Peden Home
Hosea A. Peden
Georgia Estella (Peden) Churchill Wenona Billee (Churchill) Clark Other Pages
Site Home

Minnie J. Lawing AKA Janet Malbon AKA Minnie Doran

This Page last updated on .

As I was going through the stuff from Fred Churchill's attic, I found this photo:

Who was this woman? Well I knew that about 1915, Frank Churchill (Fred's father) was the manager of the newly opened Opera House in El Dorado Springs, MO.

Written on back:
"Janet Malbon"
Mrs. Minnie Maxwell Lawing
Grand opera singer
program at "Opera House" El Dorado
My date of 1915 is just an estimate. The front seems to be labeled "Rool - Chicago" as the photographer.

A search of the internet for Minnie Maxwell Lawing shows the minutes of the organizational meeting of the "Ladies' Literary Club of Ozark" (MO) dated September 1910.

In this document, the officers of the organization are listed with Minnie Maxwell Lawing shown as "Sec & Treas.".

Then another file with the minutes of the same group dated 1828. In this document, there was a "thank you" to one of the original founders of the group, "Janet Malbon".

The minutes of the 27 Feb 1928 meeting read: "Janet Malbun (sic) who was a charter member of this club was made a life member."
The minutes of the 23 Apr 1928 meeting read: "Letter read from Janet Malbon expressing her pleasure & appreciation of being elected a life member of the Club."

So this all being too much of a coincidence, these two ladies must be the same person, with "Janet Malbon" being her stage name.

Who's who in Music in California lists Janet Malbon as a soprano soloist and teacher. Attended school in Chicago graduating in 1912.

This from the 1920 edition of Who's Who in Music in California:

Another researcher suggested that "Malbon" is a play on the two French words "mal" and "bon". Especially since she advertised herself as being of French descent.

I wrote an email to the webmaster of the "Ladies' Literary Club" web site and offered a scan of the photo.

I have a photograph of an opera singer named "Janet Malbon" whose real name is Minnie Maxwell Lawing.

Doing a Google search led to hits on the Ladies' Literary Club of Ozark. Apparently Minnie was a founding member of that club in 1910. I also found a "thank you" entry in the minutes of a 1928 meeting, but thanking Janet Malbon.

I suspect that Janet Malbon is the stage name of Lawing.

The photo is from a family collection. One of the family members was the manager of the Opera House in El Dorado Spring, MO and the note on the back indicates that Malbon performed there.

If you have any interest in a scan of that photo, l'll be happy to send it to you.

The family web site:

Mark DiVecchio

She wrote back.

Date:            Thu, 20 Sep 2007 17:12:33 -0500
From:            Mabel Phillips <>
Subject:         Re: Janet Malbon
To:              Mark DiVecchio <>

Yes, we would love to have a copy. Thanks for discovering this interesting item.
I see from the American Memory project of the Library of Congress that Janet Malbon traveled with the Hinshaw Light Opera Singers on the Chautauqua Circuit.   search on "Malbon".

I looked at your website. Nice job.

I've attached three files with the photo of Janet Malbon. Its amazing the connections that the Internet lets us make.

Date:    Fri, 21 Sep 2007 01:32:46 -0500
From:    Mabel Phillips <>
Subject:    [Fwd: Re: Janet Malbon]
To:              Wayne Glenn <>,


Talk about coincidences.

1) Mark had the photo of Minnie Maxwell Lawing, AKA Janet Malbon, traveling with  Hinshaw Light Opera Singers on the Chautauqua Circuit and performing at the Opera House at an opera house in Eldorado Springs, Missouri managed by Mark's relative.

2) The University of Iowa's collection lent to the American Memory Collection of the Library of Congress mentions Janet Malbon with the Hinshaw Light Opera Singers. The name also appeared in an 1932 ad for Arcadia Playhouse, Arcadia, California where Janet Malbon was performing with the Tindle Brothers

Here is an article from the Arcadia Tribune in March 1932:

Attraction at Local Theater

Many Fine Pictures Are Billed for the Playhouse During Coming Week

Those who enjoy talkies have many treats before them this week and next at the Arcadia theater, for Miss Janet Malbon and the Tindle brothers, managers of the local playhouse, promise an excellent bill for each evening of the week.

Edward G. Robinson in "The Hatchet Man" is one of the features for this evening and tomorrow night. Loretta Young, Dudley Digges and Tully Marshall are also in the cast. Critics who have seen the film state it is one of the best things seen for a long time, as it is an actual portrayal of life in Chinatown, San Francisco. Fox Movietone News will contribute to the general enjoyment, as will a Charlie Chase comedy.

Future bookings into the Arcadia Theater include the following: "Passionate Plumber," with Buster Keaton; "Madelon Claudet," with Helen Hayes; "Fireman Save My Child," with Joe E. Brown; "Emma," with Marie Dressier; "Beau Hunks," with Laurel and Hardy; "Prestige," with Ann Harding; "The Champ," with Wallace Berry and Jackie Cooper.
posted by ken mc on Oct 31, 2006 at 1:03pm

3) The transcriptions of the Ladies' Literary Club minutes on-line on the Transcribed Records website and picked up by a Goggle search, naming Minnie Maxwell Lawing as a founder of the society and later, in 1928 sending thanks to Janet Malbon, Charter member of the Ladies' Literary Club.

4) Then there's Wayne's occupation as a historian, especially photographs and music. I went back to pull Wayne's "Ozark of the Ozarks: a Photo History of Ozark and Vicinity" and it fell open to page 94, at the bottom of which was a picture of the Ozark School Faculty, the third person being Minnie Maxwell Lawing.

5) I walked back to the office, where the scan of the photo of Minnie Maxwell Lawing AKA Janet Malbon was just coming up on the e-mail.

So, I got out my magnifying glass and looked at the two. She's certainly sterner and more dignified in the teacher's picture with her hair up and a "behave yourselves" expression on her face. But, it sure looks like it could be the same person. Same size, face shape, hair color.

Thought the two of you would enjoy the list of coincidences.

Wayne, I hope you can view the photo.
Date:            Fri, 21 Sep 2007 02:16:25 -0500
From:            Mabel Phillips <>
Subject:         Forever Young
To:              Wayne Glenn <>,

I noticed "Janet Malbon" must have come not through El Dorado Springs, but one of the springs sought by Ponce De Leon.

In 1920, the census says she was 26 years old, born in Illinois to a father born in Missouri and mother born in Kentucky and her occupation was Music.

In 1929, when comes through the Panama Canal Zone enroute to California, she is 27.

By the 1930 census, she is 28, born 1902 in Illinois to parents born in Spain, and she is an opera singer.

Well, I've seen some whose livelihood is less dependant on youth aging less than 10 years in a decade. . .
From:            Mark DiVecchio <>
To:              Mabel Phillips <>, Wayne Glenn <>
Subject:         Re: Forever Young
Date:            Fri, 21 Sep 2007 09:49:04 -0700

Mabel and Wayne,

I went back and looked at the Who's Who in Music in California, published in 1920.

She is listed on page 91 where it says she graduated from college in 1911. She was American born of French parentage.

Also, I found a photo of her on page 147. But from the scan of the book on the Internet, its hard to make out her facial features. I've attached as good of a copy as I could get.

From:            Mark DiVecchio <>
To:              Mabel Phillips <>, Wayne Glenn <>
Subject:         More on Janet Malbon
Date:            Sun, 30 Sep 2007 21:32:02 -0700

Dear Mabel and Wayne,

I thought you might enjoy seeing the attached scans.

I was going through the papers and letters left by Frank Churchill, the manager of the Opera House at El Dorado Springs, MO and I found this letter from Janet Malbon to Frank's wife, Stella.

In it she references "My cousins there" so that might be the connection to the El Dorado Springs area.

In it she also references another letter, of which only a fragment remains. That fragment is signed by Mrs. E.O. Lawing of Chicago.


Letter to Stella Peden Churchill, wife of the manager of the opera house.
Handwritten note in pencil in upper left probably written by Stella Churchill.

A "J" for Janet?

Signed by Janet Malbon

Only a fragment of the letter referred to in the main letter remains. Signed by Mrs. E.O. Lawing.
For some comments on this letter fragment, look at the second email below from Mabel Phillips.
Date:    Tue, 02 Oct 2007 00:11:11 -0500
From:    Mabel Phillips <>
Subject:    Re: More on Janet Malbon
To:    Mark DiVecchio <>, Wayne Glenn <>

Just for the heck of it, I decided to see if there was an E. O. Lawing among the large Lawing family here. There was:

Ernest O. Lawing was born March 1879 to John Osslan & Jennie (Nichols) Lawing. He was a grandson of Robert Preston & Margaret Brooks (McDaniel) Lawing. Then, I looked to see where he was.

They were right here in Ozark in 1910:

1910 MO Christian Finley 156 Oz
Earnest O., Dr.    LAWING    M W Head    33    M/1 2    MO MO IL    Dentist
Minnie J.    LAWING    F W Wife    23    M/1 2 0-0    MO MO MO    Music Teacher

Her "youth pill" was more potent than anyone expected - age 23 in 1910, age 26 in 1920, age 28 in 1930 - reckon she reached 30 by 1940???

In 1920, he was living in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California in the home of his parents John O. & Jennie Lawing. He was a Dentist and listed as single (which might still have meant divorced). Jennie was born in Illinois to parents born in New York and Ohio

He was living in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California in 1930  age 51 born Missouri with wife Ella age 31

Here is his California Death Index listing:

Ernest O Lawing  Birth:     10 Mar 1879 - Missouri  Death:     5 Nov 1946 - Los Angeles

I have no doubt at all that Minnie J. (Maxwell) Lawing was the wife of Dr. Ernest O. Lawing and became Janet Malbon, opera singer.

With a possibly more realistic age, I started seeing if I could find who this woman might really be. Here are some possibilities:

Minnie Maxwell

1900 Missouri Webster County  Finley Township Household 217 - 218
Asa C Woodbeck     74
Henry Maxwell     35 boarder MO VA MO m 16 yrs
Dora Maxwell     38 boarder IL IL IL m 16 yrs 1 - 1
Minnie Maxwell     15 boarder MO MO IL

Parents here are likely  Mandora Maxwell 11 Feb 1862 - 15 Oct 1930, daughter of William & Ellen (Wilhelm) Daniels and wife of H. L. Maxwell who died in Butler, Missouri and is buried under the name Dora Maxwell in Oak Hill, Bates County, Missouri and Henry Lee Maxwell 1 Mar 1865 - 30 May 1947, son of  John & Elizabeth J. (Slusser) Maxwell who died in Butler, Missouri and is buried there.

However, if this is Minnie J. (Maxwell) Lawing, there's yet another twist to the story - the informant on Henry's Death Certificate is Minnie Doran, Appleton City, Missouri. Sounds unlikely, but I suppose possible that someone who has been performing in California for twenty years would return to Missouri. Is there any known death record for Janet Malbon? I find no Missouri Death Index or Social Security Death Index for a Minnie Doran born in the 1880's.

Still, there may be something in the fact the Henry Lee Maxwell's parents lived in Cedar County, Missouri. Henry's brothers and their
children, his daughter Minnie's cousins, were in Cedar County in 1910.

I don't know that this is a solution, but I have to say that if it is, Minnie J. (Maxwell) Lawing/Janet Malbon/Minnie Doran did more than just fanticize about her young age and exotic heritage - she totally reinvented herself at will!

Descendants of John Maxwell
Entries: 1141    Updated: Wed May 21 17:03:01 2003    Contact: Carroll Maxwell
ID: I2517
Name: John Harmon MAXWELL
Sex: M
Birth: 15 MAR 1815 in Tazewell Co, VA
Death: 17 MAY 1890 in Cedar Co, MO
_FA1: MAY 1890 Cedar Co, MO
Burial: Hall Cemetary, Jerico Springs, MO
Reference Number: 958 1

Father: Robert MAXWELL b: 5 JUL 1786 in VA
Mother: Rebecca MAXWELL b: 31 MAY 1790 in Tazewell Co, VA

Marriage 1 Elizabeth Jane SLUSSER b: 16 AUG 1822 in Va
Married: 27 JAN 1842 in OH
 Robert W. MAXWELL b: 26 JUN 1843 in Shelby Co, OH
 James MAXWELL b: 14 AUG 1845 in Shelby Co, OH
 George Washington MAXWELL b: 6 APR 1850 in Shelby Co, OH
 Clarissa Matilda MAXWELL b: 21 JUL 1855 in Shelby Co, OH
 Henry Lee MAXWELL b: 1 MAR 1865 in Shelby Co, OH
This is Henry's brother James Maxwell on 1910 Cedar County Census:

James W Maxwell
Age in 1910: 64
Estimated birth year: abt 1846
Birthplace: Ohio
Relation to Head of House: Head
Father's Birth Place: West Virginia
Mother's Birth Place: West Virginia
Home in 1910: Benton, Cedar, Missouri
Marital Status: Widowed
Race: White
Gender: Male
Household Members: Name Age
James W Maxwell 64
Ottis W Maxwell 32
Alice M Maxwell 32
Ora A Maxwell 12
Serenna d Maxwell 7

Here's his brother George:

George W Maxwell
Age in 1910: 61
Estimated birth year: abt 1849
Birthplace: Missouri
Relation to Head of House: Head
Father's Birth Place: Tennessee
Mother's Birth Place: Virginia
Spouse's name: Mary C
Home in 1910: Benton, Cedar, Missouri
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Household Members: Name Age
George W Maxwell 61
Mary C Maxwell 56
Louis B Maxwell 31
Nellie E Maxwell 18
Martha B Maxwell 16
And there were others in this family still in Cedar County

So there seems to be a family connection to towns nearby to El Dorado Springs.

I found this:

California Death Index, 1940-1997

Name:     Minnie Doran
Social Security #:     506013120
Sex:     FEMALE
Birth Date:     17 Jul 1886
Birthplace:     Missouri
Death Date:     18 Jul 1970
Death Place:     Nevada

With the SSN, we can get her application and check her parents names. This has not been done yet.

Date:            Fri, 12 Oct 2007 21:26:14 -0500
From:            Mabel Phillips <>
Subject:         Joseph Gravely Upton 11 Mar 1877 - 5 Jan 1921

I've been thinking about your partial letter. "Janet" speaks of a "Joe" who apparently did not appreciate her performance and who she should have known but did not recognize until she saw a picture of "his fat wife". She says she's enclosing a copy of a letter she wrote to this man. In it she says and "Mrs. Upton", leading me to suspect she was speaking of a Joe Upton.

I ran a check to see if there was any Joe/Joseph Upton in Missouri on 1910 census. There were three, a father and son in Pettis County and a man in Swan Township on the south border of Christian County. Pettis County is two counties north and one county east of Cedar County. Not really very close to El Dorado. Still, one or the other of the Pettis County Joe Upton's could be the person mentioned. Here is a World Connect file on the family:

Harkless family
Entries: 1816    Updated: 2006-11-11 20:11:02 UTC (Sat)    Contact: Kyle Wear

ID: I1075
Name: Joseph Upton
Sex: M
Birth: 1 DEC 1841 in Baxterley, Warwickshire Co., England
Death: 19 FEB 1925 in Greenridge, Pettis Co., MO
Burial: Greenridge Cemetary
Christening: 20 FEB 1842 Baxterley, Warwickshire Co., England
Emigration: BEF 1900 Moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico

Father: William Upton b: BET 4 MAY AND 11 JUL 1812 in Yoxall,
Staffordshire Co., England c: 12 JUL 1812 in Yoxall, Staffordshire Co., England
Mother: Emma Hopkins b: 1810 in Upton, Leicestershire Co., England c: 10
DEC 1810 in St. Botolph, Sibson, Leicestershire Co., England

Marriage 1 Sarah Ann Upton b: 1843 in Whitwick, Leicestershire Co.,
England c: 18 FEB 1844 in Coalville, Leicestershire Co., England
Married: 1 FEB 1865 in Whitwick, Leicestershire Co., England
 William J. Upton b: NOV 1865 in Whitwick, Leicestershire Co., England
 Joseph Upton b: 17 DEC 1867 in Whitwick, Leicestershire Co., England
 Albert Upton b: SEP 1869 in Whitwick, Leicestershire Co., England
 Sarah Ann Upton b: 20 OCT 1875 in Washington Twp.., Pettis Co., Missouri

Marriage 2 Margaret Ridenour
Married: SEP 1877 in Pettis Co., Missouri
This is the other

1910 Missouri  Taney County Swan township
Joe G Upton 35  MO NY VA
Virge Upton 32  wife
Geneva Upton 3/12  daughter
Maynard Upton 19  MO NY VA
Again, from the 1900 census, this appears to be a Joe, son of Joe Upton.
In 1900, they WERE close to Cedar County:

1900 Missouri; Polk County: Bolivar
Joseph B Upton 50
Nannie M Upton 49
Mattie E Upton 26
Joseph G Upton 23
George M Upton 21
Earnest D Upton 19
Jessie B Upton 15
Eugene V Upton 12
Maynard Upton 9
A Joanny Drinnen 32

The brother appears to have been counted in the 1910 census in both his brother and mother's households:
Maynard Upton

1910 Kansas Allen County  Iola Ward 3
Nannie M Upton 58   VA
Eugene V Upton 22
Maynard Upton 19  MO  NY VA

1880 Missouri Polk County Bolivar
 Name  Relation Marital Status Gender Race Age Birthplace Occupation Father's Birthplace Mother's Birthplace
 Joseph B. UPTON   Self   M   Male   W   31   NY   Lawyer   ENG   ENG
 Nannie UPTON   Wife   M   Female   W   29   VA   Keeping House   VA   VA
 Mattie UPTON   Dau   S   Female   W   6   MO      NY   VA
 Joseph G. UPTON   Son   S   Male   W   3   MO      NY   VA
 George Mark UPTON   Son   S   Male   W   1   MO      NY   VA
Source Information:
  Census Place Marion, Polk, Missouri
  Family History Library Film   1254710
  NA Film Number   T9-0710
  Page Number   311D 

Joseph Gravely Upton 11 Mar 1877 - 5 Jan 1921, born in Bolivar, Polk County, Missouri to Joseph B. & Nannie Marshall (Gravely) Upton. He lived in and was a Publisher in El Dorado, Springs, Missouri when he killed himself by hanging in 1921, all according to his death certificate. His father was born in Westchester County, New York, and his mother in Virginia. His wife was Virgie. He was buried in Bolivar, and the informant on his death certificate was Eugene V. Upton, listed as his brother.

Want to bet that this is the man referred to in the letter? I wonder if he gave an unfavorable review of Janet's performance.

1920 Missouri Cedar County Eldorado Springs  Ward 2
Birth Year Birthplace Race Relation
 Joe G Upton abt 1878 Missouri White Head 
Virge Upton abt 1881 Missouri White Wife 
Geneva Upton  abt 1906 Missouri White Daughter 
Virginia Upton   abt 1914 Missouri White Daughter

This from the Cedar County GenWeb is a long obituary of Joseph Gravely Upton's grandmother, Martha Jane (Marshall) Gravely who died two years after Joseph's suicide. This would probably be an interesting link for your page regardless, but the fact that Martha's husband, Joseph Jackson Gravely,  was a Colonel in the Civil War and a Missouri Senator who had just been elected the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri when he died in 1872 makes it especially interesting. It lists all twenty-four of her living grandchildren and their residences and all thirty of her great granchildren, including Joseph Gravely Upton's daughters Virginia and Geneva who were still living in Eldorado Springs.

Did your picture found in the attic ever just keep giving up its secrets???

World Connect File of

ID: I128530
Name: Joseph Jackson GRAVELY
Sex: M
Birth: 25 SEP 1828 in Henry county, Virginia
Death: 1882 in Missouri
Burial: Lindley Prairie Cemetery
Reference Number: 128530

Father: Lewis GRAVELY b: 1795 in Henry Co., Virginia
Mother: Rachel Martha Patsy DYER b: BET 1797 AND 1876 in Henry Co., Virginia

Marriage 1 Martha Jane MARSHALL b: 12 SEP 1833 in Henry county, Virginia
Married: 23 JUN 1850 in VA
 Pattie D. GRAVELY
 Eleanor C GRAVELY
 Benjamin F. GRAVELY
 Joseph W. GRAVELY

Thanks for the fun digression. It's been very hectic here, and it's entertaining to have a puzzle that just keeps unraveling where ever you pull at it.

In Jan of 2009,  Mabel wrote me with an update to her research line:

Date:            Sat, 17 Jan 2009 17:51:33 -0600
From:            Mabel Phillips <>
Subject:         Minnie (Maxwell) Lawing/Wix Doran/Janet Malbon?

Boy, every time we get close to the truth on Minnie (Maxwell) Lawing Wix Doran AKA Janet Malbon, we discover there are new twists. Looks like I misidentified the parents of Minnie (Maxwell) Lawing and that Minnie (Maxwell) Wix married a Doran. Thanks Shirley for not including the later life info in the article. Sorry, Mark, that I made an assumption now proven false on the identity of the parents of Minnie (Maxwell) Lawing/Janet Malbon.

I wrote to the Doris Foley Library for Historical Research, a branch of the Nevada County Library, 211 N Pine, Nevada City CA 95959 to ask for an obit for Minnie Doran and discovered yet another story - enough evidence to tell me something is really wrong with my conclusion that the Minnie Maxwell living near Ozark before the marriage of a Minnie Maxwell of the same age to Ernest Lawing was the same person.

This is Minnie (Maxwell) Wix Doran's  obituary:
The Union Monday, July 20, 1970 p5
Mrs. Minnie Doran dies
Mrs. Minnie Doran, 84, who has made her home with her son Henry Wix of Chicago Park for the past four years, died Saturday at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. Mrs Doran was a native of Missouri. Funeral services and burial will be held at Butler, MO.  Hooper and Weaver Mortuary handled local arrangements.

So I started over again: Janet Malbon and Minnie Wix appeared with vastly different personal information in two different states in 1920 census despite earlier evidence was that they were the same person.

Again in 1910 and 1930, two different people in different places appear with different information. Now, I really question who on earth the Minnie Maxwell who married Ernest Lawing then became Janet Malbon REALLY is, though I remain thoroughly convinced that the Minnie Maxwell Lawing who helped found the Ladies' Literary Club and the Janet Malbon, opera singer whom the Ladies' Literary Club honored as a charter member when she visited Springfield are the same person.

1920 MO Bates County, Pleasant Gap, Household 41/42
Maxwell, Henry L.  mw  54 m Head  MO VA VA farmer general farm
   , Dora wf 57 m wife  IL PA IL
Wix, Minnie mf w daughter MO MO IL
   , Henry E. wm s grandson 10 MO MO MO
   , Joseph W. wm s grandson  7 CO MO MO

1920 Long Beach Los Angeles
Janet Malbon age 26, opera singer IL OH KY

1900 Missouri Webster County  Finley Township Household 217 - 218
 Asa C Woodbeck     74
 Henry Maxwell     35 boarder MO VA MO m 16 yrs
 Dora Maxwell     38 boarder IL IL IL m 16 yrs 1 - 1
 Minnie Maxwell     15 boarder MO MO IL

1910 MO Christian Finley 156 Oz
 Earnest O., Dr.    LAWING    M W Head    33    M/1 2    MO MO IL    Dentist
 Minnie J.    LAWING    F W Wife    23    M/1 2 0-0    MO MO MO    Music

1910 MO Bates County Pleasant Gap #77-86
Maxwell, Henry L.wm 45 m 26
   , Dora
1910 MO Bates County Pleasant Gap #76-87
Wix, Seth wm head m 2 MO TN IL
   , Minnie wf  wife m 2 1-1 MO MO IL
   , H. Eldred wm  son s 1 1/2 MO MO MO

1930 MO Bates County Pleasant Gap
Wix, Minnie wf Head w 43 married at age 21 MO US IL farmer general farm
   , Warden wm s Son 18  MO MO MO

Henry Wix showed up in the city directory Chicago Park area of Grass Valley, California from the 1960's to 1979. His name does not appear in the Nevada County obituary index which runs up the current entries. A Henry Wix who may or may not be the same person was listed in the Santa Rosa, California telephone book from 1997 through 2002.

Obviously women born about 1886 and named Minnie Maxwell  married in 1908 in Missouri men named Seth Wix and Ernest Lawing
So, I checked World Connect and found this:
Schumacher/Porter/Scott/Meador/Brennaman/Mickey/Van Fossen
Entries: 14402    Updated: 2008-05-15 05:45:22 UTC (Thu)    Contact:
Debra Schumacher
ID: I657586665
Name: Seth WIX
Given Name: Seth
Surname: WIX
Sex: M
Birth: 25 DEC 1883 in MO
Death: 15 Dec 1918 in MO
Census: 1910 Pleasant Gap, Bates Co., MO
Burial: Myers Cemetery, Bates Co., MO

Father: Joseph WIX b: 15 JUN 1820 in TN
Mother: Rosannah DEWEESE b: 23 NOV 1844 in MO

Marriage 1 Minnie MAXWELL b: ABT 1887 in MO
Married: ABT 1908 in MO
 Henry E. WIX b: ABT 1910 in Bates Co., MO
 Joseph Warden WIX b: 4 APR 1912 in Bates Co., MO

Seth's death certificate says he is married but leaves name of wife blank. He died (like millions of others in that couple of years) of pneumonia following the flu.

I don't find Joseph or Eldred Wix born about 1909 or 1910 or Joseph, Warden or Ward Wix born 1912 on SSDI nor Missouri Death Certificates.

Parents of  Minnie (Maxwell) Wix Doren were are Mandora Maxwell 11 Feb 1862 - 15 Oct 1930, daughter of William & Ellen (Wilhelm) Daniels and wife of H. L. Maxwell  who died in Butler, Missouri and is buried under the name Dora Maxwell in Oak Hill, Bates County, Missouri  and Henry Lee Maxwell 1 Mar 1865 - 30 May 1947, son of  John & Elizabeth J. (Slusser) Maxwell who died in Butler, Missouri and is buried there.  I had THOUGHT they were parents of Minnie (Maxwell) Lawing/Janet Malbon.

I found a 1900 Finley Township, Webster County, Missouri census listing 15 year old Minnie Maxwell as a daughter of  Henry and Dora Maxwell, born in Missouri of a father born in Missouri and mother born in Illinois; a 1910 census in Ozark of Dr. Ernest O. Lawing and wife, Minnie, age 23, born in Missouri of parents both born in Missouri; a 1920 Long Beach Los Angeles census of  Janet Malbon age 26, opera singer, born in Illinois to parents born in Ohio and Kentucky; a 1929 Panama Canal crossing of Janet Malbon, age 27, opera singer, address Los  Angeles, born in Illinois to parents born in France; a 1930 Los Angeles census of Janet Malbon, age 28, opera singer, born in Illinois to parents born in Spain;  Missouri death certificates for Mandora (Daniels) Maxwell of Butler, Bates County, Missouri 11 Feb 1862  - 15 Oct 1930, wife of Henry Lee Maxwell and of Henry Lee Maxwell of  Butler, Bates County, Missouri 1 Mar 1865 - 30 May 1947. The informant on the later was Minnie Doran of Appleton City, Missouri. I also found that Henry Lee Maxwell's parents were buried in Cedar County, Missouri and two of his brothers' families were there at least through 1910,  shortly before Minnie/Janet referred to "cousins living near Eldorado  Springs" in letters to Stella Churchill.

So, if Minnie Maxwell Lawing isn't the obvious person who is she?

This is the only close candidate on 1900 Missouri census
1900 MO Cedar County Stockton
George W Maxwell 51
Mary C Maxwell 47
Luly B Maxwell 21
Thomas O Maxwell 19
Minnie Maxwell 13
William H Maxwell 10
Nellie E Maxwell 8
Martha Maxwell 6
George W. Maxwell 15 Feb 1849 - 25 Mar 1923
# Name: George Washington Maxwell
# Sex: M
# Birth: 15 FEB 1849 in Bolivar, Polk Co., Missouri
# Death: 25 MAR 1923 in Eldorado Springs, Missouri

Marriage 1 Mary Charlotte Rookwood b: 18 SEP 1853 in Shelby Co., Missouri
    * Married: 14 MAR 1875 in Cedar Co., Missouri

   1. Nora Dell Maxwell b: 20 FEB 1876
   2. Louie Bell Maxwell b: 20 MAY 1878
   3. Tommy Orion Maxwell b: 14 JUL 1880
   4. Minnie Jane Maxwell b: 4 OCT 1886
   5. William Hedgeman Maxwell b: 21 AUG 1889
   6. Nellie Ellinor Maxwell b: 25 OCT 1891
   7. Martha Bethelda Maxwell b: 22 FEB 1894

Nothing that says for sure this is the right Minnie Maxwell, but the age, name, middle initial and location seem appropriate. George's death certificate says he is the son of Henry & Martha (Tatum) Maxwell. Don't know if he is kin to the other's Minnie's father Henry Maxwell.

I was approached by Shirley Stewart who wanted to write an article about Janet Malbon:

Date:    Sat, 6 Sep 2008 09:45:40 -0500
From:    "Shirley Stewart" <>
Subject:    Malbon Research

Mr. DiVecchio,

My friend, Mabel Phillips, e-mailed your research on Janet Malbon to me. The editor of the Ozarks Mountaineer called and asked me to do a story on Minnie/Janet, and I need to include your research, (you would get credit, of course), as well as Mabel's and my own.  I do hope this is alright.  Minnie was so influential in Ozark before she left that there should be a good deal of interest in this area.

Best Regards,
Shirley Stewart
Dear Shirley,

Yes, you may use my research and photos in your story but Mabel was the one who really did the hard genealogy digging.

I have high resolution TIF scans of the photos and documents if you should want them for publication.

I only ask that you mention my web page and say something about the family of Frank Churchill and his wife Stella Peden Churchill.

Frank was the manager of the El Dorado Springs, MO Opera House about 1915 and it was he and his wife who had the foresight (or maybe it was some obsession) to save all these old photos and old letters.

Dear Mark,

Many thanks for your permission.  Yes please, I would like the high resolution TIF scans.  The Churchills will be included in the story and your
Wed Site will be mentioned.  Again, thanks for use of your research and your kind permission.

Date:    Tue, 6 Jan 2009 15:41:01 -0600
From:    "Shirley Stewart" <>
Subject:    Minnie Lawing

     The Minnie Lawing article was published in the latest issue of the "Mountaineer".  Mostly it turned out very well, I think.  Unfortunately the
editor left off your web address, which I'd included.  I have no idea why. I apologize for that.  He also added a bit about the mal-bon double
entendre, which I'd failed to recognize.  He inserted the term "jilted", a word that I mildly dislike but he seemed to think it fit.

I will send  a copy of the article later this month.  Thanks again and Happy New Year.


Great to hear the article got published.

Don't worry too much about the missing web address, if anyone goes to Google and does a search, my web site comes up first in the list.

I'd like a copy of the article. I wonder if Minnie really did chose Janet Malbon because of "mal-bon" (she supposedly was of French descent)?

Again, congratulations on getting the article published. It will go some way to preserving Minnie's legacy.

Here is the article by Shirley from the 2009 Jan/Feb issue of  "The Ozarks Mountaineer".

Click below for the article as a PDF file:
'The Incarnations of Minnie Lawing" by Shirley Stewart

2012 Update

Now its 2012 and more and more information is available on-line.

1920 census, San Francisco, CA
Janet Malbon, 26y, single, born IL, parents born MO and KY, Music teacher, lodger at the house of Henry J. Menegawl.

1920 Janet Malbon, Crocker-Langley San Francisco City Directory, CA
1923 San Francisco arrival from Honolulu
Janet Bigelow, 34y, born Springfield, MO 4 Oct 1888
Fred N. Bigelow,  34y, born San Francisco, CA 17 Dec 1888
1930 census,  San Francisco, CA
Fred M. Bigelow   42y, married at 31y, 225 Hazelwood Ave.
Janet M. Bigelow   36y, married at 25y, born MO, parents born IN and VA, occupation: Singer, Music Teacher
James Bigelow   9y.

1931 Janet Malbon, Pasadena City Directory, CA

20 May 1932 Arcadia Tribune, Arcadia, CA

1933 Janet Malbon, San Diego City Directory, CA

1953 Janet Bigelow, Burbank City Directory, CA  
Name: Fred Norwood Bigelow
Social Security #: 700054190
Sex: Male
Birth Date: 17 Dec 1888
Birthplace: California
Death Date: 1 Mar 1980
Death Place: Orange
Mother's Maiden Name: Baylis

I have donated the photos of and letters from Janet Malbon to the current owners of the El Dorado Springs Opera House, Troy Allison <> and his brother, Davin <>. They are working on the renovation of the Opera House.

So this famous woman, along with George Allan England (science fiction writer) and James Eads How ("millionaire hobo") all somehow touched the lives of Frank and Stella Churchill in El Dorado Springs, MO.
This site prepared and maintained by Mark DiVecchio

email :

Peden HOME  
  DiVecchio HOME
Frazzini HOME
Site HOME 

This site will be under construction for a while.