Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions: History

History - Founder OM Mackey

History - How It All Began - Founder OM Mackey

This is a story few know or remember. As American Insurance completes our 95th year in business, I would like to tell you how it all began. 

The year was 1919, it was 3 o’clock in the morning and Oliver M. Mackey had just alighted from a train at the Camas Prairie Railroad Depot (now the Train Station on Main Street in Lewiston).

OM Mackey’s mission in Lewiston was to look the place over and consider whether it would be a logical spot for a new bank. It was not in his mind to undertake a walking tour of the city at that hour, but he was met at the depot by an enthusiastic resident of the city, the late James E. Babb, a Lewiston attorney.

“We walked up and down the street,” Mackey said. “We looked at the Bollinger Hotel and then we looked at the De France Hotel.” Even in the darkness, Mackey concluded that Lewiston appeared to have a bright future and that he wouldn’t mind being a part of it. “There was a sawmill coming and they were getting ready to build the Lewis-Clark Hotel,” Mackey said. “I could just feel it.”

Mackey returned to Westville, Ill., a suburb of Danville, to report his findings. The proposed Lewiston bank was a joint venture with his father-in-law, the late A.L. Lyons, who was a banker at Danville.

The new Lewiston bank was at 624 Main St. They opened their new bank in Lewiston on Aug. 16, 1920 to great success, calling it the American National Bank. Lyons was president and Mackey the cashier.

Besides starting a bank, that vision of business opportunity caused OM Mackey to create the Mackey-Thiessen Investment Co. on Oct. 9, 1922 to explore the emerging opportunities of real estate, insurance and consumer loans.

The American National Bank later changed its name to the American Bank & Trust Co. Then on Oct. 10, 1926, influenced by the bank name, the Mackey-Theissen Investment Co’s name was changed and incorporated as AMERICAN INSURANCE & LOAN CO, INC. A few months later in 1927, the bank and insurance operations were moved into the new Carssow Building at 9th and Main Streets (current home of Wells Fargo Bank) where the two businesses operated side by side. 

Three years later, on Aug. 15, 1928 AMERICAN INSURANCE was sold to an Iowa transplant, Harry Christy and his wife, Blanche Sullivan Christy (Frank “Sully” Sullivan’s aunt). So began, the first generation of Sullivans to own and operate AMERICAN INSURANCE.

PS: OM Mackey was cashier until 1943, when he became president after the death of his father-in-law, A.L. Lyons. The bank was sold to the First Security Corp. in 1957 and then later sold to its present owner, Wells Fargo, where it remains in operation today at 9th & Main St.

Now in our 95th year and our 4th generation of Sullivans, represented by Shawn and Philip Sullivan, we continue to serve the quad-cities with offices in Lewiston and Moscow. AMERICAN INSURANCE has 22 employees and is licensed in 7 western states. As an Independent Insurance Agency, we directly represent dozens of America’s largest insurance companies with access to hundreds more, each competing for your business. We write more than 13,500 policies of every type and kind of insurance – auto, home, business, medical and life.

Source: The Lewiston Morning Tribune, The Elders / Oliver M. Mackey (published on Dec. 25, 1977), By Thomas W. Campbell

« Back to General Questions - History

FAQ Disclaimer

The content of FAQ articles are general in nature and are not intended as a substitute for professional legal, financial, or insurance counsel for individuals. Insurance coverage forms vary by issuing company and by state. For specific advice contact us.

Our locations:

Lewiston office
55 Southway Ave
Lewiston, ID 83501

Moscow office
604 S. Washington St.
Moscow, ID 83843

We Protect Your
American Dream

Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Reviews

Additional navigation:

Home page | Payments | Claims | About | Contact | Insurance companies | Privacy policy | Confidentiality notice | Disclaimer | Search

© 2021 American Insurance