In 1876, Dallas was a pretty exciting place to be as the Reconstruction Era ended. As the tiny commercial hub of North Texas, Dallas was energetic and ambitious, scrambling to outshine its larger cousins such as Memphis, Indianapolis and Atlanta.
George J. Dexter and Mardi Gras
Dallas liked a party as much as any other city in 1876 (and still does today!). Local media and business leaders decided Dallas needed a Mardi Gras festival to keep pace with regional cities who had already established their own Mardi Gras events.
During this time, George J. Dexter sensed Dallas’ enticing promise of economic growth and prosperity. He left his Canadian home to launch a career as a Dallas insurance entrepreneur.
While we don’t know if George attended the Mardi Gras festival, we do know George J. Dexter & Company opened its doors on March 1, 1876, less than one week after Dallas’ first Mardi Gras parade marched down Main Street right past his office.
Joined by Brother Charles
In 1878, George convinced his brother, Charles, to leave Canada and join him in his promising new venture. Within months, the two brothers combined forces and created a robust, trusted insurance company that still thrives today.
Transition from Dexter & Company to Chas. L. Dexter & Company
In 1894, George J. Dexter sold his interest in the agency to Charles. After eighteen successful years in Dallas, George accepted an appointment as manager of two fire insurance companies in Atlanta, Georgia. When George moved east, Charles became the agency’s sole proprietor and the agency became Chas. L. Dexter & Co.
Dallas and Dexter & Company Grow Together
By 1900, Dallas had grown to 43,000. In 1907, Charles Dexter’s oldest son, George, joined the insurance company. After successfully completing a multiyear apprenticeship, George was granted full membership in the growing firm founded by his uncle and father.
The Second Generation of Dexter Brothers
In 1909, J. Robert Carter joined the firm as an associate. In 1912, Charles Dexter, who was Charles’ son and George’s younger brother, was granted firm membership, establishing a second team of Dexter brothers who would purposefully guide the company well past the new century’s halfway mark.
An Explosion of Growth
No longer a minor player, Dallas was becoming a city of great economic significance. Between 1907 and 1936, Dallas welcomed upscale retailer Neiman Marcus, a Federal Reserve Bank, Southern Methodist University, Dallas Love Field Airport, and the Texas Centennial Exposition in Fair Park.
As Dallas’ population quadrupled from 92,000 in 1910 to 434,000 in 1950, Chas. L. Dexter & Company also experienced phenomenal growth. The company by now held a well-established presence in Dallas and was earning a new generation’s trust and loyalty.
The Family Tradition Continues
The third generation of Dexters joined the firm in 1940s. Charles Dexter Jr. went to work for the agency in 1942. The Carter family also carried on the Dexter tradition – J. Robert Carter Jr. started selling insurance for the company in 1946 and was named partner in 1966. In 1972, Robert became president of the agency, a post he held until his death in 1980.
Despite a Few Changes, Dexter Remained a Family Business
The firm was sold to Lamar Hunt, Dick Fast and Bill McNutt. In 1983, the agency was again purchased by Southwest Savings. Following the savings and loan collapse, the Resolution Trust Corp. took control in May 1990.
In February 1992, descendants of early agency members bought the firm. J. Robert Carter, III, grandson of J. Robert Carter, along with William (Bill) Davis, grandson of James P. Crowder who served as Bond Department Manager beginning in 1925, partnered with John Fitzgerald and purchased the agency from the Resolution Trust Corp. John Fitzgerald is a former Dallas Cowboy offensive lineman.
Davis, Carter & Fitzgerald merged the agency into their firm, Crowder Davis & Company. They renamed the new agency Dexter & Company in recognition of Dexter’s 116th birthday.
A 140 Year Tradition of Excellence
As client insurance needs became more complex, Dexter & Company has always retained its core value of providing exceptional service to the people and organizations who have made it the successful agency it is today.
Large enough to provide an all-encompassing list of insurance options to individuals and organizations of any size, yet unlike larger firms, Dexter & Company can provide personalized service and design custom insurance plans to fit any need and any budget.
From office personnel to field representatives to corporate executives, Dexter & Company is dedicated to the principles of trustworthy service and sound management.