Owatonna Area Business Development Center

1065 24th Ave SW, Owatonna, MN    (507) 451-0517

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Below is an article about Charles I. Buxton from Farm Implements and Tractors magazine published Dec 31st, 1924. 

Charles I. Buxton

"A Legacy Begins...

Charles I. Buxton began his entrepreneurship journey on January 22, 1907 when he met a group of implement dealers in the Ryan Hotel in St. Paul who needed a place to meet and discuss their new business venture. C.I. Buxton offered his hotel room as a space for them to hold their board meeting. These men had a vision of a company that would insure farmers and agriculture-based companies for fire damages. As a partner in his late father’s company, Buxton and McClintock, Buxton had been in the business of selling cultivators, binders, plowers and other farm implements to the local agricultural communities. He was very familiar with the needs and struggles of local farmers, as they were his friends and neighbors. 

This generous offer landed C.I. Buxton a seat in the discussion and an offer to join the board of Minnesota Mutual Fire Insurance Company. After tremendous struggles, this group would eventually ask C.I. Buxton to take charge of the whole endeavor on February 1st, 1910. At this point he packed the entire company into his suitcases and traveled from Minneapolis to Owatonna. The company's first office in Owatonna was two rooms in the National Farmers Bank Building (now Wells Fargo Bank). In 1913, the company name was changed to Minnesota Implement Mutual Fire Company. The offices moved to the Buxton & McClintock building, as it had outgrown its previous location.

In two rooms in the National Farmers Bank Building, Mr. Buxton and his only employee, Miss Mae Kelly, managed the insurance company. C.I. Buxton approved applications, writing policies, handling correspondence, adjusting losses and, whenever possible, picking up his satchel and going out into the territory to solicit business. Direct writing, rather than selling through independent agents, was unique at that time and remains a key building block of Federated's success today.

The companies assets on December 31st, 1909 where $5,466.87 and annual premium income of $15,481.52. In December 31st, 1923 assets were $1,888,665.29, including reserve for unearned premiums of $1,417,987.33. Insurance in-force was $200,916,052. In addition, the policy holders had been saved $2,830,259.60 in the cost of insurance since organization of the company and during the same period, $2,670,426.56 had been paid out in losses.

According to a reporter that interviewed C.I. Buxton in 1924, he was "a tall, broad shouldered man, with a face that denoted determination, perseverance, will power, a keen intelligence and forcefullness. "From afar, he seemed to some as cold and aloof, but he took personally the problems and needs of his employees. Their problems in life, became his problems. C.I. Buxton wanted his employees to prosper, but to do so through hard, conscientious effort. We found it funny while researching Mr. Buxton to find out that he would have detested receiving this nomination. Public publicity displeased him and he believed the best way to show an associate or employee that he is doing a good job is to give him more responsibilities and more compensation.

 

With unquestionable integrity in his business dealings, and a foundation of service, integrity, knowledge and square dealing, C.I.Buxton set forth a legacy on which today's Federated Insurance is built.