The Mills Twins
April 26, 1923
Frank and William Mills were born as twins (“Mills Twins”) to Bertie Mills, a 28-year-old single woman who had already borne five other biological children*, in Radford, Virginia.
September 28, 1923
Frank and William Mills were committed to the State Board of Public Welfare by Judge W.M. Delp of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Radford, Virginia
See Commitment Order issued by Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (Judge Delp) of Radford, VA based on summons and testimony of Chief of Police Chas. Howell, under Final Adoption Papers and Certified Copies of Legal Custody Transfer
September 30, 1923
The State Board of Public Welfare (Virginia) committed the custody of Frank and William Mills to the Children’s Home Society of Virginia.
October 12, 1923
Letters from Children’s Home Society of Virginia to Mrs. DeVault with background information on Ms. Mills, the mother of the Mills twins. It appears that, by this time, Mrs. DeVault (the Tennessee “baby home finder”) had taken possession of the Mills twins and was traveling with them, likely to Tennessee where her office was located (see second paragraph).
October 15, 1923
Letter from Children’s Home Society of Virginia to Mrs. DeVault enclosing certificate from Dr. J.A. Nobler (sic) who delivered the Mills twins. (Letter references placement by Mrs. DeVault of a baby girl when she returns from trip placing Mills twins.)
Enclosed with this letter is a statement from J.A. Nobler, M.D. dated October 14, 1923 “Re-The Mills Twins. William & Frank Mills”, in which the doctor provides information concerning the birth of the twins and basic background information on the birth mother and father.
October 31, 1923
Letter from Children’s Home Society of Virginia to Mrs. J. Lester (sic) Stark (Nita) referencing a prior inquiry from Mrs. Stark and providing the date and times of birth of the twins, the name of the attending physician (J.A. Noblin – previously misspelled) and the doctor’s statement of the health of the twins and family background, which is attached.
The letter supplements the attached doctor’s statement by adding that “…the father of these twins is not living with the mother and the mother was not in a position to give the children any proper care and training.” This is consistent with the prior legal proceedings in September 1923 in which the twins were removed from the custody of their biological mother, Bertie Mills.
NOTE: Neither the letters from the Children’s Home Society nor the doctor’s statements provide any information as to the birthplace of the Mills twins. It does not appear that this piece of information was ever revealed to Nita and Lutcher Stark; therefore, while they knew the birth names and birth dates of the Mills twins, they did not know where the babies were born, other than in the State of Virginia (in view of the legal custody / guardianship by the Welfare Board, then the CHS).
December 19, 1924
Letter from the Children’s Home Society of Virginia to Mrs. H.J.L. Stark acknowledging that one year had passed since the Starks had taken possession of the Mills twins and that, since the couple had decided to legally adopt them, adoption papers would be prepared.
February 4, 1925
Letter from the Children’s Home Society of Virginia to Mr. and Mrs. J. Lester (sic) Starke (sic) enclosing “…papers giving consent of the Children’s Home Society for the adoption of Frank and William Mills.”
The letter notes that, until the papers are legally executed, “…the children remain wards of the Society, and under its guardianship.”
NOTE: The attached adoption consent papers from the Children’s Home Society (signed 1/29/25) misspelled the name of Lutcher Stark (as did the letter). It appears that, after receipt of the legal papers for the adoption, Nita and Lutcher Stark sought the legal counsel of George Hill of Houston, who was a relative of Nita Hill Stark. See below.
March 18, 1925
Letter from George A. Hill (Houston lawyer, relative of Nita) to the Superintendent of the Children’s Home Society of Virginia in which Mr. Hill advised that he had reviewed the paperwork previously sent by the Children’s Home Society to Lutcher and Nita Stark and that Mr. Hill had noted some mistakes in those documents and other irregularities that he had corrected so that the documents could be filed in Texas.
March 19, 1925
Letter from Children’s Home Society of Virginia to George Hill (Lutcher and Nita Stark’s adoption lawyer) acknowledging the receipt of Mr. Hill’s 3/18/25 letter and enclosing (1) signed consent forms for adoption (as revised by Mr. Hill; (2) certified copies of legal papers committing the Mills twins to the State Board of Public Welfare; and (3) certified copy of transfer of the custody of the Mills twins from the State Board of Public Welfare to the Children’s Home Society of Virginia.
The certified copies of the papers documenting the chain of legal custody of the Mills twins are attached.
March 30, 1925
Articles of Adoption were filed by H.J. Lutcher Stark and wife Nita Hill Stark for the adoption by them of William Mills and Frank Mills.
The Articles of Adoption state that they are in conformity with the executed and acknowledged consent in writing of the Children’s Home Society of Virginia (and, in fact, the Articles are dated to coincide with the March 24, 1925 date on the adoption consent forms from the Children’s Home Society of Virginia), but even though the Articles state that the consent forms are attached, they were ultimately not attached to the Articles filed in Orange County.
This is confirmed by the original Articles of Adoption, which reflect the certification of A.H. Coale, Orange County Clerk (in 1925). The clerk’s certification states (a) when each Article was filed, (b) when each Article was recorded, and (c) where each Article was filed, and in both cases, each Article of Adoption was filed on ONE PAGE in Book 41 of the Orange County Deed Record – not multiple pages – meaning no attachment was included.
Nonetheless, the attachments referenced in the Articles (being the Children’s Home Society consent forms) were sent with the Children’s Home March 25, 1925 letter (see above), clearly existed and were the basis of the Articles of Adoption, and are attached under “Documents” on www.thestarktruth.org.
December 16, 1927
Letter from Elizabeth Brook of Children’s Home Society of Virginia to Mr. and Mrs. J. Lester (sic – still spelled wrong!) Stark referencing prior paperwork sent giving consent for adoption (letter of 2/4/1925) and requesting confirmation and documentation of completed adoption paperwork.
January 21, 1928
Letter from W.B. Simmons, Secretary to Lutcher Stark, to Elizabeth Brook responding to Ms. Brook’s December 16, 1927 letter re final adoption paperwork and, further, enclosing “certified copies of adoption as recorded in Vol. 41, Page 50 and 51 of the Deed Records of Orange County, Texas” (the 2 pages of the public records in which the Articles of Adoption were filed on March 30, 1925 – see above).
January 26, 1928
Letter from Children’s Home Society of Virginia to H.J. Lutcher Stark acknowledging receipt of final orders of adoption and, further, requesting adopted names of Mills twins.
June 24, 1928
Letter to Mr. and Mrs. J. Lester (sic) Stark from R.D. DeVault, husband of Mrs. DeVault, the “baby home finder” from Tennessee who placed the Mills twins with Nita and Lutcher Stark.
In the letter, Mr. DeVault reports on the death of his wife, mentions her work in placing babies throughout the years, and solicits money from the Starks to help him pay for bills relating to his wife’s last illness as well as the cost of building a “baby ward” on their house so that his wife could better care for babies she was placing. Mr. DeVault specifically asks about “the boys” because he says he is interested in following up on all the babies his wife was involved with.
Of particular interest is the letterhead for the letter and envelope that contained it, which says:
Mrs. R.D. DeVault
Baby Home Finder
301 East Unaka
Johnson City, Tenn.
March 26, 1930
Handwritten letter from Mr. R.D. DeVault of Tennessee again seeking monetary contribution from Lutcher and Nita Stark in memory of his wife, Mrs. DeVault, the Baby Home Finder who had secured possession of the Mills twins from the Children’s Home Society of Virginia and delivered them to the custody of Nita and Lutcher Stark of Orange for consideration for adoption in October 1923 (see above).
April 16, 1930
Letter to Mr. DeVauth (sic) declining his 3/26/1930 request for financial assistance even though his “wife was most deserving” (as she was the Baby Home Finder who had placed the Mills twins with Nita and Lutcher Stark in October 1923).
July 3, 1942
Birth Certificates are issued in Texas for Homer Stark and Bill Stark in a hasty effort to compile various documentation necessary for their military enlistment.
Also see Birth Certificate of Homer Stark, which states that he was a legitimate child born as Homer Barksdale Hill Stark on April 26, 1923 in Jamestown, Virginia to a father named Henry Jacob Lutcher Stark and a mother named Nita Hill, who had borne two (2) children who were now living. The ONLY information in the prior sentence that is accurate is the child’s date of birth (April 26, 1923).
As noted above, none of the information from the Children’s Home Society, the attending physician (Nobler or Noblin) or any other sources ever disclosed the place of birth of the Mills twins, so this was in all likelihood not known to Lutcher and Nita Stark.
And as also noted above, the child later known as Homer Stark appears to have been illegitimately born as Frank Mills to a single mother named Bertie Mills (who had previously borne at least five (5) other children) and a father who was not identified.