Julian S. Rumsey

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Juliam S. Rumsey
Occupation CBOT President (1858-59), Mayor of Chicago (1861-62)
Location Chicago

Julian Sidney Rumsey was a shipping company owner who was a founding member of the Chicago Board of Trade. He served as the president of the CBOT in 1858 and 1959, then served as mayor of Chicago at the beginning of the U.S. Civil War (1861-1862).[1]

Rumsey was a founding member of the Lake Geneva Yacht Club in southern Wisconsin where he maintained a summer home.[2][3]


Rumsey was born born in Batavia, New York, 3 April, 1823 and died in Chicago, Illinois, 20 April, 1886.[4] Rumsey, the 18th mayor of the City of Chicago, is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, home to many late mayors and prominent Chicagoans.[5][6]

Rumsey arrived in Chicago in 1835 to work for a shipping company owned by his uncle, George Washington Dole. The firm, known initially as Newberry and Dole, is credited with sending out the first shipment of grain from Chicago in 1839.[7] In 1852, Rumsey's uncle retired, and with his brother George who had joined the firm, the name was changed to Rumsey Brothers. The firm devoted itself exclusively to the grain commission business.

He was a founding member of the Chicago Board of Trade and served two years as its president, in 1858 and 1859. He was one of the primary movers behind implementing the stringent grain inspection that established Chicago's solid reputation in the national grain markets.[8]

He was also president of the Corn Exchange Bank at the time of the Chicago Fire of 1871.[9][10][11] Rumsey was subsequently elected Cook County treasurer after the fire.[12]

Rumsey was a strong supporter of the Union during the U.S. Civil War, during which he was mayor of Chicago during its early years. He offered the Chicago Board of Trade's meeting rooms to new recruits andto show their gratitude a group of volunteer soldiers dubbed themselves the Rumsey Rifle Guard. As a protective measure, Rumsey had 500 muskets sent from Springfield, IL to Chicago to protect Chicago during the Civil War.[13]

Personal Life[edit]

In 1849 in Chicago, Rumsey and his brother George cleared away trees to make Huron Street, where they both built large homes between Rush Street and Cass, now called Wabash.[14] The house burned down in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Rumsey also owned property in southern Wisconsin in the Lake Geneva area, including near Button's Bay. He sold off a piece of property totally 8 acres along the Geneva Lake shore that would become the Geneva Inn, formerly called The Shore Club.[15] After the Chicago Fire, Rumsey initially moved his family to Lake Geneva.

From his home in Lake Geneva, Rumsey was a founding member of the Lake Geneva Yacht club and involved in early yacht races on the lake. In 1874, in a race organized for the benefit of visiting General Philip Sheridan, his boat named Nettie, a class of boat called a sandbagger, won first place in a race. Sailors in the race had collected about two hundred dollars for a trophy, to be called the Sheridan Prize, that was to be a perpetual trophy raced for each year. When Rumsey's Nettie took first place, the contributors decided to use the two hundred dollars for a silver model of Nettie instead of the cup they originally envisioned. The trophy, and the three trustees chosen to watch over it, constitute the genesis of the Lake Geneva Yacht Club.

Rumsey and his wife Martha Turner Rumsey had ten children.