THE MALBONE FAMILY OF SOUTH HAVEN
By Florence Malbone
Although they never lived in South Haven, I will start this history with my great, great grandparents, Charles Malbone (son of Evan Malbone) born October 2, 1755, and Jerusha, born in 1767. They had three sons - John, Solomon, and Charles, Jr.. John was born July 22, 1796 and died November 22, 1868. He married Eleanor Preston who was born July 10, 1802 and died March 15, 1883. They lived in Wilmington, Essex County, New York. They were the parents of six children - Jerusha, born August 21, 1820 and died January 6, 1908; Evan, born January 25, 1824 and died January 8, 1893. There were also triplet daughters born November 13, 1828. They were - Mary Merilla who died July 24, 1913; Sarah Eleanor who died October 3, 1929; and Lucretia Elizabeth who died in infancy. Then there was Armelia Ann, born March 4, 1835 and died in 1839. After serving as a Corporal in the War of 1812, Solomon went to Worthington, Franklin County, Ohio. There he married Priscilla Soule (Sole) (daughter of Stephen Delano) . A son, Solomon Martin, was born to them March 4, 1819 and died January 14, 1903. Solomon, Sr. died September 9, 1819 at the age of twenty-five years. Priscilla died in 1853. Charles, Jr. lived in Wilmington, New York. He died February 9, 1876 at the age of ninety-one years. His wife, Sarah, died August 6, 1875 at the age of eighty-six. They had no children.
On February 14, 1843, Solomon Martin Malbone (called Mart) married his cousin, Jerusha, daughter of John and Eleanor Preston Malbone. The marriage took place in Wilmington, New York. They were my grandparents; they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in South Haven, Michigan.
Grandpa and Grandma Malbone did not stay long in New York, but went to his home in Ohio to live. The trip from New York to Ohio was made by canal boat.
On April 24, 1844, their first child, Armelia Ann, was born. She died January 20, 1845.
Nine more children were born to them, six sons and one daughter; one son and the daughter died in infancy. The surviving sons were: John Solomon, born in 1846 and died in 1940; Louis Gyder (Guide), born in 1848 and died in 1923; Herbert Evan, born in 1855 and died in 1938; Harry Harwood, born in 1858 and died in 1921; Charles Lucius Grant (Lute, C.L.G.), my father, born December 19, 1862 and died August 4, 1939.
In 1864, the family moved to Iowa, locating near Fort Dodge. The trip was made by team and was considered dangerous because of the war. In 1875, the family again moved, this time to South Haven. They arrived the last of March. Uncle Guide did not come, but remained in Iowa. However, the rest of the family came, including Uncle John's wife, the former Mary Cordelia Rawson and their two children, Winnie and Will is (Will). Mary Cordelia was always called Deal by the family.
For almost a month the family stayed at a hotel on the southeast corner of Phoenix and Kalamazoo Streets where Don's Linoleum is now located. Years later the building was moved east of town to Gasins Resort which was on the north side of Phoenix Road a short distance from the city limits.
While living in the hotel, Grandpa bought a twenty acre farm in the Deerlick district about three or three and one-half miles south of town. It was on what is now 13th Avenue. I remember hearing that the deer used to come to the creek to drink so the early settlers put out something the deer licked, salt I believe. When the deer came to drink they would lick the salt so they called it the deer lick. Then the creek was called Deerlick Creek, and then the community was also called Deerlick.
Deerlick Creek winds through the property Grandpa bought, dividing it into sections. There are also a number of large ravines. On the west side of the creek, at the top of one of the ravines, a short distance from the road and to the north and east of the lake, was a log house. This was the family's first home in South Haven. When I was a girl living on the farm, bulbs from the old garden would come up and blossom in the Spring. In 1878, while livinq in the log house, a son, Lloyd, was born to Uncle John and Aunt Deal.
Grandpa was a charter member of Neptune Lodge I.O.O.F. Grandma was a charter member of Jewel Rebeckah Lodge, I.O.O.F. Grandpa also belonged to the Rebeckah's.
After living in the log house for awhile, a six room house with a large attic was built on the East side of the Creek. This house and the farm was to remain in the Malbone family for many years. Grandpa was a mason by trade, so a short distance from the house he built a smoke house of stones, the nicest smoke house I have ever seen. Later Dad put on a cement room. Many hams were smoked there, also bacon.
Grandpa and Grandma were Congregationalists, so when the church was built in 1877, Grandpa joined the pastor, the Rev. A. E. Paddock (later Dr. Paddock) and the other men in working on the church. As Grandpa was a mason, that is the work he contributed. Years later after Dr. Paddock had conducted the morning worship service, Dad introduced me to him. He said, "I tended masons for your grandfather". Getting back to the building of the church, at noon the men would go into town to a restaurant owned by Mr. M. F. Smith, a deacon in the church. My father always referred to him as Deacon Smith. His lot joins the old Malbone lot in Lake View Cemetery.
After a time Uncle Herb returned to Iowa. He and Uncle Guide lived at Storm Lake.
Uncle John bought a farm on what is now Twelfth Avenue on the South side of the road not far from the railroad tracks. He and Aunt Deal had three more children -Frank, John H., and Carrie. Uncle John was both a mason and a farmer.
Uncle Harry married Eunice Pratt. For a time they lived in a small house on land joining the Malbone farm to the East. Later he bought a farm in the Law district. They had four sons - Ross, Claude, LeRoy and Charles. Uncle Harry, like his father and brother John, was both a mason and farmer. LeRoy and Charles left South Haven, but Ross and Claude remained.
Ross and his wife, Frances Weelands, had two daughters - Arlene, now Mrs. John Schiele; Helen, now Mrs. Harry Greenman. Ross was also a mason by trade.
Claude and his wife, Clara Foster Fellows, had no children, but Clara had a son, Vernon Fellows, by her first marriage. She was a widow when she married Claude. Claude was a carpenter.
On February 10, 1891, Charles L. G. (Lute C.L.G.) Malbone married Lena Matthews who was born on February 3, 1871 and died November 30, 1927. She was the younger daughter of John S. Matthews who was born December 11, 1827 and died April 11, 1900, and his wife, Mary June Hayward, who was born August 31, 1833 and died October 8, 1922. Both were born in England. They had an older daughter, Melvine (Mellie) born March 11, 1857 and who died November 10, 1954.
Grandpa Matthews was a miller. He and Grandma had gone from New Jersey where Aunt Mollie was born, to Pennsylvania where my mother was born. From there they came to Kalamazoo, and then to South Haven, arriving in February of 1875, a month before the Malbones.
Grandpa worked at the mill owned by Mr. Sweet. It was close to the river, and the men noticed that the river varied in depth from year to year so they would make a mark on the mill where the water came. They found that every seven years the lake would be high and every seven years it would be low. Years later men with scientific measuring devices found out the same thing. The old timers did well with simple things. After the mill was no longer in operation, Mr. Sweet took the mill wheel and put it in the parkway of his home on Dykman Avenue. This was Sweet's Resort. My folks showed me the wheel when I was a girl.
After their marriage, Dad and Mother lived with Grandpa and Grandma on the Malbone farm. My brother, Ernest, born February 13, 1895 and died March 23, 1961, and I were born there. I was born June 30, 1904.
Dad did not take up the mason trade as his father and brothers had done, but was a fruit farmer. For some time he had a large patch of red raspberries which produced extra nice berries. Most of them were sold to Burge and Burge who had a grocery store. They had some customers who had a standing order for some of the berries. One businessman who had a store near Surge's would watch and when he saw Dad with the berries, he would come and get some. Dad also raised other fruit, including apples and pears. Most of the fruit was sold to commission houses in Chicago. I used to ride to town with him and go to the dock. The horses and wagons would be lined up. The men representing the commission houses would be there. They would come to the wagon, raise the corner of the basket, and if they felt the fruit was good quality they would make a price on it. If Dad thought the price was as much or more than he could get if he shipped the fruit he would accept their price. Then the man would stamp his firm's name on the basket corner. When our turn came, we would drive down to the dock. The Commission men used to come to the farm also. One of them was always telling how good his firm was, but every once in awhile it would be a different firm. When Dad asked him about it, he replied; "They will all steal from you, so ship to the one who steals the least."
In 1894, Uncle John and family moved to town where he and his sons went into the hardware business. They had a sign which said, "The Sign of the Padlock." The building was three stories with a basement. The first floor was made into three rooms for the business. The family lived on the second floor, and the entire third floor was a dance hall. There was an elevator in the building. On the first floor one entered from a small room in back of the middle store at 515 Phoenix.
In 1907, Uncle John sold the hardware store to Mr. Ender and went to Virginia to live. He returned to South Haven two years later and bought the store back and continued in the hardware business until his death in 1940.
Years ago there were many peach orchards in the South Haven area. They would get a disease called the yellows, so a man served as a Yellows Commissioner. It was his duty to inspect the trees. If he found one with the Yellows he cut a notch in the trunk showing it was to be destroyed. At one time Dad was the commissioner. My brother, Ernest, was just a little boy at the time so of course he liked to go with Dad. That he took notice of what was done is shown by his going out in the front yard one day and cutting a notch in one of the cedars. He said he thought that it had the yellows. The cut healed but the scar remained.
Ernest had a medium sized black dog named Carlo. He hated woodchucks and would kill one every chance he got. One day he and Ernest were on the West side of the creek and Carlo scared out a woodchuck. An apple tree was on the bank so the woodchuck went up the tree. Ernest, who was barefoot, climbed the tree after the woodchuck. Grandpa who was on the other side of the creek called to him to stop. He either didn't hear him or else didn't want to. He kept climbing until he could reach the woodchuck's tail and grabbed.it. The woodchuck fell to the ground and Carlo killed it. Ernest said he thought it was a squirrel.
In the old days the Coast Guard was called the Life Saving Station. At night a man would patrol on the shore. There was a post with a box on it a short distance South from Eleventh Avenue right on the bank. The man was supposed to put either a paper or card (I don't know which) in the box at a certain time to show that he made the patrol. One night, it must have been very dark or else storming, or perhaps he was new on the job, he missed the box and came on until he came to the road. Then he came to the house. Of course Dad could tell him where the box was. I used to see the box when we went across the fields to visit the neighbors on Eleventh Avenue and beyond.
In 1910, Uncle John returned to South Haven from Virginia after being there for a couple of years. He bought the store back and again went into the Hardware business. Later he moved the hardware into the two East rooms and put furniture in the West room. There was a large unused room above the store, so stairs were installed in the back of the store so furniture could be kept there too. Later he bought the store next door to the west, which had been a bakery. An opening was cut and furniture was put there also. It is now Teeter's Sewing Center. In the back of the East store, Mr. John Wynn had a tin shop. Many were the pots and pans he mended. Once he made a cookie pan for my mother that just fit the oven of the cookstove. In the Spring, the maple trees would be tapped. Mr. Wynn was given the measurements of the top of the stove. He made a shallow pan to fit. After that all the sap was boiled in the pan. It was sold at the auction before we left the farm. After the death of my mother, the handle of .the cookie cutter which had belonged to her, broke. Mr, Wynn mended it so it was as good as new.
Years ago there was a flat building on the Northwest corner of Phoenix and Broadway called the Broadway Flats. It was owned by Frank, Lloyd and John H. Malbone. At one time Frank and his wife, Fanny, lived there. A filling station has been on the corner for years. It is next to W.J.O.R.
Winnie Malbone and her husband, Robert Ferrand, had five children - Amy, Grace, Arthur, Philip, and Edith. They lived in Leslie, Michigan. Willis (Will) Malbone and his wife, Fleta Chapman, had two sons, George and Lawrence.
Lloyd and his wife, Dena Moyer, had four children - Doris Hocking, Marian Stafford, D. Wesley and Howard. They lived at Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Frank Malbone and his wife, Fanny King, had three sons - Clyde, Owen and Glenn. They lived at Chicago, Saginaw, and finally at Three Rivers, Michigan.
John H. Malbone and his wife, Susie Tracy, had three children - Gordon, John R., and Lois (Mrs. Earl Valentine, now deceased).
Carrie Malbone and her husband, Cornelius Brooks, had three children - Curtis, Louis and Cordelia, who died when a small child. They lived in Virginia.
In August, 1919, Mother and Dad sold the farm to Lloyd Malbone of Kalamazoo. You will remember he was the one born in the log house. On May 20, 1920, we moved to town.
Lloyd built some large porches on the house and went into the resort business. It was called Valley View Resort. He soon returned to Kalamazoo, and the farm was rented. Later it was sold to a brother of Dr. N. L. Goodrich, one of South Haven's best loved doctors.
Although the farm had finally passed out of the Malbone family, names have a way of sticking and for a long time the farm was called Malbone Place and the beach was Malbone's beach.
In 1933, Will Malbone who had managed the furniture store for his father, rented
a store across the street and went into business for himself. This was Malbone
Electric. He was assisted by his son, Lawrence. Some years later Lawrence and
John R. Malbone, who had been employed by the bank, took over the Malbone
Hardware store. They were the third generation of Malbones to have the store.
John has been a favorite name in the Malbone family for years. There have been five generations of Johns in South Haven. These are: John S., son of Solomon Martin and Jerusha Malbone; John H., son of John S. and Mary Cordelia Malbone; John R., son of John H. and Susie Malbone; John G., son of John R. and Caroline Malbone; and John B., son of John G. and Dorothy Malbone.
I am often asked what relation I am to one of the other Malbones, or if I am related at all. I hope this history will explain our relationship to each other. We are all descendants of Solomon Martin and Jerusha Malbone who came to South Haven in March, 1875.
Note: Other spellings for Malbone are: Malbon, Malbank, Malbourn, and Malbourne.
May 10, 1977
Obtained from the "Malbone's Family Book"
Individual family contributions compiled by Wesley and Lula [Brant] Malbone