Guide to the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company Records 1902-1912
Cage 21

Summary Information

Repository
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Creator
Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company
Title
Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company Records
ID
Cage 21
Date [inclusive]
1902-1912
General Physical Description note
57 linear feet of shelf space.
Language
English
Abstract
A national fire insurance firm of Walla Walla, Washington, and Chicago, Illinois, whose failure in 1908 brought most of its records together for receivership. Included are correspondence, ledgers, surrendered certificates, loss claims, minutes and account books, and policy and loss ledgers. Also included are some records of the Merchants' Fire Association of Seattle, a mutual fire insurance firm, 1902-1907, a predecessor organization.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 21, Guide to the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company Records. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

The papers of the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company, which was in active business during the years 1907 and 1908 and which had its home offices at Walla Walla, Washington and its general offices at Chicago, Illinois, consist of such papers as the receivers were able to collect and preserve when the company failed in late 1908. As the collection consists of the papers used in the liquidation of the company, the collection must properly be regarded as the documentation of the dissolution of the company, rather than of its operation.

Although in business for only 23 months, the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company had an extremely complex history. Originally conceived as a stock company to succeed the mutual firm operating under the name of the Merchants' Fire Association, portions of whose records are included in this collection, the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company rapidly became a nationwide writer of fire insurance, operating, in effect, from central offices in Chicago. The history of the company was characterized by several fights over control and policy, as evidenced by considerable shifting of officers and executive personnel. In its last days, the company was to be reorganized as a new corporate entity, a move stalled only by lawsuits and receivership petitions.

The main persons involved with the direction of the company were: (1) Charles H. Spencer, former manager of the Merchants' Fire Association, the first Secretary, General Manager of the company in its early months, and, after having been forced from that position, manager of the Chicago office; (2) Calvin Holloway, President of the company and later attorney for the Chicago office, concurrently with being overall head of the company; (3) Orrin Parker, a financial associate of Holloway's, who provided most of the capital for organization of the company, subject to reservations which lead to the lawsuit ending operations of the company; (4) O.P. Conaway, an insurance executive who replaced Spencer as Secretary and de facto manager of the home office and who later was the head underwriter at Chicago, concurrently with his other positions; (5) J.A. McGhee, Assistant Secretary, who was left in charge when the other officers moved to Chicago, and who was the first receiver of the company; (6) W.D. Church, manager of the Seattle branch office; and (7) Dorsey Hill, an official of Walla Walla County and Whitman College, who became the second receiver of the company and who undertook its liquidation.

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Arrangement note

The collection is broken up into four distinct series, plus a fifth which consists solely of papers added to the collection three years after its initial processing.

Series one (Correspondence, 1904-1912) consists of such correspondence as the receiver of the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company was able to secure at the time of the failure of the company. It is mainly the files of the branch offices in Spokane, Tacoma and Seattle, with some of the home office correspondence included and occasional items from general agency offices. The general correspondence of the receivers is also included, as are a few personal items of persons connected with the company.

Series two (Claims, 1908-1912) is divided into three subseries. 2.1 is unfiled papers related to claims. 2.2 is reports from agencies and general agencies at the time of failure. 2.3 is policy holder claims, mostly for return premiums on unexpired insurance, with some for fire losses and other reasons. Also surrendered policies.

Series three is ledgers, minute books, checkbooks, journals, account books, agency records, policy registers, policy indexes, loss registers, stock book, and receivers' accounts.

Series four (Merchants' Fire Asssociation Papers, 1902-1907) consists of records of the Merchants Fire Association of Seattle, a mutual insurance firm which was the predecessor of the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company; its accounts, policy registers, and reports were passed to the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company.

Series five consists of seven boxes which were added to the collection in 1975

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1972

http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610
509-335-6691
mascref@wsu.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Merchants' Fire Association --Archives
  • Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company --Archives

Subject(s)

  • Business, Labor, and Industry
  • Insurance companies--Washington (State)--Seattle--Records and correspondence
  • Insurance companies--Washington (State)--Walla Walla--Records and correspondence
  • Insurance, Fire --Washington (State)--History--Sources
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Correspondence 1904-1912 

Box-folder

Correspondence of Home Office and Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane branch offices February, 1907-February, 1908 

1 / 1-13

Correspondence March, 1908-June, 1908 

2 / 14-17

Correspondence July, 1908-December, 1908 

3 / 18-23

Correspondence undated 

3 / 24

Receiver correspondence. 

4 / 25

Papers of Calvin Holloway, re: Walla Walla Abstract Company. 1904 

4 / 26

Papers of James J. Butler, re: Republican Party politics 1907 

4 / 27

Sample forms: blank policies, reports, rider clauses. Printed insurance supplies and advertising, including a catalog of insurance supplies. 

4 / 28

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Series 2: Claims 1908-1912 

Series 2.1: Unfiled papers related to claims. 

Box-folder

Miscellaneous bills and expenses. 

5 / 29

Series 2.2: Reports from agencies and general agencies at the time of failure. 

Box-folder

Orrin Parker bankruptcy papers 1912 

5 / 30

Central Department (Chicago) accounts as of December 29, 1908. 

5-7 / 31-35

Eastern Department (New York) accounts as of December 29,1908. 

8-9 / 38

Surrendered Certificates of Agency Appointment, Eastern Department. 

9 / 39

Seattle Branch Office accounts. 

10 / 40

California General Agency accounts. 

10 / 41

Series 2.3: Policy holder claims, mostly for return premiums on unexpired insurance, with some for fire losses and other reasons. Also surrendered policies. 

Box

Re-insurance daily reports on the State Mutual Co-op Insurance Company, Moscow, Idaho; that company being in receivership and passing policyholder claims on to the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company. 

11

Policy holder claim for return premium on balance of paid-up insured period remaining after the company went into receivership. Correspondence, assignments and proofs of claim attached. Arranged in bundles and numbered 1-1746 and indexed in Receivers' ledger (Number 73). 

12-67

Miscellaneous claim, including fire losses not paid at time of failure of the company, adjuster's reports, correspondence, proofs and other documents attached. Also miscellaneous bills for salaries and expense accounts. Arranged in envelopes in a numerical series indexed in Receivers' Ledger (Number 72). 

68-69

Rejected claims: claims rejected by the receiver on fire losses, returned premium on unexpired insurance and other bills. Arranged in envelopes in a numerical series indexed in Receivers' Ledger (Number 74). 

70

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Series 3: Legders 1907-1909 

Box

Minute Book, with Articles of Incorporation and by-laws. 

71

Receivers Accounts: Misc. claims. 

72

Receivers Accounts: general claims. 

73

Receivers Accounts: rejected claims. 

74

Receivers Accounts. 

75

Stockbook and stock registry. 

76

Closing balances 

77

Checkbook, Seattle 

78

Checkbook, Walla Walla 

79

Checkbook, Walla Walla 

80

Checkbook, Chicago 

81

Checkbook, Chicago 

82

Bankdraft stubs, losses paid 

83

Bankdraft stubs, losses paid 

84

Journal 

85

Re-insurance journal 

86

Re-insurance journal 

87

Record of premium received 

88

Record of premium received 

89

Cash accounts 

90

Cash accounts 

91

Cash accounts, Walla Walla 

92

Collections Register 

93

Loss Register 

94

Journal 

95

Journal 

96

Cash Accounts, Seattle 

97

Agents' Register 

98

Agents names 

99

Agents names 

100

Agents reports 

101

Agents register and reports 

102

Agents 

103

Record of policy numbers sent to agents 

104

Re-insurance Register 

105

Re-insurance Register 

106

Reinsured register 

107

Reinsured register 

108

Reinsurance with Queen City and Anchor Companies 

109

Cancellations and endorsements of policies 

110

Cancellations and return premiums (California) 

111

Cancellations and endorsements (Central Dept) 

112

Return Premiums Register (Western Department) 

113

Return Premiums Register (California) 

114

Return Premiums Register (Montana, Utah, Idaho, Alaska) 

115

Yearly Summary 

116

Central Department reports 

117

Monthly totals 

118

Monthly Reports (Eastern Department) 

119

Monthly Reports (Central Department) 

120

Western Department Reports 

121

November 1908 Reports 

122

December 1908 Reports 

123

Policy index (Washington) 

124

Policy index (Central Department) (Policy indexes contain very little material. -their principle use was the location of a policy holders entry in the policy register. The two indexes here are samples of this type book; 10 similar item were discarded.) 

125

Eastern Department Daily report and policy register 

126

Central Department Daily report and policy register 

127

Central Department Daily report and policy register 

128

Central Department Daily report and policy register 

129

Home Office policy register 

130

Policy register, Central Department 

131

Policy register, Washington State 

132

Policy register, Southern Department 

133

Policy register, Texas 

134

Policy register, North Carolina 

135

Policy register, Arkansas 

136

Policy register, California 

137

Policy register, Montana 

138

Policy register, Utah 

139

Policy register, Idaho 

140

Policy register, Washington 

141

Policy register, Kansas 

142

Policy and loss register, misc. 

143

Walla Walla agency register 

144

Policy Register, Central Department, Ohio 

145

Policy Register, Southern Department, Texas, Oklahoma 

146

Policy Register, Central Department, Indiana 

147

Policy Register, Central Department, Missouri, Minnesota 

148

Policy Register, Southern Department, North Carolina 

149

Policy Register, Southern Department, South Carolina, Louisiana 

150

Policy Register, Southern Department, Arkansas 

151

Policy Register, Central Department, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska 

152

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Series 4: Merchants' Fire Asssociation Papers. The predecessor firm of the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company, the Merchants' Fire Association was organized as a mutual fire insurance company in Seattle in 1902. It did business through agents throughout the state of Washington during its 5 year history. The Merchants' Fire Association manager, Charles H. Spencer, was an instigator of the efforts which lead to the founding of the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company in 1907, its reinsuring of Merchants' Fire Association policies, and its purchase of Merchants' Fire Association's assets. Spencer also became the Secretary of the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company, and was also the de facto manager until he was forced out during the struggles for control. The papers of the Merchants' Fire Association consist of those records which were required for the carryover of policies from one company to the other. Some Merchants' Fire Association policies extended for a sufficient length of time that they outlived the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company; as a consequence some of the Merchants' Fire Association papers are relevant to the liquidation claims made on the assets of the Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company. 1902-1907 

Box

Contract transferring Merchants' Fire Association business to Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company 

153

Reports on policies carried over to Walla Walla Fire Insurance Company 

153

Cash Book 

154

Re-insurance Ledger 

155

Policies in force February, 1907 

156

Checkbook 

157

Policy Register 

158

Agents Register 

159

Collections Register 

160

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Added Materials March, 1975 

Box

Re-Insurance Register 

161

Index 

162

Index, Losses and Misc. Claims 

163

Index 

164

Index 

165

Index 

166

Index 

167

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