After almost 40 years, the officers and members of the Society decided this year to discontinue it as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation in the State of West Virginia. The Society had ceased to demonstrate the Experiment , and both the steamboat and the James Rumsey Boathouse had been made a part of the Shepherdstown Museum. The active members were aging, and with no need for massive fundraising for new projects or a corporate structure to administer old ones it was time to revert to a loose collection of friends who periodically meet for pizza and discuss pre-industrial technology.
This is the third Rumseian Society. The first was created to develop the inventor’s designs, and it ended with his death. The second was created to build the Rumsey Monument, and it ended with the official transfer of the Monument and Park to the town. This, the third, was founded by Jay Hurley and John Farrior in 1983 to build a replica of Rumsey’s steamboat for the 1987 bicentennial of the original. It may be that another purpose will arise, to create another version of the Society. But, in the meantime, this website will continue to be maintained, questions about James Rumsey answered, and the Annual Meeting will continue.