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Martin and Alma Melby

Husband's Full Name: Martin Knutson Melby

Husband's Place of Birth:  Griggs Co, ND

Husband's Father's Name: Knud Olsen Rudi

Husband's Mother's Name: Guri Kristensdotter Melby

Husband's Siblings' Names: Guri, Ole, Christen, Knut, Ragnhild, Gulbrand, Marit, Caroline, Oscar

Wife's Full Name:  Alma Rosette Haugen Melby

Wife's Place of Birth:  Baldwin, WI 

Wife's Father's Name:  Tollef K. Haugen

Wife's Mother's Name:  Bertha Jomen Haugen

Wife's Siblings' Names:  Lillian, Curtis, Alfred, Elmer, Helmer, Mabel

Children's Names: Myrtle Sailer, Kermit, Ellanora Houtkooper, Donald

MK Melbys.jpg

Martin, also known as M.K. Melby, was born to Knud and Guri Melby in Griggs County on October 7, 1886. His parents had filed on a homestead there in 1884. Prior to that, they had emigrated from Norway in 1881 together with their seven children ranging in age from age 19 to 8 months old. They lived in Goodhue County Minnesota for three years. Then in 1884, his sister Caroline was born right after the family moved to their first homestead in Griggs County North Dakota. Then in 1887, the family moved to Foster County North Dakota, the next county west. It was here that his father and older brother Ole helped establish the Melby School District in 1888 where he started his schooling. In 1893, his parents moved to the newly opened land of Manfred Township in Wells County where he completed his schooling.


Raised on a farm, Martin was well acquainted with field work and chores, and helped with the harvest too, all of which would serve him well in later years when he had his own farm and also was the owner/operator of a threshing rig which he ran for many years. Martin also had early training in business by working for his uncle, C.C. Melby for 10 years. In 1918 he served as a mail carrier, and in 1919 he bought into the Ford garage in Manfred retaining this until 1939.  He drove a school bus until 1945 when he moved to a farm remaining there until 1963.  Martin served on the Manfred Township Board, notary public, member of Cooperative Elevator, and school board.  He was a member of the Harvey Masonic Lodge, Sons of Norway, and Vang Lutheran Church.


Martin married Alma Rosette Haugen on August 30, 1911 at Vang Lutheran Church. Alma was the daughter of Tollef Haugen and Bertha Jomen who farmed near Manfred. Alma’s parents had joined Vang Lutheran Church in 1906 and she was confirmed there in 1909. So through the church and community, Martin and Alma had become acquainted. Martin’s parents retired from farming that same year, and had moved into Manfred just east of the new brick school. The upstairs of this home was where Martin and Alma began their married life while their home in the LeGrand Division was being built. Four children were born to them: Myrtle 1914, Kermit 1916, Ellanora 1922, and Donald 1924. Martin died August 9, 1977 and Alma died March 6, 1982. Both are buried at Vang Cemetery, Manfred ND.

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