Monday, August 20, 2012

A not-so-English village

For many years, Rugby was marketed as an English "colony" here on the Cumberland Plateau. It is true that Thomas Hughes intended for young second sons to come here so they could learn a trade and support themselves, free of the social constraints of Victorian Britain. But he never intended this place to be an exclusive club. There is a row of graves in Laurel Dale Cemetery that clearly shows it wasn't. The first graves are those of Charles C. and Nellie O. Brooks. While Brooks is a recognizably English name, the O in Nellie's name isn't.

It is, in fact, German, as the next grave shows. Buried next to Louis is his wife.

Emma's matching gravestone bears the maiden name Lender,

and the next grave, Barbara Lender's, is inscribed with the German phrase used to express farewell.

These days Rugby is being marketed as an English-Appalachian settlement. And what could be more Appalachian than German settlers?


  1. i am often struck by evidence of how multicultural we were in the past; a nearby memorial to soldiers who died in the First World War includes the name Weissner which is certainly not English, yet he must have been well integrated in our society to have enlisted in the army; anyone about whom there was the least suspicion was put into a camp.

  2. Our western NC mountains had their share of German immigrants too.