Elisha Rumsey

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After filing their claim, the two men went back to Ann Arbor to fulfill their vision of the new town. Rumsey's house was built first. It turned out to be a hotel where new arrivals to the town were housed until homes for them could be built. In 1825, the building was completed and named the Washtenaw Coffee House, becoming Ann Arbor's first hotel and first cafe. Allen advertised and sold land while Rumsey and his wife worked to make the new citizens as comfortable as possible by housing them in the hotel and providing meals. It seems the partnership between Allen and Rumsey worked well. While Allen concerned himself with the business side of forming the community, Rumsey concerned himself with the human aspect of things once the people arrived.
Not much is known about Elisha Rumsey as a person. The few personal accounts leave much to be desired, but Rumsey does not remain a complete mystery. According to a reminiscence from a Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, Rumsey was "a commonplace man both in ability and appearance".(6) However, this report is contradicted by a description, from another reminiscence by a Mr. Morton, of the time had by some guests from Ypsilanti during a New Years Eve dance held at Rumsey's hotel in 1824. Rumsey is described as "a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and . . . he knew how to keep a hotel."(7)

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