Malcolm Monteith Jacobs

Malcolm Monteith Jacobs, left, and Esther Jacobs visit with Bob Potts Monday during a gathering at Monteith House.

Malcolm Monteith Jacobs relaxed in a rocking chair by the fireplace in the parlor of the Monteith House Monday afternoon and talked about his family.

Jacobs and his wife, Esther, of Santa Cruz, Calif., were in Albany for two days getting reacquainted with friends and "meeting new old friends." The Monteith Society honored the couple with a reception Monday at the Monteith House.

Jacobs said he made the visit to Albany because he didn't know how much longer he will live.

"My mother died at 92 and Dad died at 88," Jacobs said. "So, I've probably got another eight to 10 years if emphysema doesn't get me, but you never know, so I had to get up here and say hello."

Monteith, 82, is the son of Minerva L. Monteith, the daughter of John Monteith, whose brothers, Walter and Thomas Monteith, arrived in Albany in 1848.

The brothers purchased land along the Willamette River and laid out about 60 acres into town lots. On one of the lots, the Monteiths built the family home, which stood on the corner of Washington and Second streets.

The house was enlarged in 1850, and the home became a general store and the civic, religious and social center of Albany. The first Republican Part state convention was held in the house in 1857, and the Oregon Volunteers were organized in the house during the Civil War.

"I remember the first time I was in this house," Jacobs said. "The house was beat up and run down. They've done a wonderful job restoring it."

Although Jacobs never lived in the house, his mother was born there. He said he remembers his mother telling him stories about the house and the Monteith family. Until he was older, however, the family's history meant little to him.

"Mother used to tell lots of things that went on with the family and all, but I didn't remember a lot of it being away from Albany and the people connected with it," he said.

Lots of young people don't absorb history when it's being told to them, Jacobs said.

"But as time goes by, you get more familiar with some of it," he said.

Jacobs said he does not have to work especially hard at remembering his family's story, because Mrs. Jacobs "delved into my family history, and she made a chart of the Monteith family."

The chart from the John Monteith line ends with Monty and Esther Jacobs. The couple have no children, and Monty said his brother, Charles, and his wife, have no children.

Following their visit to Oregon, the Jacobs will return to Santa Cruz to prepare for Monty's army unit reunion next month in Arkansas.

The two said they probably will not stop in Medford on their return trip. The Jacobs stayed there on their way to Albany.

"You know, I seldom lie," Jacobs said. "But we couldn't find a room in Medford so I went to one motel and told them I had mailed them a deposit weeks ago. We got the room. You have to be a little resourceful sometimes."

NOTE: Malcolm Monteith Jacobs died at age 88 in 1998.

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