Robert Walton Letter
Robert Walton of the Board of Aid to Land Ownership wrote this letter to Rugby's town Judge, D. K. Young, on 1886 May 13. The letter is written on official Board of Aid stationery and reads in part I desire to express to my thanks for your kindness in having me appointed to join the Knoxville delegation to go to Cincinnati in the interest of the proposed R. R.
- 1886 May 13
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0.1 Linear Feet
Robert Walton of the Board of Aid to Land Ownership wrote this letter to Rugby's town Judge, D. K. Young, on May 13, 1886. The letter is written on official Board of Aid stationery and reads in part, "I desire to express to my thanks for your kindness in having me appointed to join the Knoxville delegation to go to Cincinnati in the interest of the proposed R. R."
Robert Walton was an Irish immigrant and Cork University alumnus who emigrated to the United States and became the assistant City Engineer for Cincinnati, Ohio. He was hired in the late 1870s by a group of Boston businessmen, led by English social reformer Thomas Hughes, to design the utopian Rugby colony in Tennessee. Walton soon decided to move from Ohio to Rugby, and was in fact one of the town's first settlers. He managed the Board of Aid to Land Ownership, the governing body for Rugby land acquisition and sales, until around 1907 when his son William succeeded him.
Thomas Hughes founded the Rugby colony 1880. It was originally named Plateau City, but Hughes renamed it Rugby, probably in honor of his alma mater, the Rugby School in Warwickshire, England. Rugby was founded as a utopian settlement for younger sons in England, who were financially and professionally restricted by the laws of primogeniture inheritance. The colony was also open to Americans and other immigrants, and by 1881 Rugby contained more than 300 settlers. Unfortunately, during that summer a typhoid fever epidemic struck the colony, killing seven and causing several others to leave in panic. By the end of 1881, only about 60 people remained. Gradually, the colony rebounded, with the population growing to about 450 in the next few years. Eventually, however, the colony's popularity waned as land sales lagged, legal problems occurred, and the school that was to be the centerpiece of the colony never reached its potential. By the early 1890s, the colony was past saving.
This collection consists of a single folder.
This collection was purchased by Special Collections on 2007 February 20.
Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA