The Early Political Landscape

(parenthetical and italicized editorial comments included pending researcher's revision of the document)
On May 25, 1824, John Allen and Elisha Rumsey went into the federal land office of Wayne County and claimed some 650 acres of land 40 miles west of Detroit, land to be known as Annarbour. Although the story of Allen and Rumsey is not a particularly romantic one, it describes the beginning of the evolution of a small frontier town into the thriving metropolis known as Ann Arbor today. 
The reasons Allen and Rumsey founded Ann Arbor are dubious; money was one driving factor. The two men dreamed of wealth because so may others in their time were achieving large fortunes. Additionally, some sources suggest both Allen and Rumsey had troubled pasts and were running away from them. No one can say with confidence what real reasons stood behind the founding of Ann Arbor; the end results far outweigh any underlying motives the men may have had, whether they were selfish motives or not.  
[More about the founding of the city]
It is likely John Allen left Virginia because he wanted to leave his debts behind. When he left for the Northwest Territory, hoping to become wealthy, he saw an opportunity to make money in area that would become Ann Arbor. Rumsey may have left his home in New York for a similar reason. He misused funds from a loan 
Allen and Rumsey purchased the land west of Detroit at a very low price. In 1820, Congress passed a law that allowed the sale of government lands for no less than $1.25 an acre. In hindsight, they couldnąt have made a more remarkable business move. 
In order for their town to be successful, the two men needed something more than land. Michigan Territory Governor Lewis Cass chose Allen and Rumsey's plat as the county seat for Washtenaw County. Allen and Rumsey paid a price for this honor ­ one thousand dollars and any land that was needed for the associated government buildings. Having such buildings all but insured the economic and political success of Ann Arbor.