North Texas

Bug Tussle

Bug Tussle with Milky Way by Mike Mezeul II

Bug Tussle is at the junction of Farm Road 1550 and State Highway 34, ten miles south of Honey Grove and five miles north of Ladonia in southeastern Fannin County.

The community was initially called Truss, after John Truss, who settled there. It was founded in the 1890s and had a post office in 1893–94. Later the town’s name was changed to Bug Tussle.

At least three explanations exist for this unusual name. The most popular is that the name commemorated an invasion of bugs that spoiled a church ice cream social. A variation on this anecdote suggests that the relatively isolated spot, long popular as a site of Sunday school picnics, offered little else for picnickers to do after they ate than watch the bugs tussle.

A third story tells of an argument between two old-time residents who wanted to change the name of the town. Their attention was diverted by the spectacle of two tumblebugs fighting. “Look at those bugs tussle,” one reportedly remarked, thus settling the argument and rechristening the town.

More than seventy Bug Tussle highway signs have been stolen over the years, and for a time it was fashionable for couples to come there to be married, just so that they could say they had been wed in Bug Tussle. Bug Tussle reported only six residents by 1962, but experienced a brief renaissance when the David Graham Hall foundation took a fifteen-year lease on the downtown area in order to restore it. From 1966 to the mid-1980s the renovated town, sometimes called West Bug Tussle, had a population of thirty and capitalized on its unusual name by producing a number of souvenir items under the “Made in Bug Tussle, Texas” logo. In 1990 its population was reported as fifteen.

Reprinted from Texas State Historical Association | Photo by Mike Mezeul II