95 years ago today, on May 6, 1926 the Winchester Journal-Herald had a couple of little products about a brand-new insurance firm in town. Robert M. Ward had bought the fire and twister insurance coverage businesses of Schuyler C. Mendenhall and would start operating as “The Ward Insurance Agency” at 110 South Meridian Street in the Pretlow Block in Winchester. Mendenhall maintained his casualty, hail, and automobile insurance companies in addition to his farm loan company and notary companies. Mendenhall continue to work from this office until his death the following year. Ward likewise sold other types of insurance coverage.
Ward was the fantastic grandson of Joab Ward one of the pioneers who settled in the Ridgeville area. He was a graduate of Purdue University and Culver Military Academy. Ward became partner and developed the Ward and VanWylick Insurance Coverage Company at 101 West Franklin Street. VanWylick passed away in 1941 and the office stayed at that area as “The Ward Insurance Company” until 1985 when the Ward Company combined with the King Agency to create Matchett & & Ward Insurance coverage. William H. “Bill” Ward began dealing with his dad taking control of business upon his father’s retirement.
The old Ward workplace is now the house of Jason’s Meat Market. An old thermometer remains on the corner of the website. This thermometer includes a “W” at the top, in addition to “Est. 1926” it then notes several kinds of insurance sold by the company. The “W” also still appears at the top of the windows of Jason’s Meat Market.
The King Firm was established by Lou King likewise in 1926 and was located on the second floor in the 100 block of West Washington Street throughout from the Court Home. At some time, they relocated to the first flooring where Bob Cook’s law workplace was located. King’s child Lester started working in the business and ultimately took over from his father. Surprisingly, Lester was legally blind, was unable to drive, and had to hold files right to his eyes to read them (an extremely difficult thing to do in the insurance coverage organization).
In 1971, Lester passed away and his widow, Eva, was searching for somebody to take control of the business. She called the Ruth and Gene Duke in Portland and convinced them to buy business. Ruth’s daddy was Lester Bickel of the Bickel & & Duke Insurance Coverage Agency. Ruth’s son, Don Matchett, Gene was his stepfather, signed up with business in 1973 and continued to work for his moms and dads until 1978 when he acquired the company’s assets. The workplace then transferred to 103 South Main Street. In 1979, Matchett bought the assets of Requirement Securities Insurance coverage which was located on South Meridian Street. Matchett’s workplace remained at the location on South Main Street until 1998.
In 1984, Expense Ward got in touch with Matchett about the possibility of combining their companies. On January 1st, 1985, business were merged, the name changed to Matchett & & Ward Insurance and located at the old King Company address on South Main. Around this time, the company bought its very first computer. “It had a 10 megabyte hard disk, about the size of a tune file today, and took 17 floppy discs to back it up every day,” remembers Matchett with a laugh.