The History of Brooks, Todd & McNeil

The early beginnings of our agency began with George Davis Wadhams (born January 1, 1800 in Cornwall, CT, died June 11, 1862). He was a very energetic and enterprising person who became involved in many companies, was one of the leading businessmen in Torrington and was a pioneer in manufacturing. In 1839, he was the first insurance agent to represent the Aetna Insurance Company in Torrington.

In 1861, Isaac W. Brooks (born November 8, 1838 in Goshen, CT, died 1916), the son of Watts H. Brooks and Mary Wadhams Brooks, was involved in continuing the insurance agency. From 1861 to 1872, Isaac W. Brooks and his brother John W. Brooks were partners in a general merchandise store in Goshen, CT, where they also sold steamship tickets and insurance as a part of the general business.

In 1872, Isaac W. Brooks and his brother, John W. Brooks, came to Torrington where they established the first and only Banking House known as Brooks Brothers Bank. For twenty-seven years, no other bank was necessary here.

It is interesting to note that Isaac W. Brooks and Charles L. McNeil, who established the Brooks, Todd and McNeil Insurance Agency in the mid 1800’s, also were among the founders of the Torrington Water Company and the Torrington Electric Company. They built a building for those companies in 1911 at 69 Water Street, which we purchased in 1995 and in which we presently operate. In a sense, we have returned “home”.

Gordon C. Todd and his partner purchased the Brooks, Todd & McNeil Insurance Agency from John H. Brooks and Harold J. Burns on December 15, 1980. Stephen G. Todd is now President and Gordon C. Todd is Chairman of the board.

Our agency has grown multiple times and we have branch sales offices in Enfield and South Windsor in addition to a new Southeast Division in the South Carolina towns of Mullins and Spartanburg.

“You have a great agent, Ed Townsend, working for you. I will say that he went above and beyond for Maria and I on Friday morning. We were getting ready to purchase a new (used) vehicle at Ross Motor Cars and when I called Ed on his cell, I found out that your office was closed. We were looking to have insurance put on our vehicle so that my son could take our car (that I am selling him) for the remainder of the weekend. Ed, even though he was preparing for a holiday weekend, made sure that we got the insurance by contacting Hannover and following through with me to insure that the vehicle would be insured/added to our existing policy. Truly above and beyond what would be expected from anyone else. Thank you for having him work with us on our accounts and I do realize that the attitude does come from the top down…so thanks for an awesome relationship!” — Antonio Ponte
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