The Hartford Fire Insurance Company, one of the country’s oldest insurance companies, sold a policy during the Civil War to Confederate commander Robert E. Lee for his family home, “Arlington,” in Virginia, noted an insurance publication. The Union later consficated Arlington to use as a cemetery for soldiers killed in the Civil War.
The Hartford, which was incorporated in 1810 by the Connecticut General Assembly, also later sold President Abraham Lincoln coverage for his property in Springfield, Ill, reported the insurance publication, Property Casualty 360, as part of an overview of the oldest insturance companies and the birth of insurance in the U.S.
In 1822 The Hartford reinsured the New Haven Fire Insurance Co., one of the first instances of reinsurance in America. In 1825 the insurer was the first to issue a policy to an institute of higher learning – Yale University.
According to Wikipedia.org, when Civil War casualties overflowed hospitals and burial grounds near Washington, D.C., Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs proposed in 1864 that 200 acres of the Robert E. Lee family property at Arlington be confiscated for a cemetery.
The government acquired Arlington at tax sale in 1864 for $26,800, equal to $398,237 today. Mrs. Lee had not appeared in person, but rather had sent an agent, attempting to timely pay the $92.07 in property taxes (equal to $1,368.12 today) assessed the estate. The government turned away her agent, refusing to accept the tendered payment.
In 1874, Custis Lee, heir under his grandfather’s will passing the estate in trust to his mother, sued the United States claiming ownership of Arlington. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Lee’s favor in United States v. Lee, deciding that Arlington had been confiscated without due process, Congress returned the estate to him.
The next year, Custis Lee sold it back to the government for $150,000 (equal to $3,174,545 today) at a signing ceremony with Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln.The southern portion of the land now occupied by the cemetery was used during and after the Civil War as a settlement for freed slaves.
Wikipedia also notes that more than 1,100 freed slaves were given land at Freedman’s Village by the government, where they farmed and lived during and after the Civil War. They were evicted in 1888 when the estate was repurchased by the government and dedicated as a military installation.