Frank Morris Colebank was born October 29, 1880 to
Elett and Mary Roll Colebank on their farm near
Crescent City, Illinois. Frank attended school in rural
Crescent City. When Frank was 15 his parents
moved to a dairy farm (30 head) near St. James,
Minnesota. Four years later the family moved to a
farm in Fieldon Township, 5 ½ miles south of Made-
lia, Minnesota. In 1901 Frank enrolled in the American
School of Correspondence for steam and gas
engines. Frank met Nellie McLaughlin when his family
moved to Fieldon Township. His parent’s farm was
about three miles from the McLaughlin place.
Nellie Francelia McLaughlin was born October 29,
1880 (the same day as Frank) to William and
Christina Scharffenborg (born in Norway) McLaughlin
on their farm in Fieldon Township. Nellie attended
country school in Fieldon Township and then enrolled
in the McPhail School of Music in Minneapolis from
which she graduated.
Frank and Nellie were married June 7, 1905 in
Madelia. They lived in St. James for a short time and
then moved back to Madelia. Frank farmed, was in
the hardware business and had one of the first auto
repair shops in Madelia, having built the garage
building later occupied by Goode Implement Company. He was also janitor in the Madelia
public schools for about 20 years.
Nellie was a music teacher and gave piano lessons. She accompanied her uncle Billy
McLaughlin when he played for old time dances. Billy could call a square dance and play fiddle
at the same time. Accompanying him was a challenge because Billy, who could not read
music, tuned his fiddle a half-tone sharp. Home, family, church and music were the important
things in Nellie’s life. She was a 50-year member of the Presbyterian Church and a charter
member of the Madelia VFW Auxiliary.
Frank died on March 6, 1961 at 80 years of age. Nellie lived with her daughter Lois and family
in Fairmont, Minnesota for 3 years and then in the St. Joseph’s Home in Fairmont until it
closed in 1971. She then went to the nursing home in Lake Crystal, Minnesota. Lois and family
moved to Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, so Lois made arrangements for Nellie to get into the
Southdale Manor nursing home there. Nellie continued to share her music with others. She
had to play from memory in the 90s because of her failing eyesight. She died at the age of 97
on April 12, 1977 in Sleepy Eye. Nellie is buried beside Frank in the Riverside Cemetery in
The children of Frank and Nellie were:
Donald Elbridge Colebank – born November 19, 1909 in Madelia, Minnesota. He married Merle
L. Laflin. Donald died April 12, 2007 in Minneapolis. (See Donald Elbridge Colebank page)
Lloyd Marion Colebank – born February 11, 1912 in Madelia, Minnesota. He married Bernice
Estella Gunderson. Lloyd died May 31, 1969 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Madelia.
(See Lloyd Marion Colebank page)
Lois Lorena Colebank – born August 3, 1916 in Madelia, Minnesota. She married Ralph Hicks,
then Earl L. Erwin and they resided in Rockaway Beach, Missouri. Lois died January 28, 2002
in Minneapolis. (See Lois Lorena Colebank Erwin page)
Earl Richard Colebank – born November 19, 1921 in Madelia, Minnesota. He married Jean
Lodes. He died December 12, 1980 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Madelia. (See Earl
Richard Colebank page)
|Copied with permission from "From Whence Came the Colebanks" by
Warren Colebank, copyright 1989, p. 133.
|PETER COLEBANK, father of
JAMES COALBANK, father of
JAMES D COLEBANK, father of
ELLET COLEBANK, father of
Frank Morris Colebank
|Four generations of Colebanks: L to R:
Frank, Donald, Donald's son Robert
holding Robert Greg Colebank.
|Nellie Colebank on her 84th
birthday in 1964.
|Frank and Nellie's 50th wedding anniversary: Back
row, L to R: George Colebank, Unell McLaughlin,
Frank and Nellie Colebank, Mae McLaughlin, Emma
McLaughlin. Front, L to R: Jennie Colebank Holmes
and Doris Drake
|Four generations: Frank's dad Elett, Frank, Frank's son
Donald and Donald's son Robert
|Family dinner at Grandma and Grandpa McLaughlin’s
(Nellie's folks) Top row: Dell, Frank, Uncle Steve,
Dorum? Howard, Maude, _________, Auntie Case
Second Row: Will, Nell McL 3rd Row: Jud, Nellie
Case, Aunt Emma Davidson, Grandma and Grandpa
McLaughlin 4th row: Willma, Harriett, Gladys, Coral
Case, May Erickson holding Elna, Willma holds Joyce
and Howard beside her.
Nellie McLaughlin Colebank
Nellie, Donald and Lloyd?
|Nellie and Frank's home on the St.
James farm when first married.