The BROOKS & STAFFORD INSURANCE AGENCY agency can trace its origins as far back as 1850, when John G. Jennings arrived in Cleveland to begin work as an agent for Mutual Life Insurance of New York. In the 1860s, Jennings was joined by James L. Higgins and Henry M. Brooks, creating the firm of Jennings, Higgins & Brooks, which operated from the Atwater Building on Superior Avenue.
The corporate lineage, subsequent to this period, is as follows: The partnership of Jennings, Higgins & Brooks dissolved in 1875. At this time, Henry M. Brooks took over the fire and marine side of the insurance agency with his partner, Albert Manning. In 1882, Brooks & Manning dissolved their partnership, and Brooks created an insurance company under his own name. In 1911, the Henry M. Brooks Company, merged with the McAninch-Parsons Company to create the Brooks-McAninch-Wilbor-Parsons Company and moved to new offices in the PLAIN DEALER Building on Superior Avenue and East 6th Street.
In December 1921, Brooks merged his business, then called the Brooks-Wilbor-Parsons Company, with another insurance agency, called the Stafford-Goss-Bedell Company. The Stafford-Goss-Bedell Company was founded in the 1880s, when Oliver Meade Stafford, Thomas C. Goss, and A.H. Bedell broke off from the insurance department of the Broadway Savings & Loan Bank to form their own agency. Following the merger of the two agencies, the resulting firm, now called Brooks & Stafford, relocated to what was known as “Insurance Row” at 1231 Chester Avenue.
In 2015, Brooks & Stafford was Cleveland’s oldest independent insurance agency. Their offices were located at 55 Public Square, and Niel Corrigan served as president.
Jennifer Graham, Western Reserve Historical Society
Cleveland Plain Dealer