top of page

From Our Archives

After nearly 230 years in business, you can imagine the number of historic documents and stories we have to tell. Here are just a few of them. Check back often as we add more when we uncover new items in our vaults!

Scan of outside of envelope addressed to Thomas Jefferson from our founder, Frederick Ast

Excuse me, Mr. President?

One of the first policyholders with Mutual Assurance was Thomas Jefferson. Sworn in as President in 1801, Mr. Jefferson moved to Washington, DC to run our new country. While in office, however, he let his insurance policy on Monticello lapse, resulting in a letter from William Frederick Ast, the Society's Principal Agent.

Oil painting of Chief Justice John Marshall

The Most Unpretending Character

As you can imagine, Mutual Assurance has a number of historical documents with the signatures of many of our country's founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Marshall.


Another source of information in our archives is a small book entitled Richmond in By Gone Days: Being Reminiscences of An Old Citizen by Samuel Mordecai and published in 1856. It includes stories about many of Richmond's distinguished members, as well as the homes they occupied and the contributions they made to the city.

Read what Mr. Mordecai had to say about John Marshall and take a look at Judge Marshalls original policy.

Copy of page from 1924 page of Ripley's Believe It or Not that talks about Mutual Assurance's 128 years of insuring John Marshall's house in Richmond Virginia

Believe it or not, Mutual Assurance Made it in Ripley's

Mutual Assurance made it into Ripley's Believe It Or Not in 1924 for it's then 138 years of continuously insuring John Marshall's house in Richmond. Learn more about Marshall's house and how Mutual Assurance and Preservation Virginia saved it from demolition.

Ashley Jones

Tech Lead

Pend and ink drawing of man and woman on a horse fleeing clouds of smoke in the background from burning buildings in Norfolk Virginia in 1799

Mutual's History With Notable 1799 Norfolk Fire

Norfolk was a bit of a tinder box in its early days. Mutual Assurance Society wasn't around to save the town from near-total destruction in 1775, but we were there for many homeowners four years later when another devastating fire hit. Here's a quick look at two devastating fires that nearly destroyed the burgeoning city of Norfolk. Plus, see how much the 1799 fire cost Mutual Assurance.

Newspaper article that talks about Mutual Assurance when it was known as Old Mutual, with cartoon drawing of George Washington and soldiers

Many Things Have Changed, and Some Remain The Same at "Old Mutual"

An article appeared in the Magazine Section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch on October 9th, 1949 and talked about "Old Mutual's" unique business model. The same philosophy of careful risk assessment is working well for us today, but other changes have been made in how the "Society" as we call ourselves today, conducts business.

Read the article and comments on what has changed.

Color drawing of the Dowdall-Kurtz clabbord house built in 1795 in Culpeper Virginia

Our 1796 Policy on the Dowdall-Kurtz House in Winchester, Virginia

In 1796, we wrote a policy for James Gamul Dowdall, a prominent merchant in Winchester, plus the Charter Master for the first Masonic Lodge west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a "Cadet" in Daniel Morgan's 7th Regiment of Riflemen.

See what the policy covered at the time and imagine how it appeared over 200 years ago.

Black and white photograph of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe's 
Childhood Home - Moldavia

Edgar Allan Poe's home growing up was a mansion in Richmond called Moldovia. We insured this home and the eight buildings that comprised the Allan compound in the early 1800s.

Learn more about Moldavia and Poe's time in Virginia. 

Front yard of James Monroe's home, Highlands, and excavation work on original foundation of home that burned down

Unearthing History With the Help of Mutual Assurance

Likely at his friend, Thomas Jefferson's suggestion, James Monroe insured his home, Highlands, with Mutual Assurance. Archeologists have used Monroe's policy with Mutual Assurance to locate the original foundation of the home. It's just one example of how Mutual is helping to unearth and validate historic findings across The Commonwealth.

bottom of page