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This month we are highlighting several 18th century fire insurance policies from our collection.

fire policy 1796 engraving

This policy of the Mutual Assurance Society Against Fire in Virginia, dated November 9, 1796 insured the property of Alexander Moseley of Norfolk, Virginia against loss or damage by fire. There is an intricate engraving at the top of the policy depicting a female figure holding a scale and a sword, on a pedestal inscribed, “Do unto others as you would be done by” all in front of a scene with several figures and the word “relief” and a building on fire in the background. Below the engraving and name of the company is “W. F. Ast author of — the Assurance Plan.

fire policy 1796

The policy states that, “Mr. Alexander Moseley of Norfolk has entered the building herein mentioned, for assurance from loss or damage by fire, in the Mutual Assurance Society, against fire on buildings in the state of Virginia, as per his declaration dated the 26 day of April 1796 marked No. 30 and filed in the office, to wit A kitchen marked B the walls built of brick covered with wood situated backward of his house on the main street at the said place now occupied by himself, between the said, and that of vacant ground in the county of Norfolk, the particulars of the situation, dimensions, and building, are as by description, No. 34 which he has deposited in this office, and valued at 500 dollars, deduct 100 [dollars] remained nett, 400 dollars, which said four hundred dollars, is the real sum insured, and on which he had paid eight dollars – cents premium, and one dollar – cents, for tax on the policy…”

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