Benchmark Title Company, LLC


This week's Title Tip is a history lesson on the birth of the title insurance industry.      

The Birth of Title Insurance
by John Howe, President

In 1968, In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there was an abstractor, known then as a Conveyancer, who made an honest mistake in his research of a piece of property that was to be conveyed to a Mr. Watson.

Mr. Muirhead, the abstractor, missed a lien filed against the property which lead to Mr. Watson losing the property he purchased to the lien claimant.   Mr. Watson filed suit in the Philadelphia courts seeking damages against the abstractor for the loss of his property.  This case ultimately went to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (Watson v. Muirhead, 57 PA 161).

After a hearing on the merits, the judge determined that the abstractor had made an honest mistake by missing the lien and had no liability to Watson for his error.  The court ruled that Muirhead had acted reasonably and within the legal standard of care, and that Watson had no recourse.  However, in the opinion the Judge wrote that in order to avoid future situations like this someone should consider creating some form of indemnity or insurance that would protect a purchaser in the event of errors in the research performed by an abstractor.

In 1876 a group of Conveyancers, led by Joshua Morris, met in an office in Philadelphia and formed the world's first title insurance company, The Real Estate Title Insurance Company of Philadelphia.  On June 19, 1876, the first title insurance policy was issued to Martha Morris to protect her loan on a residential home in Philadelphia, PA. 

In the years subsequent to that date, title insurance has grown to protect the ownership of land and homes on nearly every piece of property in the United States and is now spreading throughout the globe. 

Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email: 

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Commercial Division Manager

Sarah Holdener, Esq.
General Counsel,
VP Production

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
Fax Orders: 618-310-1589
President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

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   Employee Spotlight

 Leslie Rivera

Leslie Rivera, joined Benchmark Title Company in April of 2005 as a Policy Examiner.  She first ventured into the title insurance industry as a Policy Typist six years ago, and has since worked as a Policy Typist, Receptionist, Policy Examiner, Commitment Proofreader, Commitment Typist, and Policy Supervisor.  As a Policy Examiner for Benchmark, Leslie issues policies to owners and lenders for Residential and Commercial properties.  In her free time Leslie volunteers as an Auxiliary Sheriff's Deputy for the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department.  Leslie resides in Freeburg, with her husband, Todd, and her 2 children, a daughter, Taylor who will be 8 next week, and a son, Owen, age 2.  She can be reached at 618-239-3750 or by email at

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