbs, 10 years.
Williame Miller, 7 years.
Virgil Nelson, 9 years.
Eugene Black, 9 years.
Richard Marks, 9 years.
Arthur Edwards, 10 years.
Oscar Cowherd, 7 years.
Roy King, 6 years.
Chas. O'Bannon, 13 years.



Dick Richards, 10 years, face, hands, feet and body burnt; not expected to live.
Dan Gray, 6 years; badly burned about waist, feet and hands; will die.
Charley Frind, 10 years; burned fatally about face, arms and body.
Frank Chaffin, 7 years; burns not serious.
Jim Scott, 8 years; not fatally burned; expected to recover.
Earl Doodle, 7 years; condition not serious.
Sammy Henderson, 11 years; face, hands and body burned; will recover.
Sudie Britton, 18 years; ankle and back sprained.
     The results of the terrible fire that visited Buckner Orphans' Home between 10 and 11 o'clock Friday night, are far more appalling that at first reported. Up to date, the fire has claimed 16 victims and half as many more are in the hospital ward, suffering from terrible burns. Of these, three are expected to die, while the injuries of several others may terminate fatally. With the exception of little 13-year-old Charley O'Bannon, who died Saturday morning after intense suffering, the others were those whose charred remains were gathered up from among the ruins of the boys' house and buried Saturday as fast as they could be identified.
     Mrs. Britton, the matron of the boys' department, loses her twin sons, Marvin and Milton, aged 10 years, and her 17-year-old daughter, Bertie, who all perished in the same room. This was the only girl who lost her life. Another daughter, Miss Sudie, who jumped from a second-story window, is in the hospital ward suffering from a sprained ankle and back.
     No adequate picture can be presented of the scenes enacted during and after the fire. A visit to the Home Saturday was a series of intensely touching and piteous incidents.
     Some boys were quartered in the ill-fated building which was burnt almost even with the ground, and as many of these escaped with sufficient clothing, were all day Saturday seconding every effort of Dr. Buckner and his aides in bringing order out of chaos. The remainder, many of whom came out only in their night clothes, were sheltered in the girls' building, wrapped up in blankets while waiting for clothes to be brought to them.
    Several of those who were fortunate enough to save their clothes were seen and talked to. One of these, who was in ward B of the boys' house, said that the fire is supposed to have caught from the stove in the rear room on the first floor.
     Minor Smith is the boy whose duty it was to clean out the stove Friday evening. The hot ashes were deposited in a tin tub and it is supposed that in this way, the floor was ignited and the whole first story soon in a blaze.
     The greater part of the casualties were confined to this first floor, the inmates of wards B and C, on the second floor, escaping nearly to a boy, either by getting down one of the three stairways or by jumping from the windows.
     It is supposed that many of the boys on the first floor were first overcome with smoke, and thus perished mercifully without pain. Such a supposition is probable owning to the way in which the bodies lay when recovered.
     One boy, Oscar Jackson, is said to have met death by going back into the burning building to recover his hat.
     All the people in the neighborhood turned out and exerted themselves to the utmost in saving the other buildings when it was seen that the frame house occupied by the boys was doomed.
     Dr. Buckner spoke eloquently of the aid thus afforded him. Not only did these volunteers work while the fire was in progress, but all day Saturday busied themselves in the melancholy work of recovering the dead from the smouldering ruins. As fast as recovered and identified, the bodies were placed two in a box and carted to the burial lot of the Home and interred with a few short, but fervent, words of prayer from Dr. Buckner.
     The greater part of the bodies were terribly burned and were often gathered up piece-meal; heads, trunks and limbs being recovered in charred sections. The work of burial was finished Saturday afternoon.
      The prompt aid extended the sufferers has been greatly appreciated, and on the arrival of the relief car sent out from Dallas Saturday evening, the much-appreciated clothing was first hauled to the Home where the work of distribution was begun as quickly as possible.
      The girls of the institution are admirably organized and greatly assisted the doctors in attending the injured. The bitterest need of the Home was for clothing, beds and bedding, and this has been in great part alleviated.
     Dr. Buckner bears the great blow with fortitude and resignation, and while yet unable to state what plans he will adopt toward rebuilding the home, appears confident that with the aid of the generous hearted people of Dallas and other adjoining towns, he will be able to take care of the inmates of the Home.



How the Provisions were Taken
to Buckner's Station.


     No sooner had the first news of the terrible loss of life at Buckner's Orphan Home reached Dallas than preparations were immediately set on foot to succor the survivors and send aid to the institution. Mr. J. F. Zang, president of the Commercial Club, with commendable promptness, organized himself into a committee of one and, as related in Saturday's Times Herald, called upon Manager Thorne of the Texas and Pacific Railroad, who placed an engine and relief car at his disposal.
     Dodgers reading as follows were struck off and scattered broadcast over the down town district:
     "Help the orphans. The Texas and Pacific Railway Company will run a special free train to deliver donations to Buckner's Orphan Home, leaving city depot at 4 o'clock to-day. The Dallas Commercial Club earnestly requests you to send the orphans liberal donations. Send your donations to T. & P. freight depot."
     Notwithstanding the steady downpour of rain, the responses from the various business houses and private individuals as well, were immediate and gratifying.
Manager Thorne had no sooner had the relief car placed on the track than wagons began to arrive bearing donations. Nearly every large firm doing business on Elm street was represented and the donations ran from potatoes to rubber shoes.
     Owing to the delay entailed by having to wait for donations which had been promised earlier in the day, but were late in arriving as consequence of the bad weather, the relief car did not leave its station on the T. & P. track till nearly 5 o'clock.
     On account of the hurry entailed in putting the donations into the car, the names of the donors of many of the articles could not be learned.
     A partial list of the contents of the car with the givers is as follows:
     Sanger Bros., 3 bales containing clothing; 3 boxes and 1 bundle representing bedding, caps, shoes, rubbers and dry goods; Harry Bros., 2 heating stoves; S. H. Padgitt, 1 box clothing; 1 large box containing clothes left at the Pacific Express Company by unknown friend; Mahana Hardware Co., 1 stove; Geo. Loomis, 1 stove; Dallas Cotton Mills, big bale of clothing, shoes, etc.; The Model, 2 large packages containing shoes and clothing; I. Goldsmith, 1 box clothing; M. Benedikt, 1 box clothing; J. F. Zang, six double beds, six pairs bed springs, six mattresses, one dozen bed covers, one dozen pillows; Texas Spring Bed Co., 30 cots purchased by individual donors whose names could not be learned; J. S. Armstrong, 2 mattresses; Jackson & Dechman, 5 sacks potatoes, 1 sack onions, 1 sack beans, 1 box crackers; Littell Liquid Sulphur Co., 2 packages of medicines; Texas Drug Co., packet of medicine.
     Max Rosenfield, cashier at Sanger Bros., sent a box of clothing, as well as A. W. Clem of Oak Cliff. Besides these, there were a very large number of packages of all shapes and sizes containing clothing, provisions, bedding, shoes, caps, etc.
By the time the car was ready to pull out, it was well filled. On the car were a party of gentlemen, among whom were J. F. Zang, W. S. Terry and Geo. Ross, besides a Times Herald representative.
     Switch engine No. 150 drew the special car and its freight, manned by Engineer S. N. Wright and under the charge of S. E. Carnahan, yardmaster of the Texas and Pacific, and W. W. Moore, assistant yardmaster.
     Shortly after 5 o'clock, the car left the T. & P. freight depot and steamed swiftly toward Buckner's Station, a distance of six miles, arriving there within twenty minutes.
     The train was met at the little station by a four house farm wagon driven by farmers living in the neighborhood of the home, which was quickly brought alongside the car and the work of unloading begun. The contents of the car were turned over to Mr. P. M. Murphy, who is assisting Dr. Buckner in the work of caring for the home sufferers. A few moments later, another large wagon drove up accompanied by Dr. Buckner, who, while on a terrible strain occasioned by the excitement, work and mental worry over the terrible scenes at the home, has never for a moment relaxed his personal supervision over the work.
     Dr. Buckner was greatly affected by the sight of the substantial donations, and could only express his gratitude to Dallas people in broken sentences of thankfulness.
     The first things loaded on the wagons for the home, which lies in sight of the station, were the boxes of clothing, the need for which was especially great.
     After turning over the car to Dr. Buckner, and the throng of willing countrymen who were assisting in the loading of the wagons, and making inquiries as to the number of the dead and the condition of the injured, as many of the Dallas party as wished, returned on the engine, while the remainder boarded the incoming train for Dallas.



How This City was Affected by the
Reports from the Disaster.


     As early as 12 o'clock Friday night, rumors were afloat on the streets of Dallas concerning the terrible calamity which had befallen the Orphan's Home. Many persons saw the glimmer of a big fire in the eastern horizon, and discovering that some big building was at that moment being burned, set about to ascertain the seat of the conflagration. The telegraph, telephone and railway offices, drug stores and other places of business which keep open all night, were visited in an effort to get some particulars. But little information, however, was to be had at that hour beyond the fact that Buckner Orphans' Home was on fire, and little did the anxious or casual inquirers dream that in that same fire seventeen little souls had been wafted into eternity.
     Many persons who are deeply interested in the institution from one cause or another, rose earlier than usual yesterday morning to get full particulars of the holocaust, and when the morning papers containing the information that the boys' building at Buckner Orphans' Home had been destroyed by fire and six little children had perished with the flames, were distributed, the news rapidly spread and the event was the sole topic of discussion on the streets. The telephone and telegraph wires were used in conveying messages of condolence and sympathy and offers of assistance to the management and when each message would receive the same sad reply, "the half has not yet been told," the hearts of the entire citizenry of Dallas were well nigh frozen with terror.
     Subscriptions were hastily started to raise money, provisions and clothing to partially alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate victims, and by 12 o'clock quite an amount had been raised.
     Mr. J. F. Zang, Alex Ortlieb, W. J. Moroney, Philip Sanger, E. M. Kahn and other well known business men of the city early began to bestir themselves in the orphans' behalf. Each gentleman quit his business, and after first packing up large donations themselves, went out in search of others. Soon, the question of transporting the supplies to the home was raised, as the heavy rains of the past few days had made the roadways well night impassable and the rain, which, at the time, was pouring down, made it highly probable that the goods would be ruined if an attempt was made to send them by wagons. Ever on the alert, and quick to meet any emergency, Mr. Zang, held a conference with Manager L. S. Thorne, of the Texas and Pacific railway, and it took but a few words to explain to the latter gentleman the necessity for running a special train to the Home. With his well known eagerness to assist any laudable enterprise, Manager Thorne quickly ordered a special train be sent out at 5 o'clock. This order was afterwards changed to 4 o'clock, and circulars printed gratuitously by Dorsey & Co., were sent out with the information. Business men stopped their work, and calling to aid one or two of their salesmen, it took only a short time for these circulars to be extensively circulated. The Times Herald issued its edition at 2 o'clock, containing a full write-up of the fire and a full list of the victims--13 in number---so far as could be obtained at that hour, and with it, the notice that a special train would be run at the hour above designated. Copies of the paper containing the latest and most reliable information were eagerly sought for and the news that the list of fatalities had been more than doubled by later reports, spread like wild-fire. Then it was that the good citizens of Dallas began to stir in real earnest. Homes were ransacked for suitable articles to send, and long before time for the train to leave, donations from the down-town districts began to arrive. The Elm street merchants, as a unit, contributed needed articles, and many residence portions sent liberal contributions, but owing to the fact that the report that the train was to leave at 5:30 gained extensive circulation before it could be contradicted by the other, many persons were deterred from sending contributions who would otherwise have done so. The train left about 5 o'clock, bearing donations, a list of which is given elsewhere in these columns, and along with it went several of the citizens of Dallas, all eager to get a sight of the ruins and lend any possible assistance toward helping the little sufferers.
     The last topic of discussion in the hotels and homes of Dallas last night was the saddest affliction which has yet befallen the institution, which as done so much for the orphans and homeless children of this great State, and which is known the country over for its charitable deeds and the great work it has accomplished in its field, and many were the childish prayers which ascended to the throne of the great Master of the Universe last night, dictated by fond and loving mothers and fathers who felt deeply grateful that they had so far been spared similar afflictions, asking his divine blessings for the little sufferers at the Orphans' Home.


     The Commercial club has established permanent headquarters at its rooms in the Odd Fellow building for the reception of donations of any and all kinds for the Orphans' Home. All contributions of money, clothing, etc., if sent to the secretary, Mr. Paul Giraud, will be promptly forwarded to Dr. Buckner.

- January 17, 1897, Dallas Daily Times Herald, pp. 1, col. 5-7;.10, col. 7.
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Orphans to Present
Historical Play

     "The American Flag," "Our Flag -- It's Origin," an historical play dealing with the origin of our flag, will be presented at Buckner's Orphans' Home, on Saturday evening, August 8, at 8 o'clock. The play will be preceded by "Little Red Riding Hood," a musical playlet. The entire program is under the direction of Mrs. L. M. Coleman and quite a treat is promised. The characters will portrayed by the children of the home, some of whom show no little ability. The cast of characters is as follows:

Red Riding Hood........Johnie Davis
Mother.......Hattie Mardlaw [Wardlaw?]
Woodsman......Horace Hawkins
Wolf......Dewey Lawrence
Fairy Queen.......Lillie Griffin
Hazel Gibbs.......Norah Brown
Gussie Merle Delmans......Helen Blum
Gracie Durbin.......Lucile Wardlaw


Betsy Ross.....Ruth Ware
George Washington.....Charles Taylor
Robert Morris......Joe Brown
George Ross......Aaron Baker
Girls representing our flag -- Clandia White, Orena Bayless, Nancy Pearl Whitley, Cora Mockbee, Eva Gray Thomas, Gladys McClanahan.
Sailor Girls and Sailor Boys representing the original thirteen states.
Chorus of school boys and girls.
Mrs. L. M. Coleman, director.

- August 6, 1914, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 9, col. 7.
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