|Francis "Frank" Lewis Rugeley was
born on February 24, 1855, in Matagorda County, the
fourth child of Edward Salmon and Mary Eliza Rugeley,
and was educated at Sewanee University. After serving
with the Texas Rangers in Austin in 1880-1881 guarding
the State Capitol, Frank returned to Matagorda to manage
the W. B. Wadsworth Mercantile Store. In those days, the
general store was the gathering place for the entire
community. News and gossip were exchanged, supplies
acquired, and lasting friendships were made. Mr. Frank
had the reputation of being the best teller of jokes and
stories in the county. His keen sense of humor was
easily apparent to all who knew him. Bald early in
adulthood, his great handle-bar moustache was his
trademark. Mr. Frank managed the Wadsworth Store for Mr.
Wadsworth for many years. Later he purchased the store
and ran it with the help of his sons until his death.
Eliza "Lilie" Maria Robbins became
the bride of Frank Rugeley on January 17, 1883, when she
was twenty-one and he was twenty-two. There were three
children born to this marriage: Chester Hamlin Rugeley,
January 25, 1884; Eloise Rugeley, November 23, 1885; and
Ethel Robbins Rugeley, June 6, 1888. After begging her
younger sister, Sarah Caroline Robbins, to marry her
husband to raise her children, Lilie died on January 10,
1889. Her youngest child, Ethel, followed her in death
less than ten months later. The young widower did marry
Lilie's sister, Sarah Caroline Robbins, on December 18,
1890, when "Miss Carrie" was twenty years old.
Sarah Caroline was the youngest
and longest-lived of Chester and Chloe Robbins'
children. She was born on May 20, 1869, four months
after her father's death. Carrie, as she was known, was
a true "southern lady of the old school." Raised at
Tadmor and educated by governesses, she later,
accompanied by her mother, attended the Southern Female
Academy in Petersburg, Virginia, where some of her
father's family still lived.
The family grew as seven more
children were born in rapid succession: Frank Maynard
(October 27, 1891); Lilie Rebecca "Reba" (March 19,
1893); Samuel Robert (July 22, 1894); Edward Wells
(December 14, 1896); William Wadsworth "Waddie" (May 12,
1898); Henry Lowndes (April 15, 1900); and Stanley
Robbins (May 10, 1901).
Mr. Frank became ill in the early
twenties, and he died on December 28, 1924.
The Rugeley home was a large,
comfortable, old house that had been built in the 1830's
by Ira Ingram, who was the first secretary of Matagorda
and the first Speaker of the House of Representatives.
From 1837 until 1841, Colonel Albert C. Horton, who was
to become the first Lieutenant Governor of Texas, lived
in the house. A Joshua Denest next lived in the house
for one year until 1842 when the Reverend Caleb S. Ives,
the first Episcopal minister in Texas who organized the
first Episcopal Church in the State at Matagorda, turned
the house into an academy. W. L. Sartwelle taught in the
Ives Academy before purchasing it in 1851. He lived
there until 1859. Mrs. S. M. Dale was the next owner of
the house, and it was her home from 1859 until 1887 when
she sold it to Francis L. Rugeley. His widow, Miss
Carrie, sold the house to Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Sisk in
1942, and it was owned in 1984 by Mrs. Allie Lee Sisk
and Dr. and Mrs. William H. Parham. In 1964, the
distinguished old house received a Texas Historical
Medallion designation it as a historic building in the
It has been said that Miss Carrie
and her family lived in a "plastic house"--that it, one
which could always expand to find room for one more. Her
days were spent raising those children and taking part
in the religious and social life of Matagorda. In 1909,
she helped organize and served as vice-president of the
Mothers Club which supported the school. On July 31,
1898, she, Fannie Winston and Grandma Robbins were among
the nine who signed the original charter establishing
the First Presbyterian Church of Bay City. After Frank
Rugeley died in 1924, she lived with various of her
children. Her final years were spent in Bay City in a
lovely little home at 2320 Live Oak designed by her
son-in-law, C. P. Livesay, of Houston. She was cared for
by her step-daughter, Eloise Rugeley Tippins. Miss
Carrie died on May 20, 1964, her ninety-fifth birthday.
Of Carrie and Frank Rugeley's children, only Reba
Rugeley LIvesay, age ninety, was still living in 1984.
Her home was the Hallmark Retirement Center in Houston.
William Wadsworth Rugeley, their only child to spend his
entire life in Matagorda County, died on November 8,
1983, at the age of eighty-five.
Chester Hamlin Rugeley married
Mary Dudley Greer in 1904. After residing in Matagorda
for several years, they moved to Wichita Falls where
Chester entered the oil business. Their children were:
Dorothy Isabel, Frank Robert, Carrie Louise, Betty Love,
Chester Hamlin, Jr., and Dudley Thornhill. Chester died
on January 5, 1926.
Eloise Rugeley was educated at
Mary Baldwin College in Virginia and Texas Presbyterian
College in Milford. She married Preston Tippins in 1905.
He died in 1944. After his death, Eloise lived with Miss
Carrie and lovingly cared for her many years. Eloise
died on June 19, 1978. She had no children.
Frank Maynard attended Austin
College and was graduated from The University of Texas.
He served as the Director of Public Works in Wichita
Falls for many years. Maynard married Elizabeth "Mamie"
Rose in 1921. Their children were: Frank Maynard, Jr.,
Robert Seldon, and Sarah Rose. Maynard died on July 13,
Lilie Rebecca "Reba" Rugeley was
graduated from Texas Presbyterian College and married
Crawford Patterson "Pat" Livesay of Charlottsville,
Virginia, in 1921. They had three sons: William Rugeley,
Crawford Patterson, Jr., and Stanley Robbins. Reba was
the only child of Frank Rugeley's ten children that was
living in 1984.
Samuel Robert Rugeley, lovingly
referred to as Sambo, strongly resembled his father in
appearance and he, too, possessed a keen sense of humor.
He attended Austin College and The University of Texas,
served in the army, and settled in Wichita Falls where
he went into the oil business. Sambo married Kathryn
Roberta Gormely in 1925, and they had three children:
Robert Austin, Mary Kathryn, and Carol Ann. Sam died on
February 18, 1978.
Edward Wells "Bunk" Rugeley was
graduated from Austin College, received his M. A. from
The University of Texas, and his Ph. D. from Yale. He
married Mary P. Bourne in 1924. There were two children:
Maria Clark and Edward Wells, Jr. May died in 1935. Bunk
married second Nelle Campbell in 1938. Bunk lived most
of his life in Charleston, West Virginia, where he
directed the research and production of textiles as the
vice-president of Union Carbide Company. Dr. Rugeley
died on July 8, 1970.
William Wadsworth "Waddie" Rugeley
attended Austin College and married Matilda Moseley in
1924. They had one child, Chloe Matilda. Waddie worked
with his father for many years in the Rugeley Hardware
business in Matagorda. The family moved to Bay City when
Waddie assumed the management of the U. I. Cattle
Company for his uncle, Fred S. Robbins. Waddie died on
November 26, 1983.
Henry Lowndes Rugeley followed the
family tradition by attending Austin College also. He
married Alice Rose in 1929, and they had two sons: Henry
Lowndes, Jr. and William Hudson. Henry and his brother,
Stanley, formed the R. G. Drilling Company in Wichita
Falls with R. M. Glass. Henry died on May 26, 1975.
Stanley Robbins Rugeley, the tenth
child of Francis L. Rugeley, attended Austin College and
the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy. Stan married
Winnie Catherine Williams in 1923. They moved to Wichita
Falls in 1929 where Stanley became a partner in the R.
G. Drilling Company. They had two sons: Stanley Robbins,
Jr. and Stanley Phillip. Stanley Robbins died on October
Historic Matagorda County,
Volume II, pages 445-446