History

History

Through the years, the streets of Ellenville have traveled the road of change. Many people have traversed these streets, and many stayed to make it their home. The community of Ellenville has grown in the last two hundred years, and with growth comes change. The Sprague and Killeen agency has witnessed these changes and adapted to the insurance needs of the community.

 

In retrospect, Sprague & Killeen’s history can be dated back to 1836 when Mr. A.B. Preston, the manager of Ellenville Glass Company, joined the insurance field as an agent for Aetna of Hartford. Due to his demanding obligations with the Glass Company in New York, Mr. Preston passed the reigns over to Mr. Joseph Gilbert who was also a manager of the same company. In 1866, Mr. Gilbert was succeeded by Mr. Alfred Neafie who had fought in the Civil War and earned the title of brigadier general. He was also the son-in-law of Mr. Preston. Mr. Neafie became an independent agent on January 3rd, 1867 when he began representing Traveler’s insurance.

 

Meanwhile another gentleman was getting started in the insurance field. In 1869, Mr. Uriah Terwilliger opened the second agency in Ellenville, which was located in the town hall building on the corner of Market and Canal Street. Mr. Terwilliger was in his teens when he first pioneered what would become the largest rural insurance company of his time in this area. He brought fire insurance to the area, which encompassed most of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties. Then in 1877 Mr. Terwilliger formed a partnership with Mr. Alfred Neafie and they named the business Neafie & Terwilliger.

 

The partnership dissolved in 1883 when Mr. Neafie relocated to the town of Goshen and took over that branch office and the territories were divided between the two men, respectively. Uriah ran his business alone until 1890 when his brother Edward partnered with him to form the U.E. & E.N. Terwilliger agency.

 

The Terwilliger agency prided itself on representing only companies of recognized standing and strength in order to offer their customers the best protection against losses. Mr. Terwilliger used the transportation of his time, horseback, horse and buggy or sleigh to deliver his service and meet the needs of his clients.

 

In 1912, Uriah’s son, Bert Terwilliger took over the reins of the business until his death in 1944. During that time Bert was also the director of the First National Bank of Ellenville and a Trustee of Ellenville Savings Bank. Then in 1944, Katherine Terwilliger, his daughter, took over the business, and became its sole owner in 1947. Katherine Terwilliger was involved in many civic activities along with being the Town of Warwasing historian, which during that time for a woman was a huge accomplishment.

 

During this time, Donald Sprague established the Sprague agency in 1948. A graduate of the Wharton School of Finance, University of PA, he, also, served as the Town of Warwasing supervisor and justice of the peace. Mr. Frank Decker, another person to become part of Sprague & Killeen’s history, moved to Ellenville in 1951 and was admitted to the New York State bar in 1952. He was employed by the Home National Bank and then by Ellenville National Bank until 1956.

 

In 1957 Katherine Terwilliger sold the business to Donald Sprague and Frank Decker. They changed the name to Sprague and Decker, Inc. In 1965 Frank Decker left the agency to pursue a law degree in Albany.

 

In May of 1966 Donald Sprague asked Jack Killeen to join the agency as a partner. Jack had formerly worked for the Glen Falls Ins. Co. as a special agent who had called on Sprague and Decker in the past. They relocated the agency to its present day location on 116 Canal Street in 1967. In January of 1968 the name was changed to Sprague & Killeen, Inc., of which it is still called today. The agency expanded when it purchased the Carl Carlson Agency, The Young Agency and the Wawarsing agency, which opened the door to writing Mobile Home and Trailer insurance through Colonial Ins. Co.

 

When Donald Sprague suffered a heart attack and died in August of 1975, Jack Killeen ran the business alone from 1975 to 1994. During this time he acquired the Bright Downs and Schwartz agencies and expanded opening a branch office on route 209 in Kerhonkson in 1978.

 

Dwight Coombe, graduate of Cornell University, started in 1986 as an Account Executive Producer. In 1994 John Killeen sold the business to Dwight and he kept the name Sprague & Killeen. Along with the professionally trained team of associates, Dwight continues the tradition of excellence, and is committed to the high standards by which the agency has been run, since the year 1867.

 

Currently, Sprague & Killeen serves the insurance needs of more than 5,000 individuals, families, and businesses largely in New York State, although also in Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. The service they provide includes a state-of-the-art computer management system for secure record keeping, computerized rating systems that allow for quick rate comparisons, fast claims response, and professional service by individuals who truly care about your needs.

 

Sprague & Killeen continues to fulfill the promise of each of its founders, to be dedicated to small town values and be an agency that has its best interest in the clients they serve.