Mary Ann Rumsey

In the same way the record of Elisha Rumsey's life before and after founding Ann Arbor is short and not particularly illuminating, so is the record of his wife, Mary Ann Rumsey. She was the first woman to arrive in Ann Arbor when she settled in the area with her husband and John Allen in February of 1824. Information about Mary Ann comes from a journal written in the mid-1800s. Godey's Magazine and Lady's Book contains an article entitled, "The Pioneer Mothers of Michigan." The essay was written by Mrs. Ellet, but it was prepared by Miss Mary Clark, who ran the Clark Boarding School for Girls in Ann Arbor. From Ellet's essay, it is evident that Mary Ann Rumsey was a resistant pioneer who worked hard and cooked well.
The typical image attached to a woman settler grinding out a living on the new frontier is one of a no-nonsense attitude and resiliency that withstands the elements of the wild. Mrs. Ellet portrays Mary Ann as possessing "a cheerful disposition, a disregard of hardships, and a resolute way of making the best of everything" (267).1

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