In the 19th
century, nearly everything in a typical home was flammable. Open flames
were used routinely for heat, light and cooking. Needless to say, the
loss from fire was frequent and devastating. The populist movements of
the time produced many organizations to deal with common issues from
politics to agricultural efficiencies. Banding together to face the
devastation of fires was yet another outgrowth of American populism.
In 1860, citizens from the
of Dryden and Groton in
eastern Tompkins County established the new insurance organization of
Dryden & Groton Mutual Fire Insurance Company, naming Freeman Stebbins
as its first President. It was organized under 19th century
laws which permitted citizens to organize provide fire insurance
protection for one another in areas not served by existing national
carriers. Most large fire insurance companies of that time were based on
the East Coast and only wished to provide protection to large city
populations with paved streets and paid firefighters.
In 1910, the company was formally incorporated as Dryden & Groton Fire
Insurance Co-Operative Insurance Company. The company was re-organized
in 1984 and adopted the current name of Dryden Mutual Insurance Company.
While many carriers appeared over the years to serve rural communities,
few have had the staying power of Dryden Mutual. It continues to provide
difficult lines of property and liability insurance in urban and
suburban areas statewide. Our policyholders have been the sole owners of
the company from the beginning and they are still benefiting from the
original purpose of this organization.