History of C & W

Our agency was founded April 9, 1929 when Sam Charlson wrote a surety bond for his good friend, Dan Walters. Sam wrote the bond with the Aetna Fire & Casualty Insurance Company.

Headshot of Sam Charlson, Manhattan, KS from 1961 Manhattan Mercury.
Sam Charlson, 1961

Mr. Charlson was a graduate of the University of Iowa and attended the University of Iowa School of Law. He came to Manhattan in 1920 as a bookkeeper to Knostman Clothing Store, predecessor to Stevenson Clothing Company. In 1927 he purchased the Spilman Abstract Company.

J. Robert Wilson purchased the company in 1947. Mr. Wilson was a graduate of Washburn University and the Washburn University School of Law. He was president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Landon Lecture Series, and the Kansas State University Foundation prior to his retirement in 1981.

Charles Hostetler joined the company in the mid-1960s. Mr. Hostetler was a graduate of Manhattan High School, Kansas State University, and the University of Kansas School of Law. Mr. Hostetler purchased the insurance business from Wilson in the mid-1970s while Wilson continued to own and operate Charlson and Wilson Bonded Abstracters. The two companies kept the Charlson & Wilson names, but operated different businesses.

Charlson & Wilson Insurance Agency moved into its current location at 555 Poyntz Avenue in 1988. The agency is now owned by Michael Widman, Charlie Hostetler’s stepson, who joined the agency in 1995. Widman changed the name from Charlson and Wilson to C & W Insurance Agency in 2017.

Though much has changed since 1929, our focus on building relationships and serving our clients has remained the same.

Community Involvement

C & W Insurance believes in giving back to the communities where we work and live. Our team members support a variety of organizations by volunteering, donating, or serving in Board of Director roles. Some of the organizations we support are:

KSU Foundation, Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, Homecare & Hospice, Manhattan Arts Center, Boys & Girls Club Board, Crossroads Soccer Association, PTO organizations, Manhattan Country Club Board, and various youth sports.