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Samuel M. Donnell insurance records for Newark, Delaware


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Samuel Mathewson (S.M.) Donnell was a realtor, insurance agent, and notary in the small college town of Newark, Delaware, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The registers comprising this small collection indicate that S.M. Donnell sold insurance policies in Newark, Delaware, on behalf of two companies, the Fire Association of Philadelphia and the Royal Insurance Company of Liverpool, between 1888 and 1914. Donnell had a keen interest in his community, and served it through political and social activities. In 1882 he was the warden master for the Mason's Hiram Lodge, No.25, A.F.A.M. Donnell became president of Newark town council in 1885 and was a member of that same body in 1887.

S. M. Donnell owned many properties in the city of Newark. Some of his land holdings, dating from 1909 to 1935, can be found in the Wilbur T. Wilson Map Collection. His real estate holdings included a farm near Main Street and New London Road. A Royal Insurance Company policy (Volume 1) described the farm as a "stable, wood house, corn crib and contents, dwelling, water closet, and poultry house."

Donnell was the son of Andrew and Rosa (Mathewson) Donnell. He married Mary Bedford, who was the daughter of Levi G. Cooch and Sarah Conant Wilkins.

Historical and biographical information derived from the collection.Cooch, Frances A. Little Known History of Newark, Delaware and its Environs. Newark, Del.: The Press of Kells, 1936.Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Delaware: 1609-1888, Vol. 2. Philadelphia: L.J. Richards & Co., 1888.Hanby, Egbert G. and Jas. L. Vallandigham, Jr. Newark, Delaware: Past and Present. Newark, Del.: Delaware Ledger Print, 1982.Philadelphia Business Directory, 1899-1900.R.L. Polk & Co.s Peninsula Directory of Delaware Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, 1908-1909.Bell Telephone Co., April 1, 1897.MSS 0377, Wilbur T. Wilson map collection

The Samuel M. Donnell Insurance Records for Newark, Delaware, spans the dates of 1888-1914, and provides a wealth of information about property holders and building structures in the town around the turn of the century. The Insurance Records will be particularly useful in conjunction with the Wilbur T. Wilson Map Collection (Ms 377). The collection consists of nine volumes, which were related to Donnell's job as agent for two insurance companies: Fire Association of Philadelphia (407-409 Walnut Street) and Royal Insurance Company of Liverpool, England (306 Walnut Street, Philadelphia). The Fire Association of Philadelphia was incorporated on March 27, 1820. The Royal Insurance Company of Liverpool was founded in the midnineteenth century in Liverpool, England.

The nine-volume registers are divided into two series. Series I, spanning the dates 1897-1911, includes three volumes of insurance records (one for the Fire Association of Philadelphia and two for the Royal Insurance Company of Liverpool) that include policies and descriptive information about the people, places, fees, and dates of transactions. Series II, spanning the dates 1888-1914, is a six-volume set of S.M. Donnell's check registers for his insurance business. Each of the nine volumes is housed individually.

The registers were printed for the insurance company's agents to record details of their clients' premiums. Two clients are listed per double-page spread. The Royal Insurance Company's register was printed by Hofstetter Bros. Blank Book Manufacturers of Philadelphia. The second volume of this set has a letter to its agents tipped into the verso of the cover. It is laid on top of the label of the manufacturer of the register.

The two volumes of registers for the Fire Association of Philadelphia include the following information: company logo, policy number, name of assured, commencement of risk, term, expiration of risk, amount insured, old rate, new rate, premium, copy of policy, and remarks. Across the top of the page, beginning on the left side, are the words: Policy Register. On the right side is the company's name.

Donnell filled each register with descriptive materials, receipts, and signed policies that are tipped into the pages along with the line items and monetary notations. The records have the names of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Newark residents; each register has an index. Donnell's clients included local businesses, Delaware College, and the local school district.

The six volumes of check registers, some of which have his initials on the spine, span the dates 1888-1914. The collection consists of volumes two, five, six, eight, nine, and fourteen of an unknown number of the set.

Item 0066: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0096

Gift of Mr. Groff, 1976

Processed by Sally W. Donatello, May 2001. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, October 2019.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2019 October 9
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Fire Association of Philadelphia, register, 1897-1905.
Volume 1
Scope and Contents

Records of insurance policies with an alphabetical listing of the clients, businesses, institutions, and other policyholders. Contents include policy number, name of assured, commencement of risk, term, expiration of risk, amount insured, old rate, new rate, premium, copy of policy, and remarks; the register is filled (99 pp)

Names of assured:

Artisans Savings Bank of Wilmington, Delaware

Armstrong John H. & Co.

Armstrong, John P.

Beltz, Norah

Blandy, Elizabeth P.

Blandy, May E.

Blandy, T. Bridgman

Bonsall, Ephraim

Bowen, Levi K.

Brown, Daniel F.

Brown, Newton H.

Bryson, Benjamin N.

Chambers, Gilbert W.

Campbell, Benjamin

Campbell, Harry M.

Chillas, Arthur, deceased, the heirs of

Choate, D.L.

Choate, Stephen R., Jr.

Cooch, J.W.

Cook, William H.

Cornog, Isabella

Cornog, Stephen L.

Daniel, Walter C.

Delaware College, the trustees of

Donnell, Mary B.

Donnell, S.M. and George W. Marshall, executors

Evans, Charles B.

Evans, Edw.

Fisher, Andrew, Jr.

Fisher, Mary E. Series I

Gray, W.C., estate of

Haines, Eri W.

Hart, W.B.

Harrigan, William

Harkness, Wilmer E. Haudy, L.I.

Henry, Agnes E.

Jervis, Frank H.

Johnston, I.C., estate of

Kane & Griffin

Keeley, Michael, Jr.

Kelley, Elizabeth, et al

Kelley, William H.

Kennedy, William R.

Lewis, J.E.

Lilley, Thompson L.

Logan, William G.

Lovett, Leonard W.

Lutton, Joseph B.

Lyons, Thomas

Maxwell, Charles R.

McDonald, William G.

McGonigal, Thomas H.

McKinsey, Fred E.

McKinsey, Harry A.

Miller, Rev. Nelson H.

Moore, Annie W.

Morrison, J.C. and E.S. Newark M.E. Church, trustees of

Nicholls, Harry A.

O'Donnell, John, estate of

Pemberton, Pusey, estate of

Pilling, John, estate of

Pilling, John, Jr.

Pilling, Thomas

Powell, George

Praul, J.W.

Presbyterian Congregation of White Clay Creek

Raub, A.N.

Robin, Dr. A.

Rowan, Rev. W. I.

Rupp, J.C.

School District No. 110

Singles, William T.

Steel, Hudson

Steel, W.H.

Stewart, Rufus

Thompkins, Sarah D.

Thompson, Elmer M.

Tyson, Herman R.

Underwood, James

Wiegand, Adam E.

Williams, John T.

Willis, J. Frank

Wilson, James A

Woolaston, Albert.

Wright, Hugh B.

Wright, Sarah L., estate of

Royal Insurance Company, 1899-1908.
Volume 2
Scope and Contents

Records of insurance policies with an alphabetical listing of the clients, businesses, institutions, and other policyholders. At the top of each left page and extending to the right side is the following line: Register of Fire Policies Issued and Renewed for the ROYAL INSURANCE COMPANY of Liverpool, by S.M. Donnell (handwritten in the space), Agent at Newark, Delaware (handwritten in the space). Contents include no. of policy, no. of renewal, name and residence of assured, commencement of risk, term, expiration of risk, amount insured, rate, amount of premium, copy of policy, and location of risk and memoranda of external exposure.

    Names of assured:
  1. Armstrong, J. Rankin
  2. Barton, William H.
  3. Bowen, Levi K.
  4. Bowman, Bettie
  5. Brown, Daniel F.
  6. Brown, George J.
  7. Brown, J.W.
  8. Burnite, Martha J. (?)
  9. Butler, Dr. J. B.
  10. Chester, F. D.
  11. Choate, C. C.
  12. Cooch, Francis A.
  13. Cooch, J. W.
  14. Cooch, J.W. and Griffin, George W.
  15. Corbit, Patrick
  16. Curtis, W. C.
  17. Day, Howard
  18. Delaware College
  19. Donnell, Mary B.
  20. Donnell, S. M.
  21. Donnell, S. M. executor of George M. Bradford
  22. Doyle, John
  23. Doyle, John B.
  24. Evans, Charles B.
  25. Fader, Gotlieb
  26. Fisher, Pamela W.
  27. Fisher, William H.
  28. Goldey, H. S.
  29. Gregg, Annie
  30. Griffin, George W.
  31. Hamilton, Charles W.
  32. Hargan, Mary C.
  33. Harkness, Wilmer E.
  34. Harrigan, William
  35. Harter, George A.
  36. Heptasophes
  37. Husler, George M. estate of
  38. Husler, Mary
  39. Jacobs, L. B.
  40. Johnson, Jonathan
  41. Lewis, John E.
  42. Lewis, Reuben G.
  43. Mackie, M. Helen
  44. Manuel, Charles
  45. McDougall, George, executor
  46. McPike, Edward
  47. Miller, John B.
  48. Mote, Eliza
  49. Murphy, Kate
  50. O'Donnell, John
  51. Pennington, Thomas, estate of
  52. Penny, Charles L.
  53. Phoebus, Esther A.
  54. Pilling, John
  55. Porter, Helen C.
  56. Raub, A. N.
  57. Roberts, Maria
  58. R[oman] C[atholic] Church, trustees of
  59. Rose, D. C. Jr.
  60. Rose, Mary
  61. Saunders, Anna E.
  62. Sherwood, Peter M.
  63. Shreve, Martha
  64. Singles, John M.
  65. Smith, Anna M.
  66. Smith, Charles W.
  67. Smith, Nathan K.
  68. Steel, Hudson
  69. Steel, Lucille A.
  70. Steel, Mary L.
  71. Steel, William H.
  72. Strahorn, Frederick W.
  73. Thompkins, Sarah D.
  74. Thompson, Rachel A.
  75. Tyson, Herman R.
  76. Whitcraft, Sarah A.
  77. Whittingham, R. A.
  78. Willis, John F.
  79. Wright and Son Co.
  80. Wright, H. B.
  81. Wright, Isabel P.
Royal Insurance Company, register, 1903-1911.
Volume 3
Scope and Contents

Records of insurance policies with an alphabetical listing of the clients, businesses, institutions, and other policyholders. Contents include policy number, name of assured, commencement of risk, term, expiration of risk, amount insured, old rate, new rate, premium, copy of policy, and remarks; the register is filled (99 pp)

    Names of assured:
  1. American Vulcanized Fibre Co.
  2. Anderson, Martha L.
  3. Avis, Fanny C.
  4. Barton, W. H.
  5. Blandy, Elizabeth P.
  6. Bowen, Levi K.
  7. Bowman, Bettie
  8. Brown, D. F., estate of
  9. Brown, John W.
  10. Burnite, Martha J.
  11. Campbell, B.
  12. Campbell, Estella G.
  13. Campbell, Harry M.
  14. Chambers, John W.
  15. Chambers, G. W.
  16. Chester, F. D.
  17. Choate, C. C.
  18. Co. "E" 1st Infantry et al
  19. Cooch, Edw. W.
  20. Cooch, Francis A.
  21. Cooch, J. Wilkins
  22. Curtis, Walter C.
  23. Day, Howard
  24. Delaware College
  25. Donnell, Mary B.
  26. Donnell, S. M.
  27. Doyle, John
  28. Doyle, John B.
  29. Dunlap, M. B.
  30. Evans, Charles B.
  31. Evans,Harriet B.
  32. Fader, Gotlieb
  33. Ferguson, Howard
  34. First Presbyterian Church, trustees of
  35. Fisher, William H.
  36. Gould, Thomas and London Gould
  37. Grant, Clarence D.
  38. Grier, John C.
  39. Griffin and Steel
  40. Griffin, George W.
  41. H.B. Wright Company
  42. Harter, George A.
  43. Heptasophes
  44. Hilton, W. H.
  45. Huber, George H.
  46. Husler, George M., estate of
  47. Husler, Mary
  48. Jacobs, Joseph
  49. James, James
  50. Jaquette, J. David
  51. Jex, John
  52. Johnson, Jonathan
  53. Jones, Joseph G.
  54. Jordan, Charlotte B.
  55. Lewis, John E.
  56. Lindsey, Samuel, estate of
  57. Lutton, Frank M.
  58. McCaskey, E.W.
  59. Medill, Philena P
  60. Miller, J. B.
  61. Mote, Eliza
  62. Murphy, Charles A.
  63. Murphy, Kate
  64. O'Donnell, John, estate of
  65. Parke, Frank
  66. Pennington, Thomas, estate of
  67. Penny, C. L.
  68. Phoebus, Esther A.
  69. Pilling, John
  70. Pilling, Thomas
  71. Porter, Alpheus Lee
  72. Porter, Helen C.
  73. Potts, Robert
  74. Presbyterian Congregation of White Clay Creek
  75. Raub A.N. estate of
  76. Renninger, George S.
  77. Richards, Edward L.
  78. R[oman] C[atholic] Church
  79. Rose, David C.
  80. Rose, David Lee
  81. Rose, Mary H.
  82. Saunders, Anna E.
  83. Security, Trust and Safe Deposit Co. trustees of
  84. Sentman, Clinton G.
  85. Shapleigh, Fannie L.
  86. Sherwood, Peter M.
  87. Sloan, Alice R.
  88. Smith, Anna M.
  89. Smith, Charles W.
  90. Smithson, Elizabeth
  91. Steel, Hudson
  92. Steel, Mary L.
  93. Steel, Walter H.
  94. Steel, William H.
  95. Strahorn, Frederick W.
  96. Thomas, Tillie
  97. Thompson, Rachel A.
  98. Tyson, Herman, R.
  99. Whitcraft, Sallie A.
  100. Willis, Lee O.
  101. Willis, Mary A.
  102. Willis, Victor G.
  103. Wilson, E. Clifford
  104. Worrall, M. S.
  105. Wright, Samuel J.

Check register #2, 1888-1891.
Volume 4
Scope and Contents

Records of checks numbered 1650-2649

Check register #5, 1896-1898.
Volume 5
Scope and Contents

Records of checks numbered 4650-5649

Check register # 6, 1898-1901.
Volume 6
Scope and Contents

Records of checks numbered 5650-6649

Check register # 8, 1902-1904.
Volume 7
Scope and Contents

Records of checks numbered 7650-8649

Check register # 9, 1904-1905.
Volume 8
Scope and Contents

Records of checks numbered 8650-9649

Check register # 14, 1913-1914.
Volume 9
Scope and Contents

Records of checks numbered 13650-14648

Print, Suggest