Robert L. Rust, the present county superintendent of schools of Washington county, and one of the leading educators of the State, is a native of the Keystone State. He was born in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, September 16, 1870. His parents, S. C. and Eliza (Nims) Rust, were also natives of Pennsylvania. John Rust, the grandfather of our subject, was also of Pennsylvania, and Joseph Nims, the maternal grandfather, was a Vermonter. The Rust family came to Kansas in the fall of 1871, when the subject of this review was about one year old. They reached Waterville, which at that time was the end of the railroad. They continued their journey from Waterville to Washington by stage and the father took a homestead in Washington county in what is now Farmington township. Here he built a house of native lumber, 12 x 14 feet, and laid the foundation of his future home in Kansas. He engaged in farming and stock raising and met with a fair degree of success. Some years ago he retired from active business and is now living in Washington, Kan., enjoying the well earned fruits of former efforts. Besides an honorable civil career he has to his credit four years of military service in behalf of the Union during the Civil war. He served in Company K, Sixty-third Pennsylvania infantry. His service was with the Army of the Potomac and he participated in many hard-fought battles. S. C. Rust and Eliza Nims were the parents of six children: Anna (deceased); Robert L., the subject of this review; John (deceased); Estella, married H. H. Dillon, cashier of the Morrowville State Bank, and to them have been born five children: Vera, Wilma, Helen, Dorothy and one child that died in infancy. Mabel married A. D. Appley, a farmer in Farmington township, and they have one child, Kenneth; and Charles E., assistant cashier in the Farmers State Bank, of Washington. He married Lois Bradshaw and they have one child, Helen.
Robert L. Rust was reared on the farm, surrounded by pioneer life during his boyhood. He has seen Kansas in all its stages of evolution and development. During the first six years that the Rust family were in Kansas they did not have a horse on the place, but did all their work with oxen, and when the family drove to Washington to church they drove with an ox team, which they turned loose on the prairie that they might feed during the services. He distinctly remembers seeing buffaloes in this section of the State and has often eaten buffalo meat. Deer, antelope, wild turkeys and other game were plentiful at that time. He recalls several Indian scares farther west, but there was no serious Indian trouble in this section after his people settled here. He was here when the grasshoppers invaded Kansas and remembers very distinctly how the pests industriously ate everything in sight. Robert Rust received his early educational discipline in the public schools of Washington county, after which he attended the normal school at Holton, Kan., for a term, when he returned to Washington and entered Friends Academy at that place. He was the first student to enroll in that institution. He attended school there one year, when he went to Baker University, and later returned to the normal school at Holton, where he remained until he graduated in the class of 1889. He then began teaching in the rural districts of Washington county, and shortly after became principal of the Morrowville Public School, remaining one year, when he was appointed principal of the Mahaska schools, holding this position ten years; then to Lynn, Kan., in a similar capacity for three years. In 1911 he was elected to the office of county superintendent, and at the expiration of his term of office was reëlected, and now holds this position. Mr. Rust is a progressive educator and during his administration of the office of county superintendent has done much to improve the schools of the county. He has used his best efforts for the advancement of educational methods, and has introduced much new work among the teachers which tends to the practical advancement of education, and, as an evidence of the efficiency of his work, the records show that there have been more eighth grade and high school graduates under his administration than in any previous years of a similar period. Mr. Rust has taken an active part in teachers' organizations and educational conventions. Prior to being elected county superintendent he served for four years on the teachers' examining board of Washington county. Through his efforts the educational feature was added to the Washington county stock fair, which has proven to be a great success.
He was married, July 17, 1895, to Miss Sadie, daughter of Joseph and Kate (Heinley) Inhoff, both natives of Pennsylvania, who came to Illinois in early life, and in 1881 to Washington county, Kansas. Mrs. Rust was born in Freeport, Ill., and was a child when her parents came to Kansas. She received her early education in the Washington county public schools and later attended the normal school at Holton, Kan. She then engaged in teaching and taught in the rural schools of Washington county and in the Mahaska schools, remaining in the latter place ten years. To Mr. and Mrs. Rust have been born two children, Dorothy and Sadie Lucile, both deceased. They now have an adopted child, Zelma, who is ten years of age and attends the public school. Mr. and Mrs. Rust are members of the Presbyterian church and she is an active worker in church affairs, also a member of one of the local literary clubs. Mr. Rust is superintendent of his Sunday school, and is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America.Pages 482-484 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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