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The Rugbeian and district reporter. : (Rugby, Tenn.) 1882-1883
Alternative Titles:
  • District reporter
  • Rugbeian
Place of publication:
Rugby, Tenn.
Geographic coverage:
  • None, Fentress, Tennessee  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Rugby, Morgan, Tennessee  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • None, Scott, Tennessee  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Thomas Fardon
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 2, no. 55 (Oct. 7, 1882)-v. 3, no. 78 (Mar. 17, 1883).
  • English
  • Fentress County (Tenn.)--Newspapers.
  • Morgan County (Tenn.)--Newspapers.
  • Rugby (Tenn.)--Newspapers.
  • Scott County (Tenn.)--Newspapers.
  • Tennessee--Fentress County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01220575
  • Tennessee--Morgan County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01228424
  • Tennessee--Rugby.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01307447
  • Tennessee--Scott County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01228425
  • "Official paper for Morgan, Scott and Fentress Counties."
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 96086912
Preceding Titles:
Succeeding Titles:
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The Rugbeian and district reporter. October 7, 1882 , Image 1


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The Rugbeian, The Rugbeian and District Reporter, Plateau Gazette and East Tennessee News and The Rugby News

In 1880, Thomas Hughes, British author of Tom Brown'School Days, established the utopian community of Rugby in Morgan County, Tennessee. His involvement in the cooperative movement inspired his vision for a community which would allow the younger sons of the gentry to build an idyllic life away from the restraints of the British class system.

The settlement's formal opening took place on October 5, 1880, and the first issue of the Rugbeian followed soon after, in January 1881. The eight-page paper was published monthly for the first few months, and became a four-page weekly in July 1881. The paper's motto--Shoulder to Shoulder--was cited by Hughes in his speech at the dedication of Rugby, in which he envisioned the settlers and Americans living and working together, shoulder to shoulder.

No publishers or editors were named in the early issues of the Rugbeian, but Osmond Dakeyne is believed to have been the paper's first editor. Some of the earliest copies of the paper have handwritten names attributed to many of the articles, with the majority of the editorial content contributed by W. Hastings Hughes (Thomas Hughes' brother) and Osmond Dakeyne. The Rugbeian focused primarily on local news, but also published national news, and news from the 'Old Country.' Local businesses dominated the advertising space in the paper, but advertisements from further afield became more common as the paper grew. From February to June 1881, the front covers featured elegant illustrations depicting life in Rugby (reproduced from an article in Harper's Weekly in October 1880).

F. Fullerton Armstrong joined the community in the spring of 1881, and became the printer, publisher and editor of the Rugbeian. Shortly after, Dakeyne became the first fatality of the typhoid outbreak that blighted the community in 1881. A smaller two-page issue published on August 20th, 1881, bore Dakeyne's obituary on the front page. The next issue didn't appear until September 10th, 1881, due to "the fact that both our assistants were stricken down by the disease, [and] rendered the publication of the Rugbeian impossible until the present date."

In December 1881, Thomas Fardon took over as printer and publisher. Armstrong had been exposed as a convicted felon and fled the town hastily, leaving behind a slew of debts and worthless checks. Perhaps in response to this, Fardon changed the paper's motto to "Be Just, And Fear Not." Armstrong's departure was welcomed, as evidenced in a letter published in the January 7, 1882 issue: "we are pleased to know the Editor now in charge is not the man who hitherto has been running the paper."

Fardon remained as publisher/editor until 1883, when Thomas J. Davie and Ernest M. Berry took over. The paper went through several changes in name and ownership over the years. In 1882, it was called the Rugbeian and District Reporter. In a bid to extend its reach to the surrounding Morgan County and neighboring Fentress, Scott, and Cumberland counties, the name was changed again to the Plateau Gazette and East Tennessee News and later, the Rugby Gazette and East Tennessee News. Other editors at this time were Joseph H. Blacklock and Cecil S. Moore.

By 1884, Rugby's population was over 300, but the town never managed to become the utopian dream that Hughes had envisioned. The Rugby Gazette and East Tennessee News ceased in 1887. However, several years later, in November 1890, J.W. Giles established the Rugby News, a four-page paper with the outer pages comprised of ready-print (pre-compiled news and advertisements purchased by editors and integrated into the newspaper) and the inner pages providing a small amount of local news. The Rugby News is believed to have ceased publication in 1891.

The town of Rugby, Tennessee, is currently (2014) home to about 85 residents and still has a small print shop using presses from the time of the original settlement, but no longer publishes a newspaper.

Provided by: University of Tennessee