September 6, 1892
John Daniel Rust, who invented the first practical spindle cotton picker in the late 1930s, was born near Necessity, Texas. The Rust cotton picker threatened to wipe out the old plantation system and throw millions out of work, creating a social revolution. The Rust Cotton Picker Company, however, lacked financing for commercial production and slipped into bankruptcy. After World War II, the use of mechanical pickers produced by others slowly increased across the Cotton South, and the Rust cotton picker eventually achieved commercial success. Late in his life, Rust moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). After years of hardship, he had finally became a wealthy man. He repaid his sponsors and established scholarships at colleges in Arkansas and Mississippi. He died in 1954, just as the use of mechanical cotton pickers moved the South into a new era of agribusiness. He is buried in Graceland Cemetery at Pine Bluff.