Lee County Biography

Theodore Rust

Theodore Rust, who is engaged in the jewelry business on First Street in Dixon was born at Helgelen, an island in the North Sea. His father, Charles Rust, was born in Bavaria, Germany, and was a son of Dr. Peter Van Rust, a prominent physician and minister of the Lutheran Church. By the members of the family who have come to America the title part of the name, Van, has been dropped. The Doctor was the medical attendant and also the spiritual adviser and secretary of the Queen of Bavaria. He lived during an important epoch in the history of that country and his counsel was much sought by the Queen who renounced the Catholic religion and accepted the Lutheran faith. Dr. Van Rust spent his entire life in Munich, as one of its most prominent citizens, and died at the age of sixty years.

Charles or Carl Van Rust, father of our subject, was his only son. He was educated for the Lutheran ministry, but not wishing to enter that profession, he went to England and became a lieutenant in the British Army. He fought for seven years in the German Wars against Denmark and Sweden and throughout his life followed a military career. In England he was stationed at a garrison and during that time married Eliza Rimus, who was born on the island where our subject's birth occurred. Some years afterward at about the time the late war broke out, Mr. Rust came with his family to the United States and aided Gen. Black in organizing the cavalry troops of Rhode Island. With the cavalry ho then went to the South and afterward was made Quartermaster General with headquarters in New York City and Washington. He served in the regular army for some time and died from sickness and the effects of a wound in New Orleans, at the age of forty-two years. His widow, who is now sixty-five years of age resides in New York, where four of her children also make their homes, namely: Peter, a book-keeper; Anna and Charles who are living with their mother; and Emma, wife of George Stekewaldt.

Theodore Rust, the member of the family in whom the citizens of Lee County are most interested, crossed the Atlantic with his parents and in 1863 came to the West, locating in Dixon. He afterward returned, however, to New York, and thence went to Hamburg, Germany, where he learned the jewelry trade. After mastering the business he returned to this country and for some time worked as a jeweler in Detroit, Mich., St. Paul, Minn., Denver, Col. and New York. He made a permanent location in Dixon in 1879, and in the years which have since come and gone has built up an excellent trade. On the 10th of August, 1886, he bought out E. J. Hobart and now has a fine store, occupying the cost; half of a large room, 22x 72 feet. He does all kind of general repairing in the jewelry line and carries a large and complete stock.

In Geneseo, N. Y., Mr. Rust led to the marriage altar Miss Alice Williams, a native of the Empire State, born of Scotch parentage. When she was a young maiden her parents removed to Baltimore, where she was educated, becoming a cultured lady. She holds membership with the Episcopal Church, and has a host of warm friends throughout the community. Her home is the abode of hospitality and all who know her esteem her highly. Mr. Rust takes considerable interest in civic societies. He is a Knight Templar Mason and belongs to the Modern Woodmen and the Independent Order of Red Men, of which he is Past Great Prophet. With the determination to succeed he entered upon his life work and as the result of his industry, good management and by the exercise of correct business principles he has worked his way upward to a position of affluence.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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