By HOWARD WIEDENHOEFT
Three years after the state of Wisconsin passed a law allowing the formation of town mutual insurance companies, land owners in the Town of Ixonia gathered together to form a mutual. On Saturday, November 6, 1875, 31 owners of land collectively valued at $32,250 met in Ixonia Center and formed Ixonia Mutual Fire Insurance Company.
The new organization elected John Gibb to serve as chairman and F.V. Piper as secretary. These men formed the board of directors along with Ferdinand Gauerke, Fred Huebner, Carl Pautz, John Lindemann and James McCall. The directors were charged with drafting a code of by-laws to govern the organization.
On November 13, 1875, the Articles of Organization and By-laws were read and approved by members of Ixonia Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Similar to those of Watertown Mutual Fire Insurance Company in the nearby Town of Watertown, the bylaws followed the guidelines established by the Wisconsin Chapter 103.
According to Ixonia Mutual’s minutes, the bylaws additionally stated:
- The policy would be void if a fire was caused by ashes stored in a wood container within 40 feet of the insured building.
- Insured property owners were required to pay one dollar to become a member and 75 cents for a policy fee.
- The company would not be liable for damage caused by a hop house during drying season or from use of a steam engine on the premise.
- The maximum amount allowed on any livestock was $100 per horse and $20 per horned animal.
- Only citizens of the Town of Ixonia were allowed to become members.
On Tuesday January 4, 1876, the mutual held its first annual meeting. By this time there was a change in board members and serving as directors were Fred Huebner, president; F.V. Piper, secretary; H.E. Humphery, treasurer; Martin Stanton, Carl Pautz, John Lindemann and James McCall.
Written 142 years ago, these minutes are a fascinating history of our rural life. Did you know the cultivation of hops was a major agricultural industry in Wisconsin during the mid 1800s?
Our agriculture has changed many times over the centuries, but the dedication of our mutual insurance has not. Forward Mutual continues to support and provide protection for farmers in 16 counties of southeastern Wisconsin. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us.