A SHORT HISTORY by L.W.RIESEN
In the early 1900’s W. F. Turner formed what was then the Guarantee Abstract and Title Company. In the 1920’s Turner sold the company to a partnership composed of Paul Harding, Paul Scott and R. E. Schoolfield. Soon after the purchase of the Guarantee Abstract and Title Company, Harding, Scott and Schoolfield bought what was then the Central Abstract and Title Company. Scott and Harding managed the Central Abstract Company and Schoolfield managed the Guarantee.
In 1923 or 1924, L. W. Riesen, the writer, became the manager of the Guarantee Abstract and Title Company and remained in that position until 1927 or 1928 at which time L. W. Riesen and John Bland purchased what was then known as Harris Abstract Company. The name was changed and the company was incorporated under the name of Fidelity Abstract and Title Corporation with Bland as President and L. W. Riesen as Vice-President and manager. The Company was operated until the depression began in 1929-1930.
The Fidelity Abstract Company was, as were many other businesses at that time, practically bankrupt. Bland bought L. W. Riesen’s interest and consolidated Fidelity Abstract Company and Central Abstract Company which was then owned by Schoolfield and operated by him and his daughter.
The Guarantee had been sold by the original partnership of Harding et at to a person or persons unknown to the writer. W. P. Killingsworth loaned this person/persons the money for this venture. Shortly after, they became insolvent, and Killingsworth foreclosed and took possession of the company. Subsequently, about 1931 or 1932, he hired the writer as manager and sold one-half interest to him. In 1939, the writer purchased the interest of Killingsworth and became the sole owner of the Guarantee Abstract and Title Company. At that time, Patrick H. McBroom, nephew of L. W. Riesen, was working for the company and purchased stock in the newly incorporated Guarantee Abstract and Title Company. Later, Sidney J. Cathey, an attorney from Ft. Worth, was hired, and he also became a stockholder in GATCO.
The company operated with this management personnel until 1962 at which time L. W. Riesen sold the controlling interest in the company to Cathey and McBroom who became equal owners of the outstanding stock.
L. W. Riesen retained certain rights in the sale to Mr. McBroom and Mr. Cathey–one of these rights, among others, was that the writer would maintain an office in the company’s location for life. L. W. Riesen maintained an office in the Guarantee Abstract and Title Company until 1990. In 1990, Mr. Riesen moved his office to his home at 4808 Maplewood, Wichita Falls, Texas .
The Fidelity Abstract Company was sold sometime in the early 1950’s to Stewart Title and Guaranty Company of Ft. Worth, Texas. At that time the Guarantee Abstract and Title Company represented the Lawyers Title Insurance Company. L. W. Riesen consummated a deal with Stewart Title Company in which the Guarantee Abstract and Title Company agreed to represent Stewart Title Company solely in the issuance of Title Insurance Policies.
Guarantee notified Lawyer’s Title that they could no longer represent them. Guarantee Abstract and Title Company subsequently purchased the Fidelity Abstract Company from Stewart Title and operated it in conjunction with GATCO for two or three years.
Guarantee then sold Fidelity Abstract Company to Dick Hughes, a land developer from Fort Worth. Hughes was the developer and builder of homes in Faith Village. Sometime later, and this is speculative, Elie Lam, builder and his associates et ai, and Tom Foley et al purchased the Wichita County Abstract Company, the Central Abstract Company, and the Fidelity Abstract Company and consolidated them into what is now known as Land Mark Title.
Pat McBroom died sometime in the 1970’s, and Sidney J. Cathey became the sole owner of the Guarantee Abstract and Title Company. Sid Cathey retired and sold controling interest in the company to A. J. Eckstein in 1989 L. W. Riesen owned the building in which the company was located. This building was sold, together with all rights reserved in the original sale to McBroom and Cathey by L. W. Riesen, to Guarantee Abstract and Title Co. whose majority stock was then held by A. J. Eckstine. The sale of the building was consummated February 1, 1990.
It would be an oversight if the writer overlooked the following employees who so diligently contributed their special talents, time and loyalty to the successful operation of GATCO during the ownership of the company by Mr. McBroom, Mr. Cathey and Mr. Riesen.
The employees were Joyce Bryan, Mr. Riesen’s ‘secretary for many years, Sarah Doyle, Jean Davis, Ed Brooker, Ruth Welchel, Tex Hardin, Ruby Richardson, Alice McGee, Lloyd Neely and Annette Anderson. The writer shall always be grateful for the privilege of knowing such fine people and to this day appreciates their devotion, loyalty and excellent work toward the successful operation of the GATCO. Believe me, I miss these fine people and the usually cheerful good mornings which we exchanged when we arrived at the office, for another workday.
In 2007 Herman “Tex” Hardin, Jr updated this short history of GATCO.
In 1989 A. J. Eckstine brought GATCO into the computer generation, he also purchased the former Muehlberger building at Maplewood and Elmwood. After some remodeling GATCO moved from their old location on 7th street to the new location. About 1996 the business was purchased by Bill Elder, Barney Fudge and Tony Marsh. Shorty after that Sherri Christie was hired as receptionists. She was soon promoted to secretary and then to escrow officer. In 1999 Sherri Christie, Jean Davis, and Herman ‘Tex’ Hardin, Jr purchased the business and changed the name to “Guarantee Title”. In 2003 Jason Christie, Sherri’s husband, joined her in running the business and this continued until their deaths in 2006.
Ownership of the business then went to Roby and Renee Christie, Erin Wood, Teresa Marten, Jean Davis and Herman ‘Tex’ Hardin, Jr.
Jan. 2013 Kolter Lukert became President of Guarantee Title and is currently one of the major shareholders. The current owners are: Kolter Lukert, Roby Christie, Renee Christie, and Erin Nimetz.
- 2008 TLTA MEMBER COMPANIES Serving Texas for Over 100 Years
- 1876 Monteith Abstract & Title Company – 132 YRS – Belton
- 1880 Edwards Title – 128 YRS – Edinburg
- 1880 San Augustine County Abstract Company – 128 YRS – San Augustine
- 1882 San Angelo Abstract Company – 126 YRS – San Angelo
- 1883 Bastrop Abstract Company, Inc – 125 YRS – Bastrop
- 1883 Stewart Title of Texarkana – 125 YRS – Texarkana
- 1884 Oatman Land Titles, Inc – 124 YRS – Llano
- 1888 First Community Title Co. – 120 YRS – Temple
- 1889 Neel Title Corporation – 119 YRS – Laredo
- 1891 Stewart Title of Galveston – 117 YRS – Galveston
- 1893 Georgetown Title Co., Inc – 115 YRS – Georgetown
- 1893 Houston Title Company – 115 YRS – Houston
- 1893 King Abstract Company – 115 YRS – Stephenville
- 1893 Stewart Title Guaranty Company – 115 YRS – Houston
- 1895 Aldrich Abstract Company – 113 YRS – Crockett
- 1896 Port Arthur Abstract & Title Company – 112 YRS Port Arthur
- 1896 Don Roberts Abstract & Title Company – 112 YRS Quitman
- 1897 Meridian Abstract & Title Company – 111 YRS Meridian
- 1898 Eastland Title Company – 110 YRS – Hillsboro
- 1902 Hooks Title & Abstract Company – 106 YRS – Kountze
- 1903 Guarantee Title – 105 YRS – Wichita Falls
- 1903 Tarver Abstract Company – 105 YRS – Liberty
- 1905 Hansford Abstract Company Inc. – 103 YRS – Spearman
- 1906 Hale County Abstract – 102 YRS – Plainview
- 1907 Lemons Abstract Company, Inc. – 101 YRS – Sanderson
- 1907 Old Republic National Title Insurance Company – 101 YRS Houston
- 1907 Stewart Title North Texas, Inc. – 101 YRS – Dallas
- 1908 Garland Smith Abstract Company – 100 YRS – Jasper
- 1908 Powell Abstract Company, Inc. – 100 YRS- -Dumas