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Wilhelmine Olene (Minnie) Colberg

Female 1865 - 1944  (79 years)


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  • Name Wilhelmine Olene (Minnie) Colberg  [1, 2
    Born 7 Jan 1865  Levanger, Nord-Trondelag, Norway Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Gender Female 
    Died 27 May 1944  Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location  [5, 6, 7
    Buried 29 May 1944  Prairie Home Cemetery, Moorhead, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Notes 
    • Norway Baptisms 1700-1900
      Name: Wilhelmine Olena Jakobsdatter
      Christening date: 26 Feb 1865
      Christening place: Levanger, Nord-Trondelag, Norway
      Residence: Nord-Tr√łndelag, Norway
      Birth date: 7 Jan 1865
      Father name: Jakob Arntsen
      Mother name: Anne Christine Olsdatter
      Batch number: C42678-4
      Date range: 1828-1836
      Record group: Norway-EASy
      Film number: 307057

      Alternate date of birth: 7 Feb 1865
      Alternate date of birth: Feb 1865
      Alternate spelling: Melbye in Heritage Quest census online
      Alternate date of marriage: 7 Jan 1891
      Alternate date of marriage: 27 Feb 1891

      Living in Moorhead, MN on 15 Feb 1920

      Died at 721 S. 6th St., Moorhead, MN

      1900 US Census, MN, Clay Co., Moorhead, Minnie Melby, born Feb 1865, age 35, married 9 years, mother of 5 children, 2 living, born Norway, parents born Norway, immigrated to US in 1868, living in US 32 years, with husband J.H., daughters Telia 5, Alvine 2, mother
      Anna Colberg 80

      1910 US Census, MN Clay Co., Moorhead, Wilhelmina Melbye, 45, married 19 years, mother of 8 children, 5 living, Immigrated to US in 1867, with husband, Johannes 44, children Othelia 15, Elvina 12, Lillian 8, Leona 6, Alfred 4

      1920 US Census, MN, Clay Co., Moorhead, Wilhelmine (Melley-ancestry.com) (Mebly-heritagequest.com), age 54, naturalized citizen, with husband Johannes 54, children Lillian 18, Leona 16, Alfred 13

      Wilhelmina came to America with her parents in 1867 at the age of two years. The next year they moved to Rushford, Minnesota. It was at Rushford that Wilhelmina recalls her first glimpse of an American Indian. She was four years old at the time and became very frightened.

      Wilhelmina lived in Rushford with her parents until she was sixteen. During her life there the settlers did not have to fear the Indians as concerned possible massacres and massed uprisings, but the Indians as individuals were all very sensitive and easily aroused to savage passion which could be brought on by the smallest incident. Kidnappings and murders were frequent occurrences and whether rightly or wrongfully these crimes were attributed to the savagery of the Indians. One boy in the vicinity of Wilhelmina's home was kidnapped in infancy and was located in Chicago by relatives twelve years later.

      The Indians roamed the prairies and forests and when the notion overtook them they would approach the home of a settler and without ceremony, walk into the house, go to the cupboard and help themselves to whatever they could devour. Few attempts to thwart these unwelcome visits were ever attempted, as the owners knew that they were taking their life in their hands when they attempted even to prevent the loss of the food containers, dishes and table silver upon the occasion of these visits.

      One day, when Wilhelmina was in her early teens, she saw an Indian woman enter the home of her sister with an Indian baby fastened upon her back. Wilhelmina loved babies and, though this one was a papoose, she could not curb her desire to "treat" it. Filling an old jewel box, which was one of her few and prized possessions, with some hoarded candy, she ran with it to her sister's house to present it to the Indian baby. Upon reaching the house she pushed open the door hurriedly, without knowing that the squaw had squatted on the floor just inside the entrance. The door struck the indian's back and she, infuriated, leaped to her feet and struck the hapless girl on the point of the jaw with her fist, knocking her to the floor. The child, scared almost to the point of hysterics, leaped to her feet and ran from the house through another door, stopping long enough to drop her present into the lap of the papoose propped against a wall. The squaw followed, intent upon inflicting additional punishment, but saw the presentation of the gift just before reaching her intended victim and therefore what might have been a killing was turned into a love scene as the Indian woman showered the little girl with affection and praise for the thoughtfulness extended the papoose, forgetting completely her own injuries.

      At the age of sixteen years, Wilhelmina accompanied her parents to Moorhead and after a very short stop they crossed the Red River into Fargo. That winter heavy snows precipitated one of the most disastrous spring floods ever experienced in the Red River Valley. The prairies were inundated for miles around and towns throughout the valley were isolated and could be reached only by boat. After the waters receded the Colberg family moved back across the river to Moorhead where they established a permanent home.

      At that time there were no wagon bridges spanning the Red River at this point. The only means of transporting freight across the steam was by a ferry then operating just south of the site where the First Av. South bridge now stands. This ferry was pulled across the stream by means of a taut rope cable extending from back to bank and securely fastened to trees at both ends. Though the Northern Pacific Railroad had built sidewalks at either side of its tracks on its railroad bridge for the convenience of pedestrians, Wilhelmina Colberg and all the young people of her acquaintance preferred the more romantic and often exciting trip by ferry when crossing to Fargo. One evening she and her sister, Julia, with Mr. A.J. Wright and O.C. Beck as escorts, crossed on the ferry and attended a musical performance in Fargo on the northeast side of town.
      Returning later that evening they decided to take the shortest route and that was by ways of the Great Northern Railroad bridge, which structure furnished no sidewalks for the convenience of foot-loose pedestrians. The girls linked arms with their respective escorts and together they stepped from tie to tie and progressed to the center of the span when an oncoming train came into view around a bend which had prevented them from seeing it sooner. Too late to cross in safety or to retrace their steps, they were forced to seek a place of safety on the bridge. They went to the side of the structure and each one stood on the end of a crossbeam which extended slightly beyond the ends of the ties above it.

      Standing thus, they managed to keep from being shaken into the river by the up and down motion of the structure as the heavily loaded cars passed over it, by clinging to the ties with their hands. The train was a long freight which kept them in their precarious positions for some time and the engineer possessed a warped sense of humor. He obligingly showered each one in turn with a cloud of hot steam as he passed them. They were not scalded but were frightened by it which increase their danger.

      The first wagon bridge was built between Fargo and Moorhead in 1883. The Moorhead side was built first and extended with its approach to the center of the river. Then the Fargo side was built from there across the water but the approach from the end of Front Street in Fargo, extending to the bridge proper was not built for some time after and could only be used during that period by pedestrians who were forced to ascend or descend by a ladder suspended from the bridge platform to the ground below.

      The structure was completed however and was replaced in 1937 by the magnificent $300,000 structure of modern design which stands in its place as a monument to progress.

      As a young woman, Wilhelmina Colberg gave most of her time to religious activity. She is a member of the Trinity Lutheran congregation and was the first Sunday-School teacher to conduct classes in the first Norwegian Lutheran church building which was built by her father, Jacob Colberg.

      She was married to J. H. Melby in Moorhead on the seventh of Feb.1891 and they became the parents of four daughters and one son.

      Johannes Melby established the Melby Confectionary in Fargo on Front Street and operated it for a number of years. Later he sold his business and entered the employ of the Beck and Wright Furniture establishment. Mr. Melby worked for that firm for a number of years and retired only when advanced age required him to do so. He and his wife still reside at 781 Sixth St. South in Moorhead.

      Mrs. John H. Melby, 79, of 719 Sixth St. S. Moorhead, died at her home Saturday afternoon. Mrs. Melby was born in Norway on Feb. 7, 1865 and came to the United States 77 years ago, going first to southern Minnesota near Rushford, Minn. She had lived in Moorhead for 63 years. Her maiden name was Wilhelmina Colberg. She was married in Moorhead Feb. 27, 1891. Mr. Melby died March 24, 1941. Mrs. Melby leaves four daughters and one son, Mrs. Warren Timothy, 511 Third St. N. Fargo, Mrs. Wallace Olmstead of Toledo, Ohio, Miss Lillian Melby and Mrs. E. B. Snuff at home, and PFC A. R. Melby of Hamilton Field, Calif. There are four grandchildren. She was a member of the Trinity Lutheran church and was the first woman Sunday school teacher there. Funeral services will be Monday at 4 p.m. at the home. Rev. Roy A. Harrisville of Trinity church will officiate and burial will be in Prairie Home cemetery. The body is at the A.J. Wright and Sons funeral home. [4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]
    Person ID I12711  Mindrum
    Last Modified 23 Aug 2011 

    Father Jacob Arentzen Colberg,   b. 12 May 1830, Levanger, Nord-Trondelag, Norway Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Jun 1896, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years) 
    Mother Anne Kristine Olsdatter Hooden,   b. 12 Nov 1819, Skogn, Nord Trondelag, Norway Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 May 1909, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 89 years) 
    Family ID F8587  Group Sheet

    Family Johannes (John) H. Melby,   b. 16 Oct 1865, Oslo, Norway Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Mar 1941, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Married 7 Feb 1891  Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location  [14, 15
    Children 
     1. Johanne Otelie "Telia" "T" Melby,   b. 8 Nov 1894, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Dec 1987, Fargo, Cass, North Dakota Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 93 years)
     2. Agnes Elvine Melby,   b. 22 Nov 1897, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Mar 1987, Toledo, Lucas, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 89 years)
     3. Lillian Alvilde Melby,   b. 26 May 1901, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Feb 1972, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
     4. Leona Constance Melby,   b. 18 Mar 1903, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Apr 1988, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
     5. Alfred Russell Melby,   b. 23 Mar 1906, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Apr 1955, Moorhead, Clay, Minnesota Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 49 years)
    Last Modified 20 Oct 2017 
    Family ID F8829  Group Sheet

  • Headstones
    Melby, Wilhelmine Colberg
    Melby, Wilhelmine Colberg

  • Sources 
    1. [S149]

    2. [S158] Merrie Sue Dubbs Holtan, information sent on 26 Dec 2002, Wilhelmine Oline.

    3. [S134] Douglas A Eggen, father.

    4. [S876]

    5. [S158] Merrie Sue Dubbs Holtan, information sent on 26 Dec 2002.

    6. [S925]

    7. [S926]

    8. [S3847]

    9. [S878]

    10. [S927]

    11. [S147]

    12. [S928]

    13. [S929]

    14. [S158] Merrie Sue Dubbs Holtan, information sent on 26 Dec 2002, place.

    15. [S937] date.