George Rust (January 4, 1788 – September 18, 1857) was Virginia plantation owner, soldier and politician. During the War of 1812, Rust helped defend Baltimore, Maryland (where he later owned property and died), and rose to become a general in the Virginia militia, as well as the civilian superintendent of the arsenal at Harper's Ferry.

George Rust
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the Loudoun County, Virginia district
In office
December 7, 1818 – December 5, 1819
Serving with Robert Braden
Preceded byJoseph Lewis Jr.
Succeeded byStephen C. Roszel
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the Loudoun County, Virginia district
In office
1820 – November 30, 1823
Serving with Fayette Ball, Robert Braden, William Chilton
Preceded byStephen C. Roszel
Succeeded byFrancis Stribling
Personal details
BornJanuary 4, 1788
Loudoun County, Virginia, U.S.
DiedSeptember 18, 1857(1857-09-18) (aged 69)
Baltimore, Maryland
Occupationplanter, soldier, politician
Military service
Allegiance Virginia
 United States
Branch/service Virginia Militia
RankGeneral (USA)
Commandsarsenal at Harper's Ferry
Battles/warsBattle of Baltimore

Early and family life edit

George Rust was born in Loudoun County, Virginia to George Rust (1760–1850) and Elizabeth Rust (ca. 1766–1844), and spent part of his childhood in Prince George's County, Maryland. He married Maria Claggett Marlow (d. 1863), and they had nine children, of which seven survived childhood, including Olivia Maria (d. 1844), Mary Virginia (d. 1826), Mary Virginia Rust Yellott (1830–1914), Col. Armistead Thomson Mason Rust (1820–1887), Col. George Thomas Rust (1826–1900), Margaret Rust Bedinger (1818–1843) and Charlotte Rust Rogers (1836–1923).

Career edit

During the War of 1812, Rust helped defend Baltimore, Maryland during the Battle of Baltimore.

Loudoun County voters elected Rust as one of their two delegates in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1818–1819 (after George McCarty refused to take the oath required by the new Dueling Act) and he served along with experienced delegate Robert Braden. However, both were unseated in the 1819 election, and replaced by Fayette Ball and Stephen C. Roszel. While Ball was re-elected in 1820, so was Rust, and he was re-elected to the part-time position in the following two annual elections, serving until after the 1823 election, alongside William Chilton, then Robert Braden before Francis Stribling became the county's second delegate in the 1823 election.[1]

The Virginia General Assembly elected Rust as a brigadier general for the Virginia militia in 1824, hence his usual honorific. General Rust was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1828 (when he voted for Andrew Jackson) and again in 1852.[2]

Rust was appointed Superintendent of the U.S. Arsenal at Harper's Ferry in February 1830, and retired (still a civilian) from that post in March, 1837.[3] In the middle of his term, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reached the opposite shore. Rust also had business investments in Baltimore, including a hat and shoe store in the 1840–1846 and a bank in 1856.[4]

Rust built Rockland near Leesburg, Virginia about 1822. He also owned Exeter, a nearby plantation now destroyed.[5] He and Albert Rust also bought "Indian Town", a plantation in Lancaster County, Virginia in 1856.[4] 1850 Census records show that George Rust owned 33 slaves in Loudon County, VA.[6]

Death and legacy edit

General Rust died in Baltimore, Maryland on September 18, 1857, survived by his widow and several children and grandchildren. His remains were returned for burial in the Union Cemetery in Leesburg, Virginia.[7] His papers are at the Library of Virginia.[4] Other family papers are in collections of Leesburg's Thomas Balch Library,[8] and in Arkansas.[9]

Several of Rust's relatives served in the Confederate Army or legislature during the American Civil War. His nephew and business partner Albert Rust, who had moved to Arkansas and became a legislator, rose to become a Confederate general and fought many battles in Virginia, as well as spent many of his later years there. George Rust's son Colonel Armistead Thomson Mason Rust (1820–1887), a West Point graduate, fought with the 19th Virginia Infantry and inherited Rockland. Another relative, Dr. George W. Rust, served as a physician in various Confederate Hospitals as well as in the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1868.

The home that General Rust built, Rockland, remains owned by his descendants, was expanded by his grandson, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has now become an event venue with several outbuildings as well as farm fields.[10] However, the overseer's house on that estate is now owned separately.

References edit

  1. ^ Leonard, Cynthia Miller (1978). The General Assembly of Virginia, 1619–1978. Richmond: Virginia State Library. pp. 294, 304, 309, 314. ISBN 978-0-88490-008-5.
  2. ^ Proceedings of the Democratic National Convention. Baltimore: Robert Armstrong. 1852. p. 21. ISBN 9781425502911.
  3. ^ Harpers Ferry Education Materials Packet (PDF). National Park Service. 2009-08-22.
  4. ^ a b c "A Guide to the George Rust, Jr. Papers, 1788, 1815–1858 Rust, George, Jr., Papers, 1788, 1815–1858 24688".
  5. ^ Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Staff (January 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form: Exeter" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  6. ^ The National Archive in Washington DC; Washington, DC; NARA Microform Publication: M432; Title: Seventh Census Of The United States, 1850; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census; Record Group Number: 29
  7. ^ "Gen George Rust (1788–1857) – Find A Grave..."
  8. ^ "A Guide to the Rust Family Papers, 1791–2009, n.d. M 087".
  9. ^ "Rust Family Collection, 1844–1913". Ar Studies. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  10. ^ Wells, John (1987). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form: Rockland" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2017-09-16.