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Francis Lewis &
Sarah Caroline Robbins Rugeley Family


Edward Salmon & Mary Eliza Smith Rugeley

Francis Lewis and Sarah Caroline Robbins Rugeley Family
By Rebecca Rugeley Livesay, Kittie Jenkins Kivesay and Chloe Rugeley Pounds

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 State.

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, 1982.

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 7, 1970.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume II, pages 445-446


Copyright 2011 - Present by the Rugeley Family
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Oct. 23, 2011
Oct. 23, 2011