James Rumsey (1743–1792)
This inventor, born in Maryland, began experimenting with using steam to propel boats in the early 1780s and demonstrated on the Potomac, in 1787, what many believe was the first steamboat in the United States.
"A discovery of vast importance"
After witnessing a demonstration of Rumsey’s steamboat on September 6, 1784, George Washington provided him with a certificate stating that he considered the discovery to be of " vast importance."
* BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION from:
Dictionary of American Biography,
New York State Library call number: A,920.073,qD55a