By Dirk Webb
Photo by Dale Pickett
James E. Freeman, Jr.
Deca Williams, Owner
Kim Wishall, Former President
Rowland Title Company, Inc.
1003 Jackson St.
Anderson, IN 46016
Rowland Title Company was founded in 1889, by William Rowland, a native of Terre Haute, Indiana. William entered the real estate abstract business at the tender age of twenty and soon established a partnership with William Beachler, working as abstractors and notary publics in Anderson.
From the beginning, Rowland Title Company has been locally owned and operated with a strong presence and respected reputation in Madison County. Rowland Title Company was incorporated in Indiana on June 30, 1915.
To this day, Rowland Title Company maintains and preserves real estate records for all of Madison County, exploring daily the rich history of the land title records. Further, it serves as trusted fiduciary handling millions of dollars’ worth of real estate sales and loan escrow, capped by policies of title insurance it issues for and on behalf of its underwriters.
Why here in Madison County? “First of all, it’s where we started. We stay here in Madison County because of the relationships that we’ve made and because of the support of the business people and locals. We have expanded to serve people in other areas, but we’ll never let Madison County go. This community has a lot of history to offer. Much like Anderson, we will continue to grow, change, adapt, and find a new way to succeed. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but we’re committed to investing back into this community. Our roots are so deeply entangled in the history of Madison County that we have nowhere else we’d rather be. We are quite blessed to be able to continue in business after 125 years.”
Why are you in this business? “Real estate is a vital part of the economy. There is almost nothing as satisfying as helping someone acquire the home of their dreams. We get to play an important role in helping individuals buy their dream home or buy a building to begin a new business, thus building a stronger community. This business is extremely satisfying and rewarding.”
What are your goals for 2015? “2015 is going to be a big year for the title and real estate industry. The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), a relatively new player in this industry, will be implementing complicated new rules regarding disclosure to the consumers. We want to be the leader in this community by explaining to the Realtors, lenders, and general public how to properly comply with these new rules/regulations. Secondly, we changed ownership and Presidency of Rowland on July 1st of 2014. We are excited to see the new ideas and visions play out for 2015. Our focus will be on customer service, technology, and being a leader in the real estate industry. Lastly, if the Madison County housing market picks up (as we’re predicting), we will be hiring more employees, further solidifying our role as a leading small business in this community.”
Who do you consider the most courageous person in history and why? "Abraham Lincoln, because he led our nation through its darkest hour, the civil war. It took great courage on his part to see the death, destruction and broken lives that the civil war caused. He was criticized from all sides. He was vilified by his enemies. In the end however, he stayed the course, the civil war was won, and the nation stayed together. The renown and reverence that our nation continues to show to him is proof positive of his courage."
If you were to take that person on a tour of your business, what one thing would you want them to see? "An interesting tidbit about Abraham Lincoln is that his father lost their family farm, not once but twice, due to land title disputes. As a lawyer, Abraham Lincoln represented many Railroad companies. He knew the importance and difficulty of performing accurate title searches, as during his heyday as a lawyer the railroads were expanding and obtaining right- of-ways and other land at a rapid pace. We believe that Lincoln would appreciate how far the title industry has come since he was a boy. We would show him how we now issue title insurance policies to protect our persons from losing their homes and farms. And we hope that he would approve of our bust of him right inside the front door. Given his love of a good laugh, he probably would be amused."
What was the defining moment when you knew your business was making a difference? “There are two major moments that stand out in our minds. The first was in 2003 when the Anderson Madison County Association of Realtors awarded us the honor of being the first Affiliate of the Year. It was gratifying to know that the real estate industry recognized us for our long term commitment to both the community and to the Madison County residents. The second moment that stands out is that we survived the economic turmoil when most other title companies crumbled. We stayed in business, employing a dozen or more employees the entire time. We had the opportunity to sell the company, but decided that it was more important to ride through the downturn and continue to be locally owned & operated. We take pride in looking back and knowing that we did everything that we could to continue to operate at such high standards.”