Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 54, Part IV

By Holice and Debbie

We find that prior to 1850 Mr. Edward W. Laight was President of the New York board of Fire Insurance companies, and was succeeded in 1850, 1851, and 1852 by Nathaniel Richards, Mr. George T. Hope, being Secretary. The first call for statement from insurance companies was made from the Comptroller's Office, Albany, on Jan. 7, 1829, by Wm. L. Marcy. The Revised Statutes provided that only corporations thereafter created should file annual statements, so that it was not until 1864 that all insurance companies, compelled by the new law to do so, sent in their reports. The first new York Fire Insurance Company to file a statement was the New York in 1833, the year after its creation. It was as follows:

The following balance sheet exhibits a statement of the property and funds of this company January 9, 1833:

Amount of Capital Paid in December 18, 1832


Amount of Premiums secured up to January 7-9, 1833




By amount of loans on bank stocks


By amount of loans in public stock


By amount of loans on bond and mortgage on real estate


By amount of expenses, viz., furniture, books, etc.


By amount of loans on cash in Merchants' and Trader's Bank


By amount of cash in iron chest on hand




In 1883 Comptroller A. C. Flagg rapped the following New york Stock fire insuranbce Companies over the knuckles, reminding them not only of the financialpenalty, bu that a failure to report within a month of the receipt of the circular, laid them open to dissolution as insolvent corporations (I. R. S. � 22, p. 594): American, Bowery, Clinton, City, Firemen's, Guardian, Jefferson, Long Island, Mechanics', New York, National, Phoenix, Sun and Union.

The reports to Comptroller Flagg for 1835 had black eyes. "Losses by the late fire in the First Ward of this city" played havoc with the capital. The Stock Companies which made reports from the city were the City, loss, $156,000; Greenwich, $35,182.73; Guardian, $300,000; Bowery, New York, $100.00. In the reports for 1836 we find the City, among its assets, gibing a claim for property blown up with gunpowder, $24,244.95. the East River reported its capital swept away by the fire, etc., the commencement of new business with $250,000 of new capital. The Jefferson included in claims against it that of Evans & Carmen, whose store was blown up by order of the Corporation of the City amounts to $6,650, and acknowledged the impairment of its

capital. The Merchants' took advantage of "An Act for the benefit of certain Insurance Companies in the City of New York" passed 12th of February, 1836. The New York, in its assets, $8,000 due from the United States Bank surplus on an assignment of a bond and mortgages as collateral security for money borrowed to pay wages. The North American speaks of bonds and mortgages coming to it as receivers of the late Phoenix Insurance Company. In the reports for 1845, the great fire of that year is alluded to. In December, 1848, comptroller Millard Fillmore suggested to the Legislature the taxation of Mutual Insurance companies. He also addressed a circular to the Mutual Fire Insurance Companies of the State requiring reports, and received a few from suburban companies, one of which was as follows:

Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company of Sherburne, Chenango County. Only loss since the Company was chartered is eleven dollars. N. B.--This company has stopped business in consequence of Mutual Companies having become of late rather unpopular. Most of the policies run out in 1850.--December 29, 1848. B. H. Marks, Secretary.

The Act of April 10, 1849, placed Fire Insurance Companies incorporated in other states, and doing business in the State of new York, virtually on an equality with the companies of the State, and subjected them to the same restrictions. They were required, if they did business in new York or King's County, to have a capital of $150,000. Under the law the following Joint-Stock fire Insurance companies filed reports for 1849: Aetna of Hartford, American of Philadelphia, Columbia of Philadelphia, Columbus of Ohio, Delaware Mutual Safety of Philadelphia, Franklin of Philadelphia, Franklin of Boston, Hartford of Connecticut, State of Pennsylvania, Merchants' of Kentucky, Lexington of Kentucky, Manufacturers; of Boston, Merchants of Boston, Nashville of Tennessee, National of Boston, Neptune of Boston, Norwich of Connecticut, North American of Philadelphia, Protection of Hartford, Protection of New Jersey, Providence Washington of Rhode Island, and Tennessee of Nashville.

The president and Secretary of the new York Board of Fire Insurance Companies from 1850 to 1858, when the "Salamanders," became the "New Association," and to 1865, when the Paid Department "came in," were:

1850, 1851 and 1852: Nathaniel Richards, President; George T. Hope, Secretary.
1853: Joshua S. Underhill, President; George T. Hope, Secretary.
1854: Mr. J. S. Underhill, President; Mr. Hope resigned on account of illness, and was succeeded by Milton J. Smith, who continued in office until 1859.
1855, 1856: Mr. J. S. Underhill, President.
1857: Richard J. Thorne, President.
1858: year of reorganization, the officers and committeemen were:
President--Joseph Walker, of the Security Insurance Co.
Vice-President--George C. Satterlee, of the Washington.
J. Milton Smith, of the Home.
Treasurer--Charles H. Birney, of the East River.


Executive Committee

George T. Hope, of the Continental Insurance Company,
C. V. B. Ostrander, of the Merchants',
Jonathan D. Steele, of the Niagara,
Richard J. Thorne, of the New York Equitable,
Joseph Hoxie, of the Commonwealth,
Stephen Crowell, of the Phoenix,
Benjamin W. Benson, of the Beekman.

Committee on Rules

Edward A. Stansbury, of the Metropolitan Insurance Company,
J. Milton Smith, of the Home,
George W. Savage, of the Jersey City,
Wm. F. Underhill, of the People's,
Wm. Mulligan, of the Humboldt,
Wm. W. Henshaw, of the Long Island,
Thomas Greenleaf, of the Hope.

Committee on Deviations

Horatio Dorr, of the Atlantic Insurance Company,
Walter Underhill, of the Merchants' and Traders',
Richard Ten Eyck, of the Williamsburgh,
J. V. Harriott, of the Firemen's,
Doras L. Stone, of the Hanover,
E. B. Fellows, of the Rutgers'
Wm. Jaffray, of the Park.

Committee on Fire Patrol

C. V. Anderson, of the Lorillard Insurance Company,
Daniel Underhill, of the New York Fire and Marine,
Frederick R. Lee, of the Stuyvesant,
Thomas F. Jeremiah, of the Pacific,
H. M. Forrester, of the Broadway,
John G. Storm, of the Lenox,
James M. Rankin, of the Fulton.

Committee on Heating and Buildings

Henry A. Oakley, of the Howard Insurance Company,
A. B. McDonald, of the Royal,
Ed Anthony, of the Lamar,
John H. Funk, of the LayFayette,
John S. Tappan, of the Union Mutual,
James H. Pinckney, of the Relief,
Wm. Callender, of the Harmony.

Committee on Application for Membership

James M. Halstead, of the American Insurance Company,
Thomas W. Thorne, of the National,
Joseph Ketchum, of the Corn Exchange,
Jacob Brouer, of the Aetna,
R. W. Bleecker, of the North American,
Thomas A. Emmet, of the New World,
John C. Bergh, of the Columbia.


Mr. Walker, President; Mr. W. F. Underhill, became Secretary, and held the office until 1864.


Mr. G. S. Fox, was elected president, but declined to serve, and Mr. Richard J. Thorne, was elected and served in 1861 and 1862.


Mr. John D. Steele, President.

1864, 1865

Mr. George t. Hope, president, and Mr. Robert D. Hart, Secretary.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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