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Ask Matt...How did Rugby get its name?

A replica of Rugby School located behind Rugby Middle School A replica of Rugby School located behind Rugby Middle School

Rugby School is a 450-year-old prep school in a town in Warwickshire, England, that bears the same name.

Other than turning out fine lads, the school is also famous for inventing the running brand of football, in 1823, and for having a headmaster, Dr. Thomas Arnold, who was the model for the 1857 novel “Tom Brown’s Schooldays.” How the Rugby name came to Henderson County is chronicled by Hendersonville Lightning editor Bill Moss in his book The Westfeldts of Rugby Grange.
The Westfeldts had a large farm in Fletcher. A “grange” is a country home with farm buildings. Here is history I took from the book.
In 1835, a young Swede named Gustaf Adolphus George Westfeldt crossed the Atlantic, began a new life in the American South, became a successful businessman in the coffee trading business in New Orleans, married an Irish lady, traveled the world and sat out the Civil War in England. George Westfeldt, who greatly valued education, enrolled three of his sons at Rugby School, hence the Rugby connection.
After the war, around 1870, the Westfeldt family settled here. George and his wife, Jane, purchased a large unfinished home on 750 acres which they named Rugby Grange and where they would raise 10 children. The two-story stone home has 7,480 square feet and was built circa 1854. The estate today is less than half its original size. At times the main house can be seen from I-26 just across from the Broadmoor golf course. Rugby Grange has been home to six generations of Westfeldts and is owned today by Thomas D. Westfeldt II, the fifth generation CEO of Westfeldt Bros. Inc., the New Orleans green coffee brokerage George Westfeldt founded.
Compared to the natives scratching out a living, the family was well to do, though Moss reports, “The Westfeldts were not just summer people and unlike the rich Charlestonian planters who built fine mansions in Flat Rock, they brought no large entourage of servants with them.” Despite their worldly travels, the Westfeldts were easily accepted by the locals. Moss tells of the family connection to Louisiana Tabasco sauce (through a third generation marriage), Kentucky Derby horse racing, friendships with Jefferson Davis, world-renowned foresters and one particular Westfeldt son who liked his liquor.
Lenoir Ray’s book, Postmarks, mentions that in 1894 there was once a Rugby Post Office. Dr. George Jones, who still lives on North Rugby Road, said that the Westfeldts built a road from their farm in Fletcher to connect with what is now N.C. 191 and named it Rugby Road.
Jones remembers that there was a one-room schoolhouse on the road, which also carried the Rugby name. In the 1960s, construction of I-26 severed the northern end of Rugby Road. Leander and Vernon Johnson (Historic Johnson Farm) both attended the old Rugby School. Later in their lifetime they would give land on N.C. 191 for Rugby Middle School with the condition that it be named not for them but instead for the Rugby community.