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Drawing of Bear

Second Meeting of the Board of Directors

In the advance of the company, the next historical date of importance was May 11, 1906, when the succeeding meeting of the Board of Directors was held at the home of Director Mark L. Gerstle, 2350 Washington street, San Francisco. Again, I was called upon to bring bad news. I was compelled to inform the Board of Directors that all the records of the company had been destroyed as the safe which contained them had been smashed by falling walls and the contents absolutely obliterated. The only thing recovered was some rolls of silver coins melted together by the intense heat. I also reported that three hundred and fifty claims had been filed for an amount totaling over $650,000.

The loss of the records was a very serious matter and complicated proceedings to a degree apparently almost insurmountable. Lost in the destruction of the safe were some $900,000 in re-insurance policies. This meant restoration of this data from the records of the re-insuring companies and at that time this looked like a superhuman undertaking. However, I immediately detailed two employes with instructions to devote their entire time to this angle of affairs. The companies met the situation with every courtesy and finally after several months' exertion all of the reinsurance was located, with the exception of about $18,000.

I do not like to harbor the thought, but nevertheless I feel that some company or companies, possibly still doing business, know that they owe the California some part of this re-insurance, which goes to show that in the insurance business, as in other enterprises, there are those who cannot bear the light of day.

About twelve months after the "Big Fire" I remember having received a re-insurance claim from a company whose home office is in New York. As this particular company was one of the very few that declined to respond to the request to assist us in restoring the lost data, I thought it the better part of wisdom to ask it to furnish the information previously requested, holding up their claim in the meantime while awaiting their reply. It never came, and their claim against the California still remains unpaid. The conclusion is too glaring to need further comment. A few similar instances might be recorded but they are best forgotten.

This meeting also made history. It levied the first assessment of $40 per share on the six thousand shares of capital stock of the corporation. This would bring in $240,000 and was subsequently followed, month by month, by seven others, until the total assessment had reached $305 per share, amounting in all to $1,830,000, of which $1,800,000, or 98 per cent, to the everlasting glory of the stockholders of the California, be it said, was paid.

The resolution bringing this about was as follows:

"Notice is hereby given that at a meeting of the directors held on the 11th day of May, 1906, an assessment of forty (40) dollars per share was levied upon the capital stock of the corporation payable on or before the 13th day of June, 1906, to Mark L. Gerstle, assistant secretary, at the principal place of business of the corporation, No. 2350 Washington street, San Francisco, Cal. Any stock upon which this assessment shall remain unpaid on the 13th day of June, 1906, will be delinquent and will be advertised for sale at public auction, and unless payment is made before will be sold on the 2d day of July, 1906, at 2 o'clock p. m. to pay the delinquent assessment, together with cost of advertising and expenses of sale."

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