working. (last updated Jan. 3, 2015)
1870s – Rusts’ father moves to Stephens County, Texas, from Virginia.
09-06-1892 – John Daniel Rust born.
01-12-1900 – Mack Donald Rust born.
02-07-1907 – Thelma Rust, nee Ford, born. She was one of seven children: William Edward Ford 1892-1952; LeRoy Ford 1895-1972; Herbert Clarence Ford 1899-1974; Eva 1902- 19XX; Fred 1905-19XX ; Thelma 1907-1982; Margaret (sp) 1911-1983.
1908 – Rusts’ parents die. Mack goes to live with a sister; John wanders through Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico for three years, doing odd jobs … hears Socialist speaker, gets pamphlets “Men and Mules” by W.F. Ries  and “Introduction to Socialism” by N.A. Richardson [“Enter the Cotton Picker”]
1911 – John returns to sister’s farm in Texas, stays about a year, working on a cotton-chopping machine.
1912 or 1913 – John becomes a member of a cooperative coal-mining community in Oklahoma, called Milton Colony.
1913 (?)-1917 – John works as a migrant farm hand in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas. [not exactly] “The colony broke up and John Rust again took to the road in order to find work. This time he found it in the wheat fields of Kansas.” [“Enter the cotton picker”]
1917 – Served in the U.S. Army at Camp Stanley, Texas. After 10 months, was demobilized in Kansas City and got work in construction; developed a sideline of repairing doorbells [“Enter the cotton picker”]
1922 – Went to work as a designed with the Marriage Thresher Company in Wichita, Kansas; later the Gleaner Combine Company in Independence, Mo. Worked in Wichita for five years [“Enter the cotton picker”]
1924 – John married Faye Pinkston; while employed by the Gleaner Combine Co., in 1924, Rust began work on a mechanical cotton picker.
1927 – In the spring of 1927, John left the Kansas combine company and went to work for another agricultural-implement manufacturing company in Missouri. Several variations of the same origin story: After he had started his new job it occurred to him one night, while lying in bed, that the solution of his problem of how to get the cotton off the spindle was to use a smooth spindle instead of a barbed spindle. He remembered how if you picked cotton early in the morning when the dew was on it it was difficult to get it off your fingers. The wet fiber would stick to the skin, as if it had been glued on. He jumped out of bed and got a long nail, wet it, and then revolved it in a boll of cotton which he had in the house. The cotton stuck to the nail but as soon as the moisture had been absorbed it would come off with little difficulty. Eureka! It was the principle of grandmother’s spinning wheel, reincarnated.” [“Enter the cotton picker”]. In the spring, “he remembered that his grandmother had moistened the spindles of her spinning wheel to make the cotton adhere” [American National Biography]. “Then one night in 1927, Rust lay in bed pondering his dilemma. There had to be, he was sure, some simple answer. Then he remembered his own experiences back in Texas picking cotton. In the morning when he had picked the bolls, his hands were still wet from the dew and the cotton had tended to stick to his fingers. He got out of bed, went downstairs, found a nail, wet it, and stuck it into a clump of cotton” [Halberstam, The Fifties]. “Tossing in bed one night, John remembered his early days. Cotton picked in the early morning dew was difficult to remove from the fingers. John leaped from his bed. He moistened a long nail, revolved it in a boll of cotton. The cotton stuck; then as the nail dried the cotton fell off easily.” [The Literary Digest, 1936] “… grandmother moistened her spinning wheel to make cotton stick to it, the idea occurred to him to try a smooth, we spindle on a mechanical picker” [Science, 1935] “However, he remembered his youthful cotton picking days; and he remembered the cool dewy mornings in the fall of he year when cotton lint stuck in his fingers as he picked cotton on his father’s farm. The memory from boyhood gave him an idea: Why not use a smooth spindle on a mechanical picker and employ some sort of wetting agent to dampen the smooth spindle? The thought came to him in the middle of the night; and he left a comfortable bed, got a big nail, a glass of water, and some cotton, and did a little nocturnal experimenting. He dampened the nail, then twisted it gently through a piece of cotton. The idea worked; and it became the basic principle of his mechanical cotton picker. [Corpus Christi Caller-Times, 07-22-1951] “He fished around until he found a nail, wet it with his lips, and twirled it around in some absorbent cotton and lo! The cotton wrapped itself around the nail.” [Dale Carnegie, The Times and Daily News Leader, San Mateo, Calif., 02-23-1940] “Lying in bed one night in 1927, he recalled how when he was a boy the morning dew would make the cotton he picked cling to his fingers. Then he remembered that his grandmother had always moistened the spindle of her spinning wheel to make cotton adhere to it. ‘I jumped out of bed,’ he later wrote, and ‘found some absorbent cotton and a nail for testing. I licked the nail and twirled it in the cotton and found that it would work.’” [American Heritage, Summer 2004] “John Rust said he got the idea while watching an old negro woman spin a threat of cotton on a Louisiana plantation spinning wheel.” [Mexia Weekly Herald – “Picks cotton that formerly took 100 men, 10-19-1934]
In late 1928 – Mack Rust (who graduated from Engineering School at the U of Texas in 1925, did a year of graduate work, and spent two years in the employ of the General Electric Co. in Schenectady) joined John Rust in Texas. [“Enter the cotton picker”] They’re living with his sister, Mrs. L.A. (Virginia Elizabeth, or Jennie) Gallaway. [Rust]
01-27-1928 – John Daniel Rust of Weatherford, Texas applies for first patent (granted 05-23-1933), reissued 01-01-1935.
07-19-1928 – Weatherford Daily Herald: “Wet Spindle Cotton Picker Being Built by Weatherford Man”
07-20-1928 – Weatherford Democrat: “Weatherford Inventor Claims to Have Build A Real Cotton Picker”
09-11-1928 – Galveston Daily News: “Mrs. McCallum Gives Ballot Place to Communist Party.” Austin – The worker’s communist party, a new Texas political organization, today was granted a place on the official ballot for the November election . . . . At a meeting in Houston Aug. 4 the party named candidates for the three major state offices and selected a list of president electors… John Rust of Weatherford for the United States senate.”
12-20-1928 – San Antonio Express: “United States Senator – Tom Connally (Dem.), 566,139; T.M. Kennerly (Rep.), 129,910; John Rust (Com.), 114; David Curran (Soc.), 690.”
1930 – John and Mack move to Newllano, or New Llano, cooperative, Louisiana. “in 1930 Rust gained the financial support of the Llano Cooperative Community in Louisiana and attracted enough attention to obtain the sponsorship of Wallace A. Clemmons” [ANB] “After a year there, we met Wallace A. Clemmons, owner and operator of the Gulf Radio School at New Orleans, Louisiana, who advanced funds to repay the cooperative community and we moved two miles away to the town of Leesville, Louisiana, where Mr. Clemmons continues to take care of our modest needs. The machine rebuilt there was the first, so far as I know, ever to harvest a bale of cotton in a day. This was in 1931. [near Waco]” [Rust]
06-15-1930 – The Item-Tribune: “Southern Boys Invent Cotton Picker: Picks Cotton Clean, Without Damage And Close To Ground.”
Early 1932 – John and Mack moved to New Orleans, charter Southern Harvester Company.
Fall 1932 – Machine was operated principally near Lake Providence, Louisiana. … Leading planters offered not only some financial backing, but a lease on a new metal building, we moved to Lake Providence. [Rust] Machine became first to pick five bales of cotton in a day [in Stoneville, Miss.] [Rust]
05-31-1933 – article in The Nation
12-01-1933 – Married Thelma Ford of Leesville, La., in the Methodist parsonage at Lake Providence, La.
01-31-34 to 02-02-34 – Rusts attend the Southern Engineer’s Convention at Hotel Peabody, where they showed motion pictures of the cotton picker [have not located film].
02-19-1934 – Charley Schneider – Over the mud to the huts – and Thomas visits farmers: Socialist leader appalled by squalor, misery of ‘peons’ of East Arkansas – “Mrs. Ed Boston and her seven children were out back of their sharecropper shack near Tyronza, Ark. . . . ”
04-18-1934 – (Memphis paper, probably The CA): New Cotton Picker to be Built Here: “Officers are John D. Rust, president and general manager; Mack D. Rust, vice president and chief engineer; W.A. Clemmons, secretary-treasurer, and Robert M. Nelson, chief counsel. The officials will meet in a few days to elect a board of directors, on which will be several Memphis business men. Location of the company here [on Bodley near South Lauderdale, leased from McCallum & Robinson Inc.] was through the work of the Chamber of Commerce development bureau, of which A.P. Fant is the director.”
07-07-1934 – Mack D. Rust marries Alma in Chicago.
1935 – John and Mack moved to Memphis, found the Rust Cotton Picker Co.
February 1935 – The American Mercury: The Revolution in Cotton, by Oliver Carlson: “An assembly plant has been established at Memphis, Tennessee….A second assembly plant is to be established in Southern California at an early date.”… “Within two years they will know it all too well— for large scale manufacture of the pickers is a simple matter.” [says Ayres, head of Stoneville, Miss., experimental station, sent a letter to inventors of the cotton-picker, in 1934, that urged them to speed the manufacturer of their remarkable machine:] “”We sincerely hope that you can arrange to build and market your machine shortly. Lincoln emancipated the Southern Negro. It remains for cotton-harvesting machinery to emancipate the Southern cotton planter. The sooner this be done, the better for the entire South.” [This article was republished in Reader’s Digest.]
03-15-1935 – (Press-Scimitar) Thomas wants probe of AAA: Also dares U.S. to release Myers report on cotton country conditions – “Norman Thomas demanded release of Mary Connor Myers’ report of New Deal effects in the cotton country in a speech last night at the Lyric Theater.” “‘Statistics have shown that before AAA the owners of cotton lands received about 40 per cent of the total income from cotton and the workers about 60 per cent,’ Mr. Thomas said. ‘Now it is the reverse. The workers get 40 per cent and the owners 60.’” “Mr. Thomas said the New Deal had failed miserably in the cotton country. In an attempt to raise the purchasing power of the masses, he said, the program of the AAA had resulted in the reduction of the number of tenants on many plantations and a reduction in status for them on other farms.”
03-16-1935 – (Press Scimitar) Cotton robot would benefit South, Thomas: Urges mechanical picker as boon, but says socialism must come with it – “A mechanical cotton picker, says Norman Thomas, would make Socialism inevitable. Last night he saw one in operation. True, he did not see it in a cotton field, but he saw it fed whole stalks of cotton which it easily plucked of its white puffs.” Thomas inspected “the ungainly machine perfected by the brothers, J.D. and M.D. Rust” “in a little shed in South Memphis.” Rusts claim the machine picked as much as 1000 pounds of cotton an hour. The Rusts said they weren’t trying to promote the machine: “They said they wanted his advice and counsel on a question which is the largest consideration in distributing a machine with such tremendous social aspects. ‘We are engineers,’ said the Rust brothers, ‘but we are seriously concerned with the effects this invention will have on employment in the South.’” “Silently watching the film was H.L. Mitchell, secretary of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. ‘It will mean a revolution in cotton,’ said Mitchell. ‘It will free an enslaved people. For a time it might deprive them of livelihood, but social adjustments will have to be made to care for them. You cannot let that stand in the way of progress. History is but a series of social changes brought about by new inventions.’ ‘Planters,’ continued Mitchell, ‘are just as concerned over this as laborers. They fear its social consequences and are unable to offer a solution. But to them it offers the opportunity to grow more cotton cheaper than anywhere else in the world. To the laborer it means freedom from the slavery of King Cotton.’” “W.E. Ayres, in charge of the Mississippi Experiment Station, […] has said in his opinion the machine should be manufactured as quickly as possible. . . . ‘it isn’t up to agriculture or cotton producers to absorb at starvation wages machine replaced industrial labor. […] ‘Lincoln emancipated the Southern Negro,’ concludes Mr. Ayres’ endorsement. ‘It remains for cotton harvesting machinery to emancipate the Southern cotton planter.’”
05-05-1935 – New cotton picker is completed here / Rust brothers may be modern Eli Whitneys / Tractor pulls device / Moistened rotating spindles pluck staple from bolls without injuring plant – may end sharecrop system – The Rust brothers put finishing touches on the new Universal Pull-Model Cotton picker. “Last fall the Rust exhibited their first harvester in the cotton fields. It was hailed by farmers and farm experts alike. But it called for a machine mounted on a tractor. This was not considered practical because of the expense in devoting one tractor entirely to cotton picking. Back to work went the Rusts. Months passed. Yesterday their work was complete. For the first time they exhibited a new cotton picker which can be attached to a tractor and pulled through the fields as it harvests the fleecy staple.” “Born on a cotton farm 13 miles southeast of Breckenridge, Stephens County, Texas, John and Mack were left as boys to make their own way. Still in his teens, John went to work in the Kansas wheat fields. He studied wheat harvesting machinery, served in the army during the World War, and returned to work in Kansas. He studied automotive engineering and mechanical drafting. Seven years ago he conceived the moisture principle in cotton harvesting. He went back to Texas for experiments, was joined by his brother, and their time since has been devoted exclusively to developing the machine completed yesterday. Mack graduated in mechanical and electrical engineering at the University of Texas, working his way through, worked and studied with General Electric in Schenectady, joined his brother in Texas. Today they are incorporated as the Southern Harvester Co., 2369 Florida.”
05-27-1935 – Rust asks Brisbane about world sanity: Defends labor saving cotton picking machine – John Rust writes letter to Arthur Brisbane, “famous editorial writer”: “‘Do you think it is a sane world where labor saving machinery is a detriment to labor instead of a service?’”
02-02-1936 – Karl Pretshold, East St. Louis Journal, Illinois Magazine – Mechanical cotton picker spells doom for South’s tenant farmers and share croppers – “The inventor brothers, their names are John and Mack Rust, hope that their machine and the mechanization of cotton growing which it will make possible will bring emancipation to the tenant farmers and share-croppers. But they realize they can do nothing more than home; that the social effects which flow form use of an invention cannot be controlled or directed by the inventor.”
03-11-1936 – Jack Bryan, Press-Scimitar – Rust Bros. offer cotton picker for benefit of masses / Memphis inventors ask help in perfecting plan to safeguard workers and use profits for bringing security / Propose to limit use of device / May be leased only to those who agree to pay living wage, respect hours and recognize collective bargaining /// “‘As compensation for our invention,’ John said, ‘we will accept an income that will not exceed 10 times the salary of the lowest full-time paid employe of the corporation.’ […] ‘Under that system,’ Mack explained, ‘if any executive thinks he’s worth more than he’s getting, let him prove it. If he’s so smart, let him show it by making the business pay for raises to the other employes. Then he’ll automatically get his own raise in proportion.’”
03-12-1936 – Daniel M. Kidney, Press-Scimitar – New Dealers and labor chiefs laud Rust Bros. plan / Socialization of profits and labor-saving advantage of cotton picker praised universally at Washington / Some doubt replacement of men / Point out that cultivation of crop takes more workers than picking and these must be maintained by planters – “‘The problem of labor displacement by mechanical pickers seems remote,’ said R.B. Gray, chief of the mechanical equipment division. ‘None of them has reached the point where its use is about to become widespread. They have never been perfected to that point, although one of the big farm machinery concerns has spent three million on the problem.’” [… John Rust:] “Everybody gets the jitters whenever this cotton picker is mentioned. We don’t. There is no reason why it should not be used for beneficial instead of destructive ends.’”
03-23-1936 – Time magazine: “Holding 51 percent of the stock in their manufacturing company at Memphis, the Rusts offered marketing control of the picker to the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. The Union had too slim a purse to accept. The Brothers left the offer open.”
05-24-1936 (?) – By John Scott — Memphian designs new cotton picker / Machine within range of the average planter / Inventor explains plan / L.C. Stukenborg perfects picker electrically driven. Operating with brush-blade picking arrangement
08-1X-1936 (?) – Jack Bryan, Press-Scimitar – History in the cotton fields – nine machines will help pick crop this year; two to Russia / Rust brothers place ‘robots’ on the market / Welfare fund will protect human labor which might lose thru invention – “Eight gangling mechanical ‘bugs,’ with metal mandibles and a shiny, galvanized antenna crooked aloft over each back, stood hungrily waiting in battle array today, ready to attack the cotton fields of the South.” […] “The Rust Brothers do not, however, believe that their efforts will solve the problem single-handed. The rest is up to society. ‘As much as we are concerned with the welfare of the people who will be disemployed by the cotton picker,’ John Rust said, ‘it is obvious that we will not be able to rehabilitate all of them from our share of the profits. We believe there should be a job for every able-bodied person who applies for work, and there there should be universal insurance for the disabled and the aged. But these are social problems which must be dealt with as such by society as a whole.” […] “they propose not to sell the machines outright in this country, but to lease them, beginning at $1000 for the first year and scaling down to $100 in later years. Under this lease, the operator agrees to maintain a minimum wage on the machine, and to employ no one on it under 16.”
08-27-1936 – Press-Scimitar – Will the Rust picker work? We’ll know next week: Writer in Harper’s asks three big questions as to future of cotton machine – refers to article by Robert Kenneth Straus in September issue of Harper’s. – “Mr Straus tells how John, even before he began inventing the cotton picker, became impressed with the ideals of socialism. He was a member of a coal mining co-operative in Oklahoma that didn’t work out. In 1930 he and Mack took their budding invention and went to live with the Llano cotton co-operative community in Louisiana. Thus far, Ms. Straus says, the brothers have spent on the machine about $50,000, provided by people who believed in them and their invention. They will not sell out to some corporation for large-scale production, but they prefer to start manufacturing on a simple scale, financing it from the machine’s own income.”
08-28-1936 – Rust cotton picker will be given tests / Demonstrations start Monday at Stoneville, Miss. / Large crowd to attend / Farm experts and planters from Georgia to see workout – machine to stay at experimental plot
08-31-1936 – Jack Bryan, Press-Scimitar – [headline clipped] Machine needs further development, some say at Delta farm demonstration: Amount of staple left on stalks and foreign matter it picks up are chief criticisms of highly critical spectators / When a reporter writes history – [apparently on this day, reporters from a variety of news organizations – New York Times and Time magazine and wire services, were in Stoneville for a demonstration for the Rust picker; Bryan wrote his story based on a ‘dress rehearsal’ Saturday; it was described as a ‘scoop.’] “The machine today was put into a field owned by J.W. and V.L. Weilenman where the crop was in much better condition.” [sidebar:] Charles Berry of Greenville, son of late H.N. Berry, rival investor, observed demonstration in Stoneville. “Mr. Berry said that he and his father had already tried out smooth spindles used by the Rusts and that the same difficulty the Rust picker showed had made their machine impractical. ‘We do not have two completed machines that use a barbed spindle that is successful,’ Mr. Berry said.” […] “We are not worried about the social and labor effects of the invention as the Rusts are because we believe that a new invention brings about adjustments to the benefit of society,’ Mr. Berry said.”
09-01-1936 – Jack Bryan, Press-Scimitar – [headline clipped] – “Opinions range from one extreme to the other from the 350-acre farmer who wanted to buy a machine on the spot to Oscar Johnston, AAA cotton expert and head of the vast Delta and Pine Land Plantation at Scott, Miss., who doesn’t think even a fully efficient picking machine will save the cotton grower any money.” […] “One thing had whetted the interest of Delta farmers in a mechanical picker. Picking costs had gone up in many places this year from 75 cents to $1 a hundred pounds.”
09-02-1936 – looks like The Commercial Appeal — Rust cotton picker stirs pros and cons / Few in Memphis dismiss machine as valueless / Some think impractical / Most of brokers here say, if successful, no overturn in economic conditions of the South likely — “C.A. Lacy, a Front Street veteran with 42 years’ experience in handling and growing cotton, said frankly that ‘I don’t think the picker is practical and I think it is a stock-selling scheme that should not be given such prominence in the news. Whenever they invent a cotton picker with eyes, I’ll put my money in one.’”
09-04-1936 – Picker cuts cotton grade: By $4 a bale; leave left in staple only factor in lowering value – “Front Street cotton classers today estimated cotton samples ginner from the seed cotton picked by the Rust Cotton Picker at Stoneville this week would be a grade and a half lower than the same cotton hand picked, amounting to a difference of about $4 a bale.”
09-07-1936 – The Associated Press — Rust warns of ban on picker: Crump’s plan would drive machine into foreign fields, inventor says – “Mack Rust, co-inventor of a mechanical cotton picker, warned today against any legislative attempt to prohibit its use in the South. He reiterated a belief that Edward H. Crump, who Saturday told The Press-Scimitar that he favored legislation against the picker because of its unemployment threat, was ‘honestly mistaken’ in his opposition to pickers […]”
09-08-1936 – Anti-picker rulings condemned by Rust: feels Crump suggestion would defeat own end
09-09-1936 – South needs the picker: But its coming will cause serious social problem, Holton thinks – J.C. Holton, commissioner of agriculture for Mississippi. – “‘An unparalleled social problem is involved, for with the perfection of mechanical cotton harvesting, countless men will be thrown out of work.’”
09-10-1936 – Bureau head leave to view new picker: Federal chief interested in Rust machine – S.H. McCrory, chief of he Agricultural Engineering Bureau, left today for Stoneville, Miss., to look over the Rust cotton picker.
09-14-1936: “Co-inventor Mack Rust: ‘We don’t claim that this is the best possible cotton picker. But this machine today is a better cotton picker than the old Model T Ford was an automobile when it was first offered.” … “The Memphis Commercial-Appeal printed a cartoon of a pop-eyed old darky trailing an empty cotton-sack and exclaiming: ‘Ef’n it doose mah wuk—whose wuk I gwine do?’”
09-16-1936 – More Rust pickers will be put in field: Experiments to find volume possible with machine – two machines being taken to Clover Hill Farm, about five miles north of Clarksdale. That would make four. First is at Delta Experiment Station in Stoneville; second is at the Delta Co-operative Farm, Dr. Sherwood Eddy’s project, at Hillhouse, Miss.
09-18-1936 – Russians test the Rust picker: Government to buy patent rights if machine proves success.
09-18-1936 (?) – Picker damage put at $8.50: Inventor challenges report from co-op office at New Orleans
10-19-1936 – Rust pickers readied for Soviet cotton job / Letter from inventor to wife reveals high hopes for machines in Central Asia
11-23-1936 – Jack Bryan, Press-Scimitar — Russia wants Mack [Cotton Picker] Rust to talk business – he’s probably return / soviet is interested after watching machines
11-25-1936 – Press-Scimitar — Rust Bros. deal with Russians: Reported agreeing to make, sell machines; office here doubtful – “The Russian government has agreed to manufacture and sell the Rust Cotton Picker, an Associated Press dispatch from Center, Texas, said today. The Rust company office in Memphis, however, said they had information only that such a deal was pending. The statement came from Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Wood, parents of Mrs. Mack D. Rust of Memphis, who said they had received a telegram from their daughter revealing a cable from John D. Rust in Russia that he had closed a deal with the Soviet government for manufacture and sale of the machines.” / John Rust was empowered to sign contract “if the machine proved satisfactory in the field. Since their apparent successful demonstration in Turkestan, he said, action on the contract was expected.”
11-26-1936 – Rust denies Soviet cotton picker deal —
11-26-1936 – By Dick Breese — Memphian invents new cotton picker / L.C. Stukenborg demonstrates his machine / Twice faster than man / Cost to grower about $350 – staple comes out cleaner than when plucked by human hands
01-06-1937 – Rust cotton picker tests please Russia: Charles Stanley reports on Soviet demonstrations – “Representatives of the government of Soviet Russia were ‘very favorably impressed’ with demonstrations fo the Rust Brothers’ mechanical cotton picker, Charles Stanley, demonstrator of the machine, said yesterday upon his return from a five-month stay in Russia.”
01-23-1937 – Cotton picker finds official champion – “Little Rock – Mechanized farming in the south found a champion today in Director W.E. Ayers of the Mississippi Cotton Experiment Station at Stoneville.”
03-03-1937 – John and Thelma Rust leave Cherbourg (arrive in New York on 3-9-1937). Their residence in Memphis is listed as 500 E. McKellar. [from The Literary Digest, 09-05-1936: “In a modest brick veneer house in McKellar Street, Memphis, John, in his early forties, and Mack, in his thirties, live with their wives on a modest salary from the cotton-picker corporation. Sometimes neighbors hear a guitar and banjo twanging lustily in the Rust home. Then they know the brothers are seeking respite form nuts, bolts and spindles.”]
03-15-1937 – John Rust returns from work in Russia: Co-inventor of cotton picker arrives at Memphis —
03-17-1937 – Soviet farmer happy to get Rust pickers: No danger of it costing him his job under collective system, inventor says – “‘From a long and broad view of it all,’ [John] Rust said, ‘it appeared to me the Tashkent collective cotton farmer has had his individual initiative restored completely. You know, initiative dropped considerably following the Russian revolution.’ He said the collective farmers reacted ‘favorably’ to the mechanical cotton picker demonstrations ‘because they know the introduction of machinery can’ force them out of their jobs.’”
05-05-1937 – Rust cotton picker hailed as ‘missing link’ of period – “Dr. Ralph C. Hon, head of the economic department at Southwestern, in The Southern Economic Journal’s spring issue, says ‘a more constructive solution’ for probably intensification of unemployment ‘would be for society to accept responsibility to the deplaced workers.’”
05-XX-1937 – Argentine trip planned – will leave Memphis by plane tomorrow for Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he plans to demonstrate his machine in the cotton growing county of Chaco, northwest of Buenos Aires.
06-23-1937 – Rust picker makes a hit: In Argentine, inventor says on return from South America – “John Rust is back in Memphis after a month of picking cotton in the Argentine.”
06-24-1937 – Rust Bros. promise new picker in fall: “Double machine” said to gather cotton quicker – “‘Our advanced picker will do away with the necessity of having to over the same row twice in order to get all the cotton,’ Mr. [John] Rust said. ‘It is really a double machine in which one cotton picking unit follows the other in tandem formation, thus cleaning the row in one operation. With it, two operators can pick twice as much cotton as formerly.”
07-24-1937 — $10.72 saving a bale, claim on Rust picker: Comparative figures after test on cotton in Mississippi – “The figures are a result of the test last season conducted on the plantation of John Fargason, Delta planter, who operates Clover Hill Plantation, near Clarksdale, Miss.”
08-05-1937 – United Press – ‘Electric eye’ on new cotton picker machine – An Illinois inventor today obtained a patent on a revolutionary cotton picking machine which utilizes the ‘electric eye,’ or photo-electric cell, to select only full ripened bolls for automatic plucking”
09-06-1937 – A new picker to start work / International Harvester Co. machine will go into fields this week – “A new streamlined commercial cotton picker, manufactured by International Harvester Co., is to be put into the fields this week on the plantation of Howell Hopson, near Clarksdale, Miss.”
09-07-1937 – Hopson plantation to test steamlined cotton picker – “The Hopson plantation […] will be used to demonsrate the streamlined commercial cotton picker manufactured by the International Harvester Co. officials of the company here announced today. […] The picker has arrived in Clarksdale and is at the local plant here. Officials said it represented 20 years of work.”
09-22-1937 – New cotton picker and drier to be shown in Delta soon – “The cotton picker manufactured by the International Harvester Co. already is at work on the 9000-acre plantation owned by the Hopson Planting Co. and under the management of H.H. Hopson.”
10-16-1937 – Clark Porteous, Press-Scimitar – Rust brothers reunited as Mack reaches Memphis: Cotton picker inventors said goodby last February in Tashkent, Russia – Tashkent is the capital of Uzbakistan (sic), a state in Tuskestan (sic). Mr. and Mrs. John Rust left Tashkent in February; Mr. and Mrs. Mack Rust stayed until Aug. 28. Mack was teaching the Russians how to use the machine. “For recreation, the Rusts played tennis mostly.”
10-25-1937 – Press-Scimitar – Robot Cotton Pickers: For the first time, machines probably will play a part in harvesting the South’s 1938 cotton crop / Rusts and IHC to sell pickers next year / Planters eager to sign for tryouts — story contrasts the Rust and the International Harvester pickers. “Both pick cotton by means of whirling spindles that penetrate the stalks as they pass thru a picking tunnel. Both are now mounted on a tractor, the Rust machine last year having been a pull-model. Both have tandem picking units in staggered formation picking the cotton from each side in one operation. One basic difference is in the type of spindles used. The Rust machine carries nearly 1300 long wire-like smooth spindles on an endless belt on each of its two picking units. The spindles are moistened to get a purchase on the cotton. The International machines has short, conical, heavy roughened spindles, 154 on each of the two cylinders.”
10-25-1937 – George Morris, Commercial Appeal — Robot cotton picker may widen farm size: WPA officials releases report on machine’s effect / High cost now handicap / use of mechanical devices would displace upward of 500,000 workers, government employe predicts
12-19-1937 – Hanaur-Berry Gamble Cotton Picker Pleases Soviet Visitor – “Charles R. Berry, who has taken up work on the picker after the death of his father, H.N. Berry, said today that officials of the Cotton Harvester Corporation have been delayed in coming here because of weather conditions.”
02-14-1938 – Rust cotton picker proves its value; 11 cents per 100 lbs. operating cost —
02-15-1938 – Rust brothers cite figures to prove worth of picker
03-24-1938 – Hand pickers cheaper; safe from machine / As long as they work for 75 cents per 100, says Roman L. Horne – Horne, formerly with Agricultural Adjustment Administration, writes in February Labor Information Bulletin.
05-20-1938 – Special to The Commercial Appeal – From planting to harvesting cotton crop – it’s all machinery. Arkansas farmer sees value of yielding to machine age, will use Rust cotton picker: Lower cost of production through more efficient operation is viewed by Lincoln Countian as solution to major problem – […] J.B.A. Johnson of Pine Bluff, who owns 1625 acres of land in Lincoln County, 40 miles southeast of Pine Bluff, is considered the pioneer of mechanized farming in Arkansas. […] Realizing the value of a successful mechanical cotton picker, Mr. Johnson welcomed a demonstration of the Rust machine on his farm last November. After the machine had been in operation for a little more than one hour, rain began to fall and continued for two weeks.” […] “Under the plan followed in the past […] Mr. Johnson had been hiring 75 to 100 negroes each day to pick his cotton.” Average picker was paid 85 cents to $1 per 100 pounds for cotton; average day’s picking per man or woman was 100 pounds. [bale is about 500 pounds] “Last year Mr. Johnson had only 400 acres in cotton. From this tract he gathered 270 bales of cotton, but said enough cotton for at least 75 bales was left in the field as it was not possible to gather all by hand labor before the rainy season ended the picking.”
08-24-1938 – Jack Bryan, Press-Scimitar — Rusts set up a foundation for workers: Own income from invention limited to ten times that of lowest-paid employe / Designed to make machine a blessing to South and not a curse – “Under a charter of incorporation to be applied for in Tennessee today, the brother-inventors of the robot cotton picker will try fixing a ceiling on their own incomes from the machine at 10 times that of the lowest paid employe.” according to the story, the rust foundation inc. “is to be a non-profit corporation. Its objects, as declared in the articles of incorporation, are ‘ in general to promote the well-being of mankind, and in particular to aid in rehabilitation of disemployed sharecroppers and farm laborers of the cotton growing states; and to carry on experiments, research and educational work with a view to finding a permanent solution to our problem of poverty and unemployment, and above all to preserve and extend our civil liberties.” so i checked the tennessee secretary of state’s corporations site, and the Rust Foundation was incorporated on Aug. 29, 1938. it’s identified as a for-profit corporation. its principal address was 2129 Florida Street, which is close to the location they built their first machines. (they’d assembled a whopping total of 20 by 1943, according to a news story.) the foundation was dissolved in 1983. “Announcement was made earlier by John Rust of plans to acquire a manufacturing plant in Memphis about the end of the year for production of the machines on a commercial scale for the 1939 picking season. Assembling of half a dozen machines for operation in the fields this year is being completed now at the Rust Cotton Picker plant at 2129 Florida.”
08-24-1938 – Rusts outline position; seek to aid workingman: Make machine a blessing to the South, not a curse; plan far-reaching program – By John Rust: “We prefer to sell the stock of the Rust Cotton Picker Company to people of moderate means in small blocks of from one to 10 shares. By placing our stock in the hands of middle class and working people, we are assured that most of the dividends they receive will be spent for consumers’ goods. This will tend to stimulate production, which in turn will help increase employment. At the same time the Rust Foundation will sue its funds to help rehabilitate the sharecroppers and farm laborers who lose their jobs because of the cotton picker.”
08-25-1938 – Rust brothers seek labor aid foundation: Hope to help pickers if robot replaces them – Rust brothers file a charter for incorporation of the Rust Foundation, for aid to individuals who will suffer if and when mechanical picking comes into its own.
08-29-1938 – Rust Foundation chartered in State of Tennessee, 2129 Florida Street. (Dissolved 03-17-1983)
10-31-1938 – Jack Bryan, Press-Scimitar — Rust picker not stopped by night – it does work of 50 men in 26 ½ hour test: Harvests more than bale an hour in heavy cotton – Field run at John T. Fargason Plantation.
02-25-1939 (?) – Rust refutes claims that cotton picker works only in dry weather – “Reports that mechanical cotton pickers are being kept off the market because of ‘dire results’ they would produce were called ‘a lot of advertising’ by N.C. Williamson, American Cotton Co-Operative Association president, in Washington yesterday. Williamson was asked about the matter by Senator Norris of Nebraska, and replied that latest models could operate only in dry territory and ‘lowered the grade of the cotton.’” […U.S. Sen. Ellison DuRant “Cotton Ed” Smith] Senator Smith, South Carolina, said at the committee hearing: ‘I think God made the only successful cotton picking machine a long time ago over in Africa.’”
03-26-1939 – Walter Kiernan, International News Service – Hope to free sharecroppers expressed by Rust brothers – […] “‘We don’t feel that it’s right to take more than 10 times what our lowest paid worker takes,’ John Rust puts it.” […] “There are now 12 machines in use, including two in Russia and one in Turkey.”
05-12-1939 – New cotton picker is simple and it’ll work, inventor says – “After 31 years of experimenting, L.C. Stukenborg of Memphis has put his ‘St. Louis Cotton Picker’ on the market. With its long tentacles writhing from an airy steel frame, the fully developed machine is on demonstration at 216 South Front.” “Mr. Stukenborg applied for his first patent on the picker in 1908 and has worked on it ever since. […] In 1936 the St. Louis Car Co., where some of Memphis’ street cars are made, became interested in his invention and the first picker was built.”
07-15-1939 – Rusts to start making pickers: West Virginia plant given exclusive contract – Arthurdale, W. Va. – Arthurdale Homestead’s tractor factory will be the exclusive production center for their machine. The Arthurdale Farm Equipment Corporation.
11-04-1939 – First Rust pickers off assembly line here for trial runs on farm in Delta – going to the Clover Hill Plantation of John T. Fargason near Clarksdale. The first was sold to Mr. Fargason. A machine has since been sold to the Queensland Cotton Board in Australia, and South America interests want four.
1940 – John and Mack didn’t work together after this year, according to Thelma Rust letter to Porter Fite. “In 1940 Rust sold his tools to help pay his debts” [ANB]. “ ‘There was a long time there,’ said G.E. Powell, who worked with Rust, ‘when he and his wife and his brother and his wife lived in this tiny apartment together, and they essentially lived on starvation wages.’ ” [Halberstam, The Fifties]
03-13-1940 – E.M. Rust to S.M. Rust: “”Mack seemed to think after the thing got to going, they may be through with it, except just helping where they could. He seemed to think that at first they would want to be very active in an engineering capacity, but he don’t know just how long they would have to be tied up with it. … he was very much interested in construction and would like to get a job with us if he could.”
1940 or 1941 – “We were from necessity forced to look for employment elsewhere. Both of us went to work for the Rust Engineering Company, Mack in Pittsburgh, and I as expediter on an Ordinance project at Canton, Ohio. Both the Rust Engineering Company, and its Vice President, E. Marshall Rust, were stockholders in The Rust Cotton Picker Company and we had their assurance that we would not be frozen on the job, but could be released for the cotton picking season. … E. Marshall Rust was another of those persons of great faith and considerable fortune. Aside from his interest in the cotton picker, he wanted to see us succeed as a matter of family pride. In his genealogy, Rust of Virginia, he reprinted a part of “The Cotton Picker” from Harper’s Magazine of September, 1936, by Robert Kenneth Straus…” [Rust] Thelma and Alma got work at Army Supply Depot in Memphis. Couldn’t get additional financing. “My brother became convinced that he would never amount to anything unless he got out on his own. So he moved his operations to Arizona [during the year 1942].” [Rust]
> BUSINESS ADDRESS FOR RUST COTTON PICKER: 2369 Florida Street: Office and shop were in garage building. [Rust]
04-20-1941 – Walter Durham, The Commercial Appeal — Poor man’s cotton picker invented by restaurateur – “Charles C. Ritnour is a tall, thin, cigar-smoking restaurant proprietor who spends his business hours joking with customers and his leisure tinkering with tools and inventing useful mechanical devices. Mr. Ritnour, whose restaurant and workshop is at 710 Union […]”
1942 – International Harvester announces it has production-ready model of a cotton picker.
10-08-1942 – Press-Scimitar – Mechanical cotton picker a war victim – “Tho a shortage of farm labor looms next year because of the war, production of Rust mechanical cotton pickers has been halted by the war. […] their plant at 2129 Florida has been closed since last December. No new machines have been assembled in more than a year. [… Mack Rust:] “‘So far WPB has not seen fit to give us a rating that would enable us to produce pickers.’”
04-20-1943 John Rust’s address in Memphis is 538 E. McKellar Avenue.
10-19-1943 – Rusts working on new picker to make bow in postwar era – “John Rust, who lives in Memphis, is operating machines on the Clover Hill Plantation at Lyon, near Clarksdale, Miss. His brother, Mack Rust, is operating other machines in Arizona.” […] “The Rust machine has never been in ‘mass production.’ Only about 20 have been built. Mr. Rust predicts they can be built at a cost of less than $1000 per unit to the farmer in volume production. Two were sold for use in the Turkestan cotton area in Russia; one was sold to the Argentine Cotton Board for use in the Chaco; two are in use in Australia; Mack Rust is operating several in Arizona and John Rust is operating several in the Mississippi Delta. The first full-sized machine was completed by the Rusts in 1928. It was designed to be horse-drawn.” […] “Mr. Rust believes the scarcity of labor has overcome the main objection to the picker itself.”
11-06-1943 – The Commercial Appeal — Cotton picker plant sought for Memphis: International Harvester to ask WPB approval for new factory – “… the company would make formal application to the War Production Board to approve construction of a new factory in Memphis. [..] The action will be taken, company officials said, in response to urgent appeals from cotton growers throughout the South who want mechanical cotton pickers to help overcome the acute labor shortage in cotton producing areas.” “The plant will exceed in size and employment any peace-time industrial plant now in Shelby County.”
12-03-1943 – Cotton picker hopes in 1944 not so bright / Even if WPB lets Memphis plant start, according to Business Week –
02-04-1944 – Letter from E M Rust to George M Rust re: “a lot of people get crazy ideas and have to get enough experience to educate themselves beyond it.”
02-14-1944 – Letter from Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co. to E. Marshall Rust
04-1944 – license agreement between John Rust and Allis-Chalmers [state supreme ruling in 1958 mentions it.]
10-15-1944 – The Commercial Appeal – Mechanical pickers successful in Delta: Seven machines get 65 bales in 15-hour period / Used on Hopson tract / ‘Robot’ field hands successfully invade Southland – “Seven mechanical cotton pickers, mounted on large red tractors, are picking cotton on the Hopson Plantation about two miles south of Clarksdale, Miss., on Highway 49.” “From the viewpoint of R.N. Hopson, business manager of the plantation, the machines are going get his crop picked and he has 1936 acres of cotton with which to be concerned. […] ‘For 15 or 16 years,’ Mr. Hopson said, ‘International Harvester has been coming here with various types of experimental cotton pickers. The present model is not an experiment in my opinion. It is a successful mechanical picker. We have bought seven of them.’”
10-30-1944 – Gerald L. Dearing — Machinery produces low cotton costs: Results of tests have convinced farmers of benefit
11-03-1944 – Tom Meanley, Press-Scimitar – Acre stripped in hour and 20 minutes / At $6 a bale picking cost / Grower of Delta amazed at mechanical performance at Hopson farm – “seven huge red monsters snorted down the rows, leisurely gobbling up cotton, belching the white gold into huge trailers half a bale at a time”
01-09-1945 – E Marshall Rust to George and Harry: “Unfortunately, the war came on and wrecked the Rust Cotton picker Co. which was licensed under the Rust Brothers patents to manufacture the machines. In the meantime, I have gotten old and decrepit, and while I have some ideas, I haven’t energy enough to do anything with this. I believe now, however, that John Rust is on the right road and they will finally make something out of their cotton picker.”
08-XX-1948 (date not clear) – Rust named in suit: Texan files action against cotton picker inventor – “Charging nonperformance of contract, J.L. Williams of Eastland, Texas yesterday filed suit in Chancery Court against John L. Rust and the Rust Cotton Picker Co. […]” Williams says in 1929 he entered into contract for half-interest in picker.
04-1949 – Rust and World Foundation execute license contract with Ben Pearson Inc. of Pine Bluff to manufacture cotton picking machines under Rust patents [state supreme ruling, 1958]
Summer 1949 – John Rust moved to Pine Bluff, where Ben Pearson Inc. began to manufacture his machine [ANB].
1951 – “We plan to come by to see you on our way to see our daughter, Mary, and her husband and our new granddaughter in Wichita.” [Rust letters to Fite]
12-22-1951 – World Foundation enters into agreement with National Bank of Commerce to collect royalties from Pearson and Allis-Chalmers, and disburse them to former stockholder of Rust Cotton Picking Company. Eventually pays out more than $250,000 [state supreme court ruling, 1958]
12-28-1951 – World Foundation transfer one-half of its assets to John Rust Company, an Arkansas business corporation.
12-29-1951 – World Foundation transferred one-half of all of its assets to the John Rust Foundation Inc., an Arkansas nonprofit benevolent corporation.
12-31-1951 – John D. Rust liquidates and terminates the World Foundation Trust, transferring remaining assets to The John Rust Foundation Inc.
09-26-1952 – John Rust’s high blood pressure, needs to take afternoon rests. [Rust letters to Fite]
10-12-1952 – John Rust presents fund to Arkansas U. / $25,000 scholarship grant is for agriculture study / Invented cotton picker – “John Rust of Pine Bluff, pioneer inventor and developer of the Rust Cotton Picker, Saturday announced the establishment of a $25,000 scholarship fund at the University of Arkansas. The scholarships – to be known as the John Rust Scholarships – will be made available for the first time this year.”
1953 – Rust wins a $61,000 (?) royalty suit against the Pearson company.
05-15-1953 – Jefferson County Chancery Court 28856: Mack D. Rust v. John D. Rust, et al.
05-17-1953 – Pine Bluff Commercial, page 1: “Eight Defendants Named in Suit filed by M. Rust” – defendants: 1) John D. Rust, 2) The World Foundation, a trust, John D. Rust, trustee; 3) Ben Pearson Inc. of Pine Bluff, 4) Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co.; 5) National Bank of Commerce of Pine Bluff; 6) Wallace A Clemons of New Orleans; 7) The John Rust Foundation Inc.; 8) The John D. Rust Company. Relief sought: $300,000, dissolving of partnership, temporary receiver. Alleges original partnership formed in 1928, giving 90 percent of business to John D. Rust, 10 percent to Mack D. Rust. In 1930, a “new agreement” was signed, giving MDR 40 percent of the firm and patents were obtained on machinery in U.S., Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and Russia. In 1932, MDR claims Wallace A. Clemmons was taken in as a “special partner” and given 10 percent interest in the sale of royalties. In 1942, machine “was demonstrated successfully in Arizona” In 1944, John D. Rust “entered into an agreement with Allis-Chalmers for manufacturing of machines and five years later signed a similar agreement with Ben Pearson.” John D. Rust is accused of “misappropriating and disapprobating funds to the detriment of the partnership.” Suit filed by the law firms of Flehr & Swain and Coleman Gantt and Ramsay. Lawrence Blackwell was appointed attorney ad litem for Mack D. Rust.
06-15-1953 – Milton Britten, Press-Scimitar – “John Rust, the man who invented the mechanical cotton-picker, said in Memphis today the mechanical revolution his invention started is only now beginning, but will, he believes, extend rapidly.” “‘At present,’ he said, ‘two companies are building my machine – Allis-Chalmers and Ben Pearson Inc., of Pine Bluff. Pearson has made about 1500 and Allis-Chalmers has produced a light, cheap picker that they price at about $2500.’”
01-21-1954 – John D. Rust dies; inventor of picker: Pioneer in mechanizing of cotton farms was 61 – died after a heart attack in his office, in Pine Bluff. “Mr. Rust and his brother, Mack Rust of Calinga, Calif., his collaborator on the mechanical cotton picker, spent considerable time during the late 1930s demonstrating their then-novel cotton picker in Southern cotton producing areas. They began work on the project as far back as 1927. He leaves his wife, Mrs. Thelma Rust; a daughter, Mrs. Marvin Turner of Wichita, Kan.; two sisters, Mrs. J.G. Butler of Sweetwater, Texas, and Mrs. N.B. Williamson of Marshall, Texas, and his brother.”
01-21-1954 – Pine Bluff Commercial, page 1 “Famous Inventor Dies Suddenly” – died working in his office in the Simmons National Building. Among schools that received grants: U of Arkansas, Ark State College at Jonesboro, Arkansas AM&N College in Pine Bluff, Mississippi State College, American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece. Member of the Congregational Church of Memphis, Rotary Club of Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff Country Club, Great Books Discussion Club. Survivors: Thelma Ford, Mrs. Marvin Turner of Wichita, sisters J.T. Butler of Sweetwater and M.D. Williamson of Marshall, Texas. Funeral held Jan. 22 at Ralph Robinson and Son. Officiated by Dr. Marshall Wingfield, pastor of First Congregational Church of Memphis, and Dr. W.L. McColgan, pastor of First Presbyterians of Pine Bluff. Pallbearers: John H. Jones, J C Reeves, Henry W. Gregory, Frank Fletcher, Ed Freeman, Jim McClellan, Felix W Ryals, Dr. M.E. Spurgeon and J.A. Osainach of Memphis, John T. Fergason Jr. of Lyons, Mass. [[could this be Fargason and Miss.]] and Walter Theis.
01-22-1954 – Pine Bluff Commercial, p5, no byline “Some Tributes To the Late John Daniel Rust” – “Pine Bluff’s first citizen is dead. John Rust, the man who did more to change our way of life than anyone else who has lived in our town, died last night.” “A man of lowly beginning, John Rust had seen the ragged, hungry, seamy side of life and somehow along the way had decided it didn’t have to be like that.” “He was deeply concerned with the language barrier which keeps people of one land from communication and co-operation with those of another.” “There was one idea that he held unshakably: he was convinced of the essential dignity of men. His completely unostentatious giving bears testimony to this belief. John Rust had the spirit of a liberal.”
04-10-1954 “It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that John is no longer with us. …. He was interested in the world about him and active to the end. I am glad I have my work and the background and experience necessary to carry it on. It helps to keep busy. John will always live in my heart and in his good works.” [Thelma Rust to Fite]
11-11-1954 – Jefferson County Chancery Court 29738: Mary A. Turner v. Thelma F. Rust, et al. “His widow, Thelma, who did not share her husband’s utopian dreams, managed to divert the royalties from a foundation he had established to her private estate and to buy a motel in Pine Bluff.” [Halberstam, The Fifties] [this characterization by Halberstam is incorrect, according to a number of sources.]
04-15-1956 – The Commercial Appeal – Harvester announces plans for two-row cotton picker
12-26-1956 – Mack chancery suit and Mary’s chancery suit dismissed, according to Thelma Rust letter to Porter Fite.
12-26-1956 – Pine Bluff Commercial, page 1 “Harris Orders Dismissal of Suit Against Rust Estate” – Chancellor Carleton Harris today filed orders dismissing for want of equity a suit filed against the estate of John Rust. “Harris found that a partnership was entered late by the brothers in August, 1928, but that it was terminated sometime between June, 1945, and July, 1947. … Mack Rust did nothing to contribute to the picker produced by Allis-Chalmers Corporation or by Ben Pearson.”
Chancellor Carleton Harris dismissed Mary Turner’s suit, citing doctrine of “estoppel by deed” – in other words, John D. Rust, as both trustee and sold owner of beneficial interest, was empowered to make assignments from World Foundation. Harris ruled: “Numerous letters and a course of conduct for a long period of years convince me that John Rust had no desire to individually own any of his properties, it seems that almost from the beginning, he held the idea of a trust to benefit mankind, and persistently and consistently furthered this idea. I find nothing to indicate, much less establish, that he had a selfish or ulterior personal motive or simply devised a scheme to promote gain for himself in establishing the trust.”
01-20-1958 (rehearing denied on 03-03-1958) – Opinion in Turner v. Rust. Appeal from Jefferson Chancery Court. Mary was sole heir of John Rust who died Jan. 20, 1954; Thelma is the surviving widow.
10-16-1959 – Norman Thomas here tomorrow: Agriculture workers union to hear Socialist at anniversary – “Organized agricultural workers will hear Norman Thomas, frequent socialist candidate for president at the 25th anniversary of the founding of the National Agricultural Workers Union at Rubber Workers’ Hall.” NAWU was formerly STFU.
10-17-1959 – Thelma Rust married J.B. “Jack” Parrish of Pine Bluff. Parrish died in 1973.
03-04-1973 – Pine Bluff Commercial, deaths, “B.J. Jack Parrish” – of 3701 Beech Street, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Son of James Stanley and Frances Leach Parrish. He was born at Weatherford, Texas. Founded KOTN-am in 1934 and operated it until Jan. 1, 1960 when he sold it to Winston S. “Buddy” Deane. Parrish was president of the John Rust Foundation, and initiated and generally supervised the establishment of its foundation farm. He was president of Parrish Inc., which bought the Admiral Benbow Inn off Hwy 65S in Nov. 1972. He’d been manager there since 1964. Survivors are former Thelma Ford, whom he married Oct. 17, 1959. Funeral services Monday, March 5.
03-18-1982 – Thelma Parrish (nee Ford, later Rust) dies. She’s buried in Louisiana. SS# 415-09-4342
03-18-1982 – Pine Bluff Commercial, short obit of Thelma Parrish
03-20-1982 – Pine Bluff Commercial, fuller obit of Thelma Parrish. She was chairman of the board of The John Rust Foundation as well as owner-operator of the Admiral Benbow Inn. She was a graduate of the law school at Memphis and Draughan Business College in Shreveport. Past president of the League of Women Voters of Arkansas and Tennessee.