One of the primary insurance carriers that FDIG represents is The Philadelphia Contributionship. It is the oldest property insurance company in the United States, having been founded by Ben Franklin in 1752. As such, its ties to US history are long and storied.
Below, is an excerpt of an article they recently published detailing their connection to the famous early suffragette Lucretia Mott.
In Celebration of the 19th Amendment
Tomorrow we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote. We can’t document the political leanings of most women associated with The Philadelphia Contributionship. However, one of the very early founders of the suffrage movement, Lucretia Coffin Mott and her husband James Mott, insured their home on Arch Street (then Mulberry ) with the company.
Born in 1793 in Nantucket, Lucretia Coffin spent her early years in Boston. She later attended a Quaker boarding school in Poughkeepsie, New York in keeping with her family’s faith. As a teacher at the same school she met her husband, James Mott, a fellow instructor. The Coffin family including Lucretia, moved to Philadelphia in 1809 and James followed; the young couple married in 1811. James earned his living as a merchant, later specializing in wool. He insured his store on Church Alley near Third Street with the Contributionship in 1836. The Motts lived first at 14 Sansom and then at 136 N. 9th Street.
Lucretia Mott was kept busy with six young children (although sadly one died at the age of two )and a calling as a Quaker minister. She became a passionate advocate for the abolition of slavery helping to the Female Antislavery Society in 1833. In 1840 while attending the World Anti-Slavery meeting in London with her husband James, she was dismayed to realize women could not participate. She joined forces with Elizabeth Cady Stanton to determine ways for increased rights for women; a move that led to the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. This convention which resulted in the Declaration of Sentiments paved the way for future conventions and ultimately the successful battle to pass the 19th amendment.
In 1851 the Motts moved to a new home at 1124 Mulberry Street (now Arch), a significant three story home and back building. One can envision Lucretia, James and their friends gathering here to discuss the causes they cared most about. She and James lived here for three years before moving to Cheltenham. Their old home on Arch Street is now the site of Reading Terminal.
Lucretia Mott remained committed to the abolition of slavery and equal rights for women. She helped to found Swarthmore College in 1864 and following the Civil War continued to work for better conditions for African Americans. James died in 1868 but Lucretia lived another 22 years, dying in 1880 of pneumonia. A Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission state marker commemorates her life near her final home. For more information on the location of this marker and others in the Elkins Park area see: