At the very back of Laurel Dale Cemetery, at the back edge of Rugby, lies the grave of Margaret Hughes, mother of author and Rugby founder Thomas Hughes. The story goes that when Thomas's wife declined to join him in Rugby, his mother volunteered to be the family presence. In 1881, at age 84, she pulled up stakes in Britain and made her way to Tennessee, accompanied by her teenaged grand-daughter Emily.
Here she presided as the unofficial first lady of the colony until her death in 1887 at the age of 90. Emily, whose mother had died earlier, stayed until her grandmother's death, at which time she joined her Father, Hastings Hughes, in New England. She eventually made her way to Kenya where she lived out her life and is buried.
I've always been impressed with Mrs. Hughes's courage. While not exceeding wealthy in England, she did live a comfortable life. This she gave up at an advanced age to live under frontier conditions on the Cumberland Plateau. Her final disappointment, if it can be called such, was that the Episcopal Church she championed was not quite completed in time for her funeral.
In 2010 Historic Rugby, Inc., presented an original play, Emmy and Granny, based on Margaret and Emily Hughes's lives in Rugby. Here the costumed actors who portrayed the ladies Hughes are shown seated in the parlor of Uffington House, the home they shared in Rugby for six years, and which is named for their home village in England.