Benjamin Rumsey – Continental Congressman – Maryland


Benjamin Rumsey (October 6, 1734 – March 7, 1808) was an American jurist from Joppa, Maryland. He served as a delegate for Maryland in the Continental Congress in 1776 and 1777. For over twenty-five years, beginning in 1778, he was the chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Benjamin was born at Bohemia Manor in Cecil County, Maryland. After attending Princeton, he read law and was admitted to the bar. He settled in Joppa before 1768 and lived there the rest of his life.

Rumsey was first elected to Maryland’s lower house in 1771 as a member for Cecil County. After Harford County was formed in 1773, he represented it. He also represented it in the revolutionary conventions held between 1774 and 1776. Maryland sent him to the Continental Congress for three sessions in 1776 and 1777.

When a new state superior court (the Maryland Court of Appeals) was created in 1778, Rumsey was appointed as its first chief justice. He held that post until his retirement in 1806. He died at home in Joppa in 1808 and is buried in the Old St. John’s Church Cemetery there.