John J. Malberg was born April 23, 1827, at Grankärr, Vireda Parish, Jönköping County, Sweden. His Swedish name was Sven Johan Johansson. He emigrated in 1853, arriving at Boston and settling at Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana. His future wife, Christina Jonasdotter, was born November 29, 1832, at Reaby, Gränna Parish, Jönköping County. She emigrated in the fall of 1853, landing in New Orleans and making her way to Lafayette. John and Christina were married July 18, 1857, in Red Wing, Goodhue County, Minnesota. They lived in Red Wing for a couple years and, in the spring of 1860, moved to a farm in Leon Township, Goodhue County. Later that year, they assumed ownership of the property through preemption rights. The Malbergs lived at this farm for the rest of their lives. John and Christina had seven children: Peter Bennet (b. February 1858), Ida Helena (b. October 1869), Phebe Johanna Marie (b. September 1861), Olive Matilda (b. August 1864), Amos (b. October 1866), Adelia Malvina (b. November 1868), and John Sidney (b. February 1875).
Malberg was a farmer and carpenter. As a farmer, he raised small grains and livestock. As a carpenter, he made coffins and helped to build Spring Garden Lutheran Church. Malberg enjoyed planting trees in his spare time. He died October 14, 1903, at age 76, while Christina died January 12, 1927, at age 93. John and Christina are buried in the Cannon Falls Cemetery.