“The Little Box of Dried Flowers”

by Aunt Ruth


Ten Generations of the Bugg Family

    Lois Bugg Proffer wrote: “You know, don’t you, Gladys Gregory Hall, that the only reason you will learn about Melinda [Melissa Ann Kent] Bugg is out of the goodness of my heart, that I heap coals of fire on your head. Because I was talking about our ancestors and you said, “I don’t care a thing about ‘em.”

    Samuel Bugg was born in Branderton, England in 16__ (exact date unknown).  He and his wife, Maria, had the following children:  Samuel, Joseph, Sarah, Maria, James.

    Samuel Bugg of the second generation came to America and settled at New Hampshire, Virginia.  The date of his birth is unknown, but he died September 3, 1716.  He was married to Deborah Sherwood and they had the following children:  William and Samuel.

    Samuel Bugg of the third generation married Sarah Bacon and they had the following children:  William, Arselen, John, Samuel, Jacob, Sarah, Sherwood, Agnes, Edmund.

    John Bugg of the fourth generation had four children:  Benjamin, John, Jesse, Sherwood.

    Jesse Bugg of the fifth generation married Mary Sandifer and had the following children:  John, Sarah, Benjamin, Margaret, William, Samuel, Jesse, James.

    Benjamin Bugg of the sixth generation has a son, Benjamin.

    Benjamin Bugg of the seventh generation married Tabitha Walden and had the following children:  Benjamin, Jesse, John.

    Benjamin Bugg of the eighth generation was born in Mecklenburg, Virginia in 1806 and married Nancy Green Towns.  They moved to Couchville, Tennessee and had the following children:  William N., John S., Benjamin A., Samuel N., James G., Tabitha (married Harden Russell), Jesse G. James was a Confederate soldier.  William was a Union soldier.  Benjamin was photographed wearing a beard that reached the floor.  John was taken a prisoner of war at Fort Donelson.  After being exchanged, he went home to Tennessee and married Malinda Hopper.

    John S. Bugg of the ninth generation and his wife, Melinda, came to Titus County, Texas in 1874.  The next year they moved to Cooke County, seven miles east of Gainesville and had the following children:  Benjamin Neely, George Franklin, Mollie, Nancy, Sally.  He died in 1877 and his wife died in 1904.

    George Franklin Bugg, 1854-1916, of the tenth generation married Melissa Ann Kent of Gainesville, Texas and lived there and had the following children:  Auda, John, Maudie, Allie, George W., Lois, Ruth.


    Auda “gone from home” wrote from Portland, Oregon on August 24, 1904, a letter preserved in Maudie’s trunk:

Dear Sisters,

I have just been to the office and got your letters. Was glad to hear from you. I am getting along alright only I get lonesome without anything to do. I have worked 2 days since I have been here at $2.00 per day. There is lots of work here but there is 4 men for every job and the work is too hard for me. I can’t stand it. I worked on a boat this morning unloading wet sand with a scoop. Now when you don’t think that is work you are left, and that is about as good as any of it. So you see it is all hard. Henry is still with me but I don’t think he will stay long. He has a job today unloading brick. I don’t know what he is getting but 20 cents or 25 cents an hour. We are rooming together in the upper story of the Lawton Rooming House.  Our room costs us $2.00 a week, $1.00 apiece, and our rent is due again today. Tell Lois there is lots of “purties” up here but it takes money to buy them. Clothes is cheaper here than it is in Gainesville. Board is some cheaper and labor is higher but hard to get to do. These men out here won’t stay with a job but 2 or 3 days at a time. Some will stay 2 or 3 weeks and then they quit and get drunk and are ready to go to work again. I think I will go to the hop fields in a few days if I don’t find something to do before long. This is an awful place. Fully one third of the business houses are saloons.  When we were on the road out here there was a confidence man got after me & Henry out in Arizona and stayed with us until we got to Los Angeles California. But when we got enough of him it didn’t take long to get shut of him. He gave us some good advice. He told us not to take up with strangers and told us how some fellows done him once and told us a whole lot of things that we didn’t know. People here, that is the laboring class, are very friendly what few there is of Americans. The crew I worked with this morning didn’t have an American in it but me. There is not many negroes here but what few there is go just the same as white folks. They have the funniest wagon here you ever saw. They are great big things about three and a half inches [feet?] and the beds are about 8 inches [?] off the ground and they have teams that beat anything you ever saw. An average team here is better than anything in that country. They haul better loads here with 2 horses than they ever haul at all down there. I saw one team stuck on an uphill bridge and it wasn’t much up grade either with a load of pears. You can buy 6 better pears here than you ever saw in Texas for a nickel. Peaches 5 cents a dozen. Great big clear seed plumbs 5 cents a dozen. I had a grand time Sunday out at Mr. Houstons. He lives about 7 miles from the main part of town. My, this is a big place by the time you get all over it. I havn’t saw any of it yet.  How did John like his trip? How long was he gone? I am so lonesome I don’t know what to do this evening with Henry gone. I don’t think his job will last many days. No, don’t send me one of the pictures yet for I may go to another town and it might happen to get lost. Write me often telling all the news. I must close. Your loving brother, Auda

orge F. Bugg, of Cooke County, Texas, was with relatives in San Antonio as 1914 began, because the cold winters in North Texas were bad for his health. He wrote to his daughter Maudie (married to Alvin Gregory) on January 21, 1914:

... I went to the show once but you better not tell your mama.  Some of the show people taken a film here last week.  They are going to show it here in about a month.  I think I will go once.  Tell Gladys and Worth I saw an alligator yesterday six feet long.  Tell Worth I expect he will be almost a man when I get home.  Tell Emma Dean grand pa wants to see her awful bad.  Tell her there is two little babies here today.  I am going to see Mollie this evening.  Hoping this will find you all well.  I remain your devoted father.  Goodbye, G. F. Bugg

    George Bugg, father, grandfather, died the next year, and years later his youngest, “Aunt Ruth,” wrote a piece she called “The Little Box of Dried Flowers”.

    I was born on Christmas Eve, 1903, the seventh child of a 49 year old father and a 39 year old mother. My family, truck farmers, had a good life with an abundance of everything needed except money, which wasn’t missed because it had never been known. Probably no child ever experienced a more delightful childhood than I, chasing butterflies in both reality and fantasy.

    Thus it went for the first eleven years of my life. Just before my twelfth birthday, we celebrated the wedding of my brother George. I remember having my first taste of hot chocolate and getting a blistered tongue.

    Just past Christmas my parents both became ill. It was not unusual for them to not feel well, but sleeping in bed with high fever caused alarm. The doctor said each had pneumonia, and after a day or so he suggested that Mama be moved to another room. Penicillin had not yet been discovered. There seemed to be a foreboding anxiety among members of the family. Papa was going to die, and he did, on the seventh day. Soon after darkness came down, the kerosene lamp was turned low, and the children all gathered into the room where Papa lay. I was led to the bed, and when I put out my hand to touch Papa, it was pulled back.  Papa sank into a sleep—death.

    Mama took it with stone silence, which seemed to never leave her for the remainder of her life. She knew what was to be would be and held tenaciously to life.

    The undertaker came and prepared the body for burial. It lay on a cooling board with a prop under his chin. We could see Papa anytime we wanted to, but it was perplexing—the departure of the soul from the body. What did it mean? I wasn’t used to questioning, so I just accepted it as a truth that I didn’t understand.

    Papa’s body was carried to the little church he had helped build. In the vestibule of that little church house there was a marble slab in the wall. Among the names there was G. F. Bugg—building committee. A horse-drawn hearse carried the casket and the family rode in a horse-drawn surrey. We buried Papa and then from the grave the undertaker took a flower and handed it to me, as he did the other members of the family. Was this flower all I had left of Papa? When I was still quite small, Papa would carry me on his shoulders early each morning to see how many rose buds had come into full bloom since the morning before.  This we did while Mama and Allie cooked breakfast. So now this flower became the link between Papa and me. It was a treasure, and only I knew its worth.

    A friendly neighbor, Mrs. Coomer, brought me a little box to keep my flower in. It had a glass cover and over that a paper cover, but I could look at my flower through the glass anytime I wanted to. That helped a lot, for I had a good place to keep my flower, which I knew from experience, would wither, dry, and later crumble. So I handled it accordingly and kept it in the box.

    Life for the whole family was now on the threshold of change. Mama, now fifty, old for that time and before her time, broken in health physically, and what seems to me now, suffering and despair, faced the future with two little girls to rear. She had to give consent to change. She now became the matriarch only in love.

    Maudie, the oldest sister, had married a few years before Papa’s death, and Auda, the oldest son, had gone from home to be on his own.

    The family ties were close and guarded by moral law. John and Allie were the young adults in the family. They became the surrogate parents of their little sisters.

    The restlessness in their own spirits was quieted by duty. John, now with the family holding in his hands, used his money making talents and began to prosper and add to the estate his own properties. Allie turned down all suitors with “wait a while, I can’t leave Mama with these two little girls to care for.” Therefore she settled for a good life of family, responsibility, and security. This was a good arrangement for all of us, and continued until Lois and I each married and moved from home....

they could be from a family album:

at the Bugg homeplace (1936)


Allie, Lois (or Ruth) holding me?

Grandmother Maudie

below left:

Allie. John, Lois (1967)

below right:

Aunt Allie and Uncle John at home