Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Rumseys in:
 • St Margaret Churchyard
 • Westminster
 • City of Westminster
 • Greater London
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
James Rumsey
Birth: 1743
Death: Dec. 24, 1792
City of London
Greater London, England

Inventor. He was a mechanical engineer credited with exhibiting the first boat propelled by machinery on the Potomac River, in 1787. Prior to the American Revolution, he had relocated to Maryland, before settling in Bath, Virginia, in 1782. There he ran a water mill, built houses and became a partner in a mercantile business. In September 1784, George Washington contracted Rumsey to build a house and stable on property he owned at Bath. During this visit, he showed Washington a working model of a mechanical boat which he had designed with a bow mounted paddlewheel that worked poles to pull the boat upstream. In July 1785, Washington appointed Rumsey to work on the Potomac River clearing rocks for the Harper's Ferry Boat Company. Rumsey had concluded that the pole-boat design was limited and incorporated steam propulsion system to his design, making his boat much more useful. Thus, even though the work required much manual labor, his functional steam propelled craft became a constant ship for river use. His pole boat mechanism was abandoned in 1786, for a better boiler, more efficient, smaller and lighter, functioning steam engine. On December 3, 1787, his boat made a very successful public demonstration on the Potomac at Shepherdstown. His patents for all the pumps, motors and hydraulic cylinders of fluid power engineering, were issued in 1791, almost 40 years before it next turbine water steam system appeared in France. (bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith) 
St Margaret Churchyard
City of Westminster
Greater London, England
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Nov 23, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 7075
James Rumsey
Added by: quebecoise
James Rumsey
Added by: John "J-Cat" Griffith
James Rumsey
Added by: Kieran Smith
There is 1 more photo not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- R I P
 Added: Dec. 24, 2014

- James Snow
 Added: Dec. 24, 2014
- Dolores
 Added: Dec. 1, 2012
There are 25 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.4 after 20 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service