Vermont Mutual Insurance Group, at one time affectionately known as “The Old Vermont,” is among the oldest mutual insurance companies in the United States. It’s beginnings may be traced all the way back to Nov 10, 1827 when it first received its Legislative Charter. It was a little more than two months later, on January 21, 1828, that the Vermont Mutual Fire Insurance Company officially opened its doors to the public.
Vermonter Daniel Baldwin, founded the Vermont Mutual Fire Insurance Company as a means to protect his fellow citizens from financial ruin. With fireplaces, candles and oil lamps in nearly every home and business, fire was a prominent danger. And while the idea of a mutual insurance company was not new, there was no such company in the state of Vermont.
Born in Norwich, Vermont in 1792 and orphaned at the age of 2, Daniel Baldwin and his brother, Sylvanus, were brought up by relatives in Berlin, Vermont. The two brothers were generally regarded as both daring and ambitious. And while Sylvanus applied his energy to creating and promoting various engineering projects, brother Daniel turned his to the founding of Vermont Mutual.
Well known in the Montpelier business and civic scene, Daniel bought a small store early in his career and operated it for 34 years. He joined the local fire company, which he helped to reorganize and later headed up as chief engineer.
He also worked actively to promote an adequate water supply for the town—perhaps, in part, to help put out fires more speedily. He served on the directorates of the Bank of Montpelier and the Central Vermont Railroad, and as an organizer and manager of Montpelier Gas & Light.
In 1820, he married Emily Wheelock, granddaughter of the founder of Dartmouth College, and began raising a family. He died in 1881, at the age of 89.