Rumsey Family - Table of Contents

Aaron Rumsey

History Beneath Illustrations

Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information

Aaron Rumsey

Aaron Rumsey

Bronson Case Rumsey

Dexter P. Rumsey

See also:
A panoramic sketch of
Delaware Avenue
by an Artist from the
Tower of Westminster

Aaron Rumsey mansion on Delaware & North Sts.
See also

Williams House which replaced the Rumsey House

Rumsey & Son Tannery in Holland, NY

See also:
A panoramic sketch of Delaware Avenue  by an Artist from the Tower of Westminster

Rumsey Monument, Forest Lawn Cemetery

Aaron Rumsy, ca. 1820, probably a wedding portrait
Photo courtesy of  Nicholas P. and Monica S. Rumsey

Sophia Phelps Rumsey, ca 1820, probably a wedding portrait because Sophia is wearing a French Lace Wedding Bonnet, a style that was popular around the time they were married, 1819.
Photo courtesy of  Nicholas P. and Monica S. Rumsey

The text below is excepted from
Buffalo's Delaware Avenue: Mansions and Families
By Edward T. Dunn.
Pub. by
Canisius College Press 2003, pp. 153-154

The home of Aaron, progenitor of the Buffalo Rumseys, was on the northwest corner of Delaware and North, and that of his younger son, Dexter Phelps Rumsey, a block north on the southwest corner of Delaware and Summer. When they were built in the 1850s they were both way up the Avenue.

Aaron Rumsey was born in Hubbardstown, Vermont, in 1797. His brother Calvin had left home and settled in Warsaw where he set up and operated a tannery. Aaron walked all the way across the state to join him.

In Warsaw Aaron married Sophia Phelps in 1819. They had two sons, Bronson Case, born in 1823, in Warsaw, and Dexter Phelps, born in 1827 in Westfield.

The family came to Buffalo in 1832 and lived on the west side of Ellicott north of Seneca. By now Aaron had built several tanneries throughout Western New York. Of this industry Walter Dunn writes: "Railroads had made Buffalo a cattle mart as well [as a milling center], a fact taken advantage of by Jacob Dold and Christian Klink to set packing firms. ... Slaughter of animals inevitably set tanneries going, George Palmer's and Aaron Rumsey's among the earliest:"

Hides shipped down Lake Erie from the West sold cheap in the Buffalo market. Heavy stands of hemlock in the vicinity provided cheap bark. As a consequence tanneries multiplied, the manufacture of leather throve. By 1835 at least every town in the county [Erie] had a tannery, some two or three.

Notable were those in [East] Aurora and Holland built by Aaron Rumsey in 1843 and 1850; notable also the one opened in 1849 in Lancaster by Myron P Bush and George Howard. Less extensive was Jacob Schoellkopf's Hamburg tannery of 1843; but Schoellkopf's enterprise was not limited to Hamburg. Like Howard, Bush and Rumsey, he developed his most ambitious concerns in Buffalo, where by the middle fifties about a dozen tanneries fumed profitably, representing a capital of $1,000,000 and employing about 500 workmen, the auspicious start of an industry that would expand to large proportions in the years to come.

In 1838 Rumsey took on as a partner George Howard. The result was Rumsey & Howard; in 1842 Howard left and formed a partnership with John Bush, forming Bush & Howard. In 1847 Aaron took on his sons, Bronson and Dexter, who had been clerking for him, as partners in Aaron Rumsey & Company. Its Buffalo operation was on Exchange Street across from the Central Station.

From Ellicott Street Aaron moved in 1853 to #53 East Swan, since Ellicott, Washington, and Exchange Streets were going commercial. Swan at the time was judged a desirable residential location, but it too was succumbing to commercialization, and Aaron moved again, this time two and a half miles north to Delaware and North.

Delaware and North

In 1856 he bought "a large tract of land between what is now North and Summer Streets, facing and extending west from Delaware Avenue," upon which he built the red-brick mansion into which he moved in 1856. The barn matched the main house and the glass conservatory on North was the most unique structure ever seen by most Buffalonians.

The land purchase was not merely for a home. Aaron was investing his profits in real estate around the city. With its rapid growth during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, his heirs would be most grateful for his choice.

He died in 1864, and his widow in 1870.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2004
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| ..

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.