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RG 30/338 - Jesse Maltby Family Papers
Biography/Administrative History

Jesse Maltby (also spelled Maltbie) was born in Norfolk, Connecticut, in 1797. He was one of eleven children of Benjamin and Abigail Maltbie. In 1823, he married Laura M. Baldwin (1798-1824) of Goshen, Connecticut. They had one child, Lorin (dates unknown).

In 1825, a year after his first wife’s death, Jesse Maltby married Salome Collar of Massachusetts. Jesse and Salome Maltby had three children: Laura (Mrs. Selden H. Reed, 1826-1913), Benjamin (dates unknown), and Clarissa (1834-1917).

Jesse Maltby lived in Norfolk, Connecticut, for the first forty years of his life. There he built houses for Solomon Cowles and others. In 1837 or 1838, Jesse Maltby sold his farm to James M. Cowles and moved his family to the Western Reserve. They settled on an eighty-acre farm in Bristol, Trumbull County, Ohio, which Jesse Maltby purchased from Solomon Sager.

In Bristol, Maltby farmed and also served as an agent to sell scythes, and possibly other goods, on commission. He was known for his abolitionist sentiments and active participation in the Underground Railroad.

Jesse Maltby sold his farm in 1854 and subsequently lived in several other places in Bristol Township. He may have relocated to Oberlin in Lorain County during 1854-55 when his daughter, Clarissa, was enrolled in Oberlin College. In 1857 he purchased two lots on West Lorain Street from Oberlin College. He later suffered financial reverses and took up the trade of carpenter and joiner. In the 1873 Oberlin village directory, Jesse Maltby is listed as a mechanic.

The West Lorain Street property was sold to Alfred Platt in 1860. Jesse Maltby later exchanged eighty acres of land in See County, Iowa, for property including a lot on Forest Street in Oberlin. The Maltby family lived in the house he built at 143 Forest Street (9 Forest Street prior to 1894) for over fifty years.

Jesse and Salome Maltby became members of First Congregational Church in Oberlin in 1857. At their golden wedding anniversary in April 1875, Professor Henry Cowles spoke of his early acquaintance with Jesse Maltby during their school days in Norfolk, Connecticut, and S.A. Bushnell told of Maltby’s involvement in the Underground Railroad in Trumbull County.

Jesse Maltby died at his home in Oberlin, Ohio, on December 30, 1884, and Salome Maltby died December 4, 1885. Following their deaths, their daughter Clarissa continued to live in the family home. Her cousin Lydia J. Brockway Maltby (Mrs. Edmund Maltby, 1820-92) also lived with her for a year before her death in 1892. Lydia Maltby was the mother of physicist Margaret Eliza Maltby (1860-1944; A.B. 1882, A.M. 1891) and of Martha Jane Maltby (1850-1932; Lit. 1874, hon. A.M. 1882, Ph.B. 1895). A number of other Maltby cousins also attended Oberlin College, as did Jesse Maltby’s grandsons Selden A. Reed (d. 1904; enr. prep. 1870-71) and Jesse L. Maltby (enr. prep. 1888-90).

Clarissa C. Maltby died on December 4, 1917. She was the last member of her immediate family to pass on, and was survived by two nieces and three nephews, none of whom lived in Oberlin.

The Maltby family farm on Morgan Street later became the property of Oberlin College through the bequest of Charles Martin Hall. It is now part of the Oberlin Golf Course.

Sources Consulted

Richard Byrne, Norfolk (Conn.) Historical Society. E-mail correspondence, June 10 & 18, 2002

Carol Willsey Bell, Local History & Genealogy Center, Warren-Trumbull (Ohio) County Public Library. E-mail correspondence, June 15, 2002

A.G. Hibbard, History of the Town of Goshen, Connecticut, with genealogies and biographies based upon the records of Deacon Lewis Mills Norton, 1897 (Hartford, Conn., Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co, 1897)

Jesse Maltby Family Papers, RG 30/338

Oberlin College Library Autograph File (“M”), RG 16/5

Oberlin News, 15 April 1875, 2 January 1885, and 14 January 1892

Oberlin Tribune, 28 March 1913 and 14 December 1917

Office of the Secretary (RG 5), Deeds and Property Files, "Park Property–Maltby, Reed, Evans"

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