By Dorothy Malone Hamilton
Earl Nightingale, the radio host, writer and motivational speaker, used to tell a story of an African Farmer who dreamed of becoming rich. He heard that diamonds where discovered near the area that he farmed. Excited, the farmer sold his farm and everything that he owned in order to acquire the money to invest in prospecting gear. The ambitious farmer spent his entire life prospecting every acre of that portion of Africa. One day they found him dead, in a creek bed with his burro standing over him. The irony of Nightingale story is, the person who bought the farm from the old prospector, discovered diamonds and that’s the rest of the story as Paul Harvey likes to say.
The same is true about my search for my Malone Ancestors. My husband, Alfred, and I have searched for years in books, libraries, census and various places only to come up empty handed past four generations. Just like the story about the Acres of Diamonds, we found the Malones in our own backyard in Dunedin, Florida.
My story begins, when I was a young girl, my father, Hezekiah Pennington Malone, and I took a train from Pulaski, Virginia to Chicago, Illinois. He had always wanted me to meet his Mother. That summer of 1944, I met my Grandmother Josephine Malone for the first and only time. She was 82 years old and in poor health.
My Grandfather, William Hart Malone, died in 1914 at the age of 48. At the time, my father was only 10 years of age. I had a strong desire to know more about my father’s family. Grandmother Malone told me her maiden name was Quinby. She gave me a handwritten note of her families genealogy and impressed upon me the fact that her family had a interesting history. I didn’t really understand what she meant.
She was also an artist. Later she painted, for me, the Quinby Coat of Arms. I stored the note and painting in a book and forgot it until 15 years ago. This is when my husband and I became interested in researching our family histories. We took the information and much to our surprise, we discovered the Grandmother’s handwritten note was entirely about her Quinby Family. There was not a word about the Malones.
On one occasion, we were visiting the Orlando Library. Alfred discovered a book “Genealogical History of the Quinby Family in England and America". The book, published in 1915, is all about my Grandmother’s family. She is pictured in the book, about five yeas old, with her father. The book describes how the Quinby families were pioneers in Wilmington, Ohio. This is where my Grandparents married. They are buried in the Sugar Grove Cemetery, a Wilmington Historical Cemetery.
On August 13, 2001, we decided to make a research trip to Wilmington, Ohio. My brother, my nephew and his wife decided to go with us. We telephoned the Wilmington Historical Society and made an appointment, in advance, to meet with them as soon as we arrived in town. We didn’t want to waste any time searching for these Malones. Surely, 3 days would be enough time to uncover the mysteries. When we arrived, a very helpful lady handed us a folder that read “Malone.”
In the Malone Folder were letters, newspaper articles and pictures all dealing with Malones in general. The letters were written by John Oliver, Professor Emeritus, of Malone College now located in Canton, Ohio. He was corresponding with a lady who was doing research for him regarding the Malones. This was the first time we knew about the existence of a Malone College. My brother phoned Professor Oliver. When he answered the phone, my brother said, I am the son of Hezekiah Pennington Malone. The professor was so excited, he said Hezekiah cannot be your father, you would be too old. Hezekiah Pennington Malone was born in 1841. He must be your great-grandfather. You must come here. Professor Oliver was very excited about meeting us as he was learning about our family for the first time. He told us our ancestors started Malone College. They were Quakers.
My father did not know that he had been named after his Grandfather. He, also, had named my brother, Hezekiah Pennington Malone, Jr. This indicates my father probably thought he was the first one.
The next day we drove across Ohio and met with Prof. Oliver at the library of Malone College. He proceeded to tell us “everything” about our father’s family. Professor Oliver told us that John Carl and Mary Ann Pennington Malone; my 2nd great-grandparents lived in south Ohio at New Vienna near Wilmington, in the early 1800s. They were farmers and had nine children. Their names were, Hezekiah (my Great, Grandfather) Alice, Charles, Levi, Frances, Edwin, James, John and William.
My Great, Grandfather was the oldest and the first to leave home. He went to Cleveland, Ohio to work. He became very wealthy in his early twenties. The brothers were very close and the others came to Cleveland and became wealthy, also. Prof. Oliver was explaining to us, how the Malones were industrialist and lived on one of the most beautiful street in the world, Euclid Ave., and were neighbors to John Rockefeller. He said they traveled extensively and then he mentioned, "You know where Dunedin is?" Alfred said, "Yes, in Scotland.” Professor Oliver said, “No, in Florida. That is where the Malone Families lived in the winter months in the late 1890s and 1900s.” We nearly fell off our chairs. This was a shock to us, because we have lived in Largo, Florida for 32 years just 10 miles from Dunedin and never knew my Malone Ancestors were pioneers and connected in anyway to Dunedin, Florida.
Upon arriving home, we immediately went to the Dunedin Historical Society. The society has history books about the Malone Family and how they wintered in Dunedin in the late 1880's - 1900's. There are family albums with pictures of the family boating, fishing, picnicking, camping and giving garden parties.
The Malone’s built three large homes overlooking St. Joseph Sound. Two of the homes are still standing. The home at 827 Victoria Drive, Dunedin, FL was built by my Great Grandparents. They owned the home with his brother and wife, Charles Oscar and Sarah Malone.
In Dunedin, Hezekiah’s family and friends were boating enthusiasts and were known as the “Yacht Club Crowd.” The Malones and other prominent residents chartered the Dunedin Yacht Club. Levi Malone became the club’s first commodore and donated the Malone Silver Competitive Racing Trophy. It is said that at one time Dunedin had the largest fleet of sailing vessels in all Florida. Hezekiah’s boat was named the Windward.
There is an island in Clearwater Bay called Malone Island. It is shown on present Pinellas County Maps. Levi Malone owned the north half of Clearwater Beach Island in partnership with his friend Bouton. They built a picnic shelter and invited all who sailed to Clearwater Beach to use the facility.
My Grandfather died in the house on Victoria Drive on January 20, 1913. He and Great Grandmother Emma Hart Malone are buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. Many of the Malones are buried in the Dunedin Historical Cemetery.
Some of the Malones stayed in this area and raised families. Since finding my Dunedin Malone history, I have met 12 cousins that I never knew about before. I am still meeting new ones most every day.
On August 2, 2002, fifty Malone decedents had a family reunion at the Hezekiah Malone house at 827 Victoria Drive. The house is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowers. The Bowers have been very gracious to us and are delighted to learn the history of their home.
For further reading about the Malones and Dunedin History the following books are available at the Dunedin Historical Society:
Dunedin Thru the Years 1850-1978 by William L. Davidson.
Visitor’s Guidebook to Delightful Dunedin, Florida. By Evelyn Wheeler Towler 1995
Images of America Dunedin by Vincent Luisi and A.M. de Quesada Jr.
These books are available at Malone College, Canton, Ohio:
J. Walter Malone, The Autobiography of An Evangelical Quaker, Edited by John W. Oliver
The Malone Story by Byron L. Osborne