Charles Percival Whitbread, president of the General Underwriters Company of St. Louis, was born in Edwardsville, Illinois, March 18, 1877, and is a son of James and Minnie Elizabeth (Rinne) Whitbread. The ancestry is traced back through several generations in England, where the records of the family include the following under title “Whitbread of Southill.” “Whitbread, William-Henry, Esq., of Southill, County of Bedford, born January 4, 1795; high-sheriff in 1837, and member of parliament for Bedford in the parliaments of 1818, 1820, 1826, 1830, 1831 and 1832. The Whitbreads are said by family tradition, as appears on an Inscription on a monument In Cardington church, to have been of great antiquity in the county of Bedford. Arms-Arg. on a chev. between three Hinds heads erased gu-. Crest-A Hinds head erased gu-. Motto-Virtue non Astutia. Translation-By Bravery, not Stratagem.”
James Whitbread, father of Charles P. Whitbread, was born in London and when, but four years of age was brought to the new world, the family settling in Quincy, Illinois. He afterward removed to Venice, Illinois, where in association with his father be established what is now known as the National Stock Yards Company. He married Minnie Elizabeth Rinne, who was born in Stadt Hagen, Germany, and was brought to the United States when a little maiden of four summers, the family settling in Liberty Prairie, near Edwardsville, Illinois. Mrs. Whitbread is still living at the age of seventy eight years, but the father passed away March 17, 1920.
Charles P. Whitbread obtained his early education in the public schools of his native city, completing the high school course in 1891. During his school days he had learned telegraphy and he then entered the service of the Wabash Railroad Company as telegraph operator, spending two years in that connection. He next became station agent at Edwardsville, Illinois, for the Jacksonville & Southeastern Railroad and from that position was promoted to train dispatcher, with headquarters at Jacksonville, Illinois. He left this position after two year’s when the railroad went into the hands of a receiver and he then made his entry into insurance fields. He secured the position of chief clerk of the railroad installment department of the Union Casualty & Surety Company of St. Louis and thus served for several years, or until 1897, when he was appointed general agent of the railroad installment department. He continued with the Union Casualty & Surety Company until it was absorbed by the Maryland Casualty Company, at which time he connected himself with the Travelers Insurance Company, under John L, Way. This was in 1902, at which time he became manager of the railroad installment department. He afterward was made general agent of St. Louis for the Casualty
Company of America, in New York, and he maintained that connection until about 1903, when the company withdrew from the state of Missouri. Mr. Whitbread next organized the Mercantile Insurance Agency of St. Louis, a corporation of which he became the president, but retired from that position in January, 1912, after placing it upon a most substantial basis. At the latter date he organized the General Underwriters Company, a corporation formed to handle all kinds and branches of Insurance and bonds in Missouri and southern Illinois for all companies. Mr. Whitbread is not only the president but practically the owner of the business, which now represents fifteen different companies. In this connection he has built up a business of extensive proportions, his clientage constantly increasing.
On the 27th of October, 1897, Mr. Whitbread was married to Miss Fanny Mudge, a daughter of Elliott W. and Frances Marion (Clark) Mudge of Edwardsville, Illinois. Her father was born on Oakdale Farm, in Madison county, Illinois, in 1845, which property at that time was owned by Colonel H. S. Mudge, the grandfather of Mrs. Whitbread, who was at that time engaged in the banking business in St. Louis. Colonel Mudge greatly improved this property as a country home and the Improvements, together with the natural beauty, have made this one of the show places of that part of the country. The grandparents of Mrs. Whitbread in the maternal line were John L. and Mary Ann Clark, who removed to Madison county, Illinois, in 1835, and settled near Collinsville. Mrs. Whitbread was reared and educated in Edwardsville, Illinois, completing the high school course there in 1894. Mr. and Mrs. Whitbread have become parents of two children, Elliott Mudge and Marion. The son enlisted in the United States navy as soon as he reached the age of eighteen years and was sent to Mare Island, at San Francisco, where he was stationed from August, 1918, until March 1, 1919, when he returned home. He had graduated from the Grover Cleveland high school just prior to his enlistment and on his discharge entered the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he is still a student. The daughter, Marion, was graduated from the Grader Cleveland high school in 1920 and won the scholarship in the art school of Washington University. She preferred the regular course, however, and entered the university in September, 1920.
The parents are members of the Episcopal church and Mr. Whitbread is serving as vestryman and chairman of the finance committee of St. John’s church. He was one of the original devotees of golf in America and is a lover of all clean sports. His political allegiance is given to the democratic party. He is well known in club circles, belonging to the Missouri Athletic Association, the Sunset Hill Country Club, the Automobile Club, the St. Louis Railway Club and the Century Boat Club. He is likewise identified with the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce and the St. Louis Fire Underwriters Association. Mr. Whitbread’s military record covered service with the Illinois State Militia and in the Home Guards of Missouri. He is a member of the National Association of Insurance Agents and a very active representative of the St. Louis Insurance Agents Association. He is also an honorary member of the St. Louis Salvage Corps. In a review of his life one notes the steady progress which he has made from the starting point of his career. Step by step he has advanced and his energy and determination have constituted the rounds of the ladder on which he has climbed to success and distinction.