C. K. and Mary Melby
Husband's Full Name: Christen K. Melby (aka C. K.)
Husband's Place of Birth: Rogne, Øystre Slidre, Valdres, Norway
Husband's Father's Name: Knud Olsen Rudi
Husband's Mother's Name: Guri Kristensdotter Melby
Husband's Siblings' Names: Guri Ranum, Ole, Knut, Ragnhild Skattebo, Gulbrand, Marit Satterberg, Caroline Anderson, Martin and Oscar
Wife's Full Name: Marit Haas Marken Larson
Wife's Place of Birth: Minneota, MN
Wife's Father's Name: Arnt Larson
Wife's Mother's Name: Jorgine Haas Larson
Wife's Siblings' Names: none
Children's Names: Clarence, George, Almer, Grace Hanson, Orvin, Clifford, Agnes, Julius, June Hams, Olga Regnier, Kermit, Lillian Selter, Harriet Payne
Chris, also known as C. K. or Christ Melby, was the third child born to Knud and Guri Melby on January 11, 1868. He grew up on the Melby farm in Rogne, Øystre Slidre, Valdres, Norway and attended the Rogne school and church. In 1881 when he was 13 years old, his parents sold the Melby farm and the whole family emigrated from Norway to the USA, Goodhue County, Minnesota.
In 1884, his parents moved to Griggs County North Dakota where they filed on a homestead, and in 1887 they moved to Foster County. In the fall of 1889 he left home, and in 1890 at age 22 years old, he settled in Lyon County were his aunt Guri Opdahl and sister Guri Ranum both lived.
Chris married October 3, 1891 in Minneota MN to Mary Haas Marken Larson born May 11, 1874 Minneota MN. She was the only child of Arnt Larson and Jorgina Haas who were both born in Mosjøen, Norway. Thirteen children were born to them: Clarence 1892, George 1894, Almer 1895, Grace 1897, Orvin 1899, Agnes 1902, Julius 1903, June 1904, Olga 1907, Kermit 1909, Lillian 1911, and Harriet 1915. Chris was not only a farmer, but he was an influential businessman. He helped shape the beginnings of the Farmers and Merchants National Bank in Minneota and served as cashier. He was in the hardware and implement business from 1911 to 1918. In 1916, Chris was elected to the House of Representatives serving two terms in the Minnesota legislature.
In 1919, he moved to North Dakota and bought his father’s farm. He and his family became very active in the Manfred community and in Vang Lutheran Church. Music was a very important part of Chris’ life, and at Manfred he directed the Vang Lutheran Choir, and his entire family was very musical. His daughter Grace played the organ until she passed away in 1932. In the fall of 1929, the family returned to a farm in Lyon County. Throughout Chris’ life he was in public service and a leader in many organizations: township, county commissioners, Hope Lutheran Church, farmer’s cooperative elevator, creamery, and oil company.
Chris died December 13, 1936 and Mary died August 21, 1937. Both are buried at Minneota MN. Five children preceded them in death: Agnes, Julius, and Kermit died in infancy. Orvin was killed by lightening as he was going through a gate with his two horses, which also died. Grace’s daughter Julie died in infancy and Grace died at nearly 35 years of age during an operation. Eight children went on to have descendants.
See Also Page 8 of the New Manfred News, December 2004