Emma Olive Colebank was born on July 19, 1882 near Crescent City, Iroquois County,
Illinois, to Elett and Mary Roll Colebank on their farm. When Emma was 14 her family
moved to a farm near St. James, in Watonwan County, Minnesota. They farmed there
for 3 years and then her parents purchased a farm in Fieldon Township, Watonwan
County. It was there that she met Unell McLaughlin. Her brother Frank had married
Unell’s sister Nellie in 1905.
Emma and Unell did not have children of their own, but adopted a boy and a girl. The
boy was Loren, who was born in 1915. The girl they named Juanita. She was born May
28, 1918 in St. Paul.
Unell McLaughlin was born December 15, 1875. He was one of 4 graduates in the first
four-year class to graduate from Madelia High School in 1894. Each one had to give an
oration at the commencement and Unell’s was on “The Hawaiian Question”. Unell
loved public speaking and would have liked to be a lawyer or a minister, but his health
would not permit it. He farmed instead. He was Fieldon Township clerk for many years.
He was a very intelligent man.
Emma was also a very talented person. She liked to draw, and drew for her nieces and
nephews. She made quilts which were of excellent quality. She was also very
interested in family history. She kept a notebook of births, marriages, deaths and
causes of death.
Emma wanted to live to be 100. She exercised faithfully and was careful of her diet. That
paid off in the end because Emma did live to be 100 years and 4 months old. Unell
passed away in 1958 and Emma in 1982.
The children of Emma and Unell McLaughlin were:
Loren McLaughlin – born 1915. He married Fern Armstead of Madelia, Minnesota. Fern
was born August 15, 1921. They adopted one child, Cheryl Lorene, born July 12, 1953.
Loren and Fern lived in Mankato for 17 years before moving to Brainerd in 1964. Fern
died of leukemia on February 23, 1965.
Juanita McLaughlin – born May 28, 1918 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Juanita was a
graduate of Madelia High School in 1936 and was employed by Bisbee Photo in
Madelia. In 1941 she moved to Oregon. She lived in Salem and was employed by Artz
Color Studio there. Juanita died on December 25, 1978 in Salem, Oregon. Her funeral
was held in Madelia, Minnesota at the Presbyterian Church. She is buried in Riverside
|Reprinted with permission from "William
Cunningham: Pioneer, Patriarch, Preacher"
by June Colebank Blanshan, p. 197.
|PETER COLEBANK, father of
JAMES COALBANK, father of
JAMES D COLEBANK, father of
Ellet Colebank, father of
emma olive colebank
|Click on the photo above to enter Emma
Colebank McLaughlin's photo album
Emma and Unell McLaughlin