National Geographic : 1961 Dec
Hayden's Keg asymbol of faith thatlinked North and South during the Civil War. Heat was still drifting gently from the blackened remains of the burned buildings. Here and there a faint wisp of steam hovered over the water soaked embers. The fire that had destroyed a part of Charleston, South Carolina, was over. But in its place burned a great question in the minds of the men gathered there on December 11,1861. "Would the Hartford fire insurance policies still be good, now that Civil War had cut off all com munications with the North?" In the midst of the gathering was the man to whom all eyes were turned for the answer Augustus H. Hayden, the Hartford Fire Insurance Company Agent who handled their insurance. His faith never faltered. "Let's write up your proofs of loss," he said. "I'll bury them to keep them safe till the war is over. Then we'll send them to The Hartford and they'll pay your claims in full." When the anxious men gave him the papers, Hayden sealed them in a stout wooden keg, and buried them in a friend's field. Whatever the out come of the war, he knew that The Hartford would stand by its policyholders. Five years later when the fighting was over, Hayden dug up his keg and mailed the claims to The Hartford. Every claim was paid in full. Inthe years since, faith in The Hartford has con tinued to grow in depth and in breadth. Today the seven companies of The Hartford Insurance Group, Hartford, Conn., provide a full range of fire, casualty and life protection through 34,000 independent agents and brokers.