Benjamin Malben, 1804 – 1896

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Benjamin Malben, 1804 – 1896

The man who dug the very first grave at Mount Hope Cemetery (for William Carter in 1838) is also buried at Mount Hope. This distinction must have been deemed notable because it is recorded on his interment record, which is usually restricted to name, age, date, cause of death, residence, and burial location. According to a detailed obituary in the Democrat & Chronicle (27 January 1896), Benjamin Malben was born on Christmas Day 1804 in Warwick, England and emigrated to America in 1831. The site for Mount Hope Cemetery was but forest and farmland at that time and Malben purchased a parcel of land in the area. He married Miss Lucy Gilmore from Penfield and they raised six children in their home on Hickory Street. Malben was offered the position of sexton in the cemetery, but declined though he buried many people there. Lucy died in 1887 and several years later Benjamin had a stroke that caused him to stop working in his late 80s. He died at age 91 in 1896 and was buried in Section Y next to his wife. Sadly, their graves are unmarked. Their four daughters are also buried at Mount Hope: Jane Feiock, Lucinda Leight, Victoria Smith, and Emma Carey.

Carina Gassman