Originally named "Hickory Grove", the town sits at the intersection of 2 rail lines. Having a number of granaries holding corn, wheat and other crops for shipping eastward, the town was an important rail link for farmers. During the Civil War, an arsonist burned some of the granaries. He was arrested but vigilantes stormed the local jail and hanged him from a tree. The town then was called "Hang Town" by locals and travelers. Later in local pharmacy, some of the city fathers were discussing the problem of lack of people coming to reside in the town. It was agreed a new name was necessary. One of the men reached up in a shelf and picked up a bottle of Rochelle Salts, saying Rochelle would be a good name for the town."
The "251" comes from the business residing on Route 251.