Pete and Ellen Rust
Pete and Ellen Rust lived on the Home on the Range property longer than anyone else in its history and were instrumental in the Cabin remaining on its original site.
Mr. and Mrs. Rust were married in 1933. They were members of Zion Lutheran Church, Athol, KS and later First St. John, Kensington, KS, living their Christian faith by sharing with those around them. They first lived on the 1/4 section just north of this site, moving to this location with its 2-story house in 1936. They made a purchase contract with Lewis Hatch becoming owners in January, 1950 after making their final payment. They continued to live on, farm and care for the property until Mr. Rust's death in 1986. In 1974, they built the white house that is near the Home on the Range Cabin.
Mr. and Mrs. Rust lived a difficult life, the Great Depression in their youth and the dirty 30's after their marriage. They worked very hard, side by side, in their early years of marriage making do with very little. They were not materially blessed until the 1970's when they were able to sell some appreciated land. They enjoyed, especially Pete, this location as in his early years he loved to hunt and while hunting found and collected a large display of Native American artifacts. Ellen loved to cook which was a great delight to their nieces and nephews, always providing treats when any would visit. Pete and Ellen were never blessed with children of their own but were a blessing to their nieces and nephews and later grand-nieces and nephews.
Today the Home on the Range Cabin continues to stand on its original site because of Pete and Ellen's foresight, determination and financial sacrifice to ensure the Cabin would not be moved. After it was legally proven to have been homesteaded by Dr. Higley and the Cabin was of his construction, two separate large financial offers were made to the Rusts and on each occasion the offers were refused. Ellen, even in death, continues financial support. She established the Ellen Rust Living Trust which contained a directive to donate the Home on the Range Site to a private charitable organization, thereby ensuring the Cabin will be maintained on its original site. The Ellen Rust Living Trust trustees selected The Peoples Heartland Foundation as the charitable organization.