John Milton Colebank was the first boy of 11 children born to L S and Martha McIndoo Colebank
September 15, 1887 on their farm in Milford Township, Iroquois County near Onarga, Illinois. When
John was 13 his family moved by train to a farm in Riverdale Township near Madelia, Minnesota. John
and his dad rode the freight train and looked after the farm animals and the rest of the family rode the
passenger train. John finished the 6th grade in rural District 4 School. At age 22 he farmed with his
brother-in-law John Strean near LaSalle, Minnesota. When they had problems with the water well on
their farm John went to the neighboring farm to borrow a block and tackle and met one of  the
daughters, young school teacher Clara Nasman. There was a mutual attraction and they began
seeing each other. The following year John decided to go with his cousin Robert Colebank to Oregon
where Robert’s uncle Lincoln Roll lived.
Clara didn’t want John to go, because she thought he might meet some pretty girl out there in Oregon,
but John wanted to seek his  fortune and promised Clara he would keep in touch with her. John got a
job in the paper mill  in Oregon City and enlisted in the National Guard. John kept in touch as he
promised and ever more his thought turned to that Nasman girl back in Minnesota. In 1912 John
returned to Minnesota and found himself a job on the railroad in Duluth, Minnesota. He continued
seeing Clara, commuting by train between Duluth and St.  James.
After four years of courtship John and Clara Frances Nasman were married on March 11, 1914 in the
home of the bride’s parents on their farm near LaSalle, Minnesota. John was 26 and his bride 24.
Pastor A T Lundholm performed the ceremony. Clara was the daughter of Swedish immigrants Nils
and Anna Greta Nelson Nasman. She was born June 26, 1889 on their farm in Riverdale Township,
Watonwan County,  Minnesota.
Clara attended rural district 16 grammar school and was confirmed in rural East Sveadahl Lutheran
Church near St. James. She attended high school in St. James while staying with her maternal uncle
Andrew Nelson who was a mail carrier. Clara taught rural grammar school in districts 16, 27, 28 and
LaSalle,  all in Watonwan County.
The first year of their marriage John and Clara farmed in partnership with Clara’s brother George
Nasman. The next year they rented the Kensella farm 7 miles west of  Madelia where Laurence was
born. In 1917 they rented the L S Colebank farm (John’s father) in Madelia Township, and Maynard
was born here. In 1920 John and his brother Henry purchased the  Gust Felsing farm in Woodside
Township, Polk County, in northern Minnesota. Henry built a new house while John worked the land.
Clara was pregnant and stayed with John’s parents in Madelia where Norman was born in February.
Later on, in 1920, Clara and the children joined John and Henry who were living with their cousin
Robert Colebank. When Robert got married in the fall, Henry, John and family had to live in their
granary building until Henry got the house ready to move into.
John and Clara raised their family on this Woodside farm.  Clara brought the children up in the local
Maple Lake  Lutheran Church.  Both were active in 4H activities and John was a 30-year member of the
Polk County Fair  Association.  They co-authored “The L S Colebank Family Tree” with their daughter
Ann and John’s sister Bernice Roof. They retired and moved into Fertile, Minnesota to live in 1968.
Clara died June 29, 1974 at age 85 and John the following September 10, five days before his 87th
birthday. Both are buried in the Maple Lake Church Cemetery.
The children of John and Clara were:

Milton Sidney Colebank – born May 1, May 1915 in Riverdale Township, Watonwan County,  Minnesota.
He died the same day.

Laurence Stanley Colebank- born June 16, 1916 in Riverdale Township, Watonwan County,
Minnesota. He married Edna Linze on December 20, 1945, then married Esther Marie Ruff on
December 5, 1951. They lived in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Maynard Milton Colebank – born September 3, 1917 in Madelia Township, Watonwan County,  
Minnesota. He married Stella Dorothy McDonald on August 16, 1944 and they resided in Farmington,
Minnesota.

Norman Willard Colebank – born February 18, 1920 in Madelia Minnesota. He married Thyra
Gustafson on February 5, 1944 and they resided in Litchville, North Dakota.

Anna Bernice Colebank- born July 6, 1921 in Woodside Township, Polk County, Minnesota. She
married Melborne C Hagen on June 26, 1946 and they resided in Anchorage, Alaska for many years
before returning to Fertile, Minnesota.

Martha Ruth Colebank- born October 8, 1923 in Woodside Township,  Polk County, Minnesota. She
married Arthur M. Smith in 1947 and they were divorced in 1983. She resides in Deridder, Louisiana.

John Francis Colebank – born February 18, 1926 in Woodside Township, Polk County, Minnesota. He
married Karolyn Joan Lawyer on June 20, 1951. He married Judy Ann Mai Schmidt on June 7, 1974
and they resided in Prairie Village, Kansas.

Grace Genevieve Colebank – born November 11, 1927 in Woodside Township, Polk County,
Minnesota. She married Edor W. Anderson on July 29, 1950 and they resided in Newfolden Minnesota.

Paul Victor Colebank – born February 19, 1930 in Woodside Township, Polk County, Minnesota. He
died the same day.

Copied with permission from “From Whence Came the Colebanks” by Warren Colebank, copyright
1989, pps.  184 and 185.
PETER COLEBANK, father of
JAMES COALBANK, father of
JAMES D COLEBANK, father of
L S COLEBANK, father of

JOHN MILTON COLEBANK
John and Clara's home near Fertile, MN
Back row, L to R:  Maynard, John, Laurence,
Norman Front row: Ann, Martha Ruth, John,
Clara, Grace (click to enlarge)
John and Clara at home, Dec. 23, 1953
Martha Ruth, Thyra, Ann, Grace, Clara
L to R: Colebank sons Laurence, John,
Norman, Maynard
Clara and John in 1942
Linda and Lester Colebank and Clara and
John Colebank. Brothers married sisters!
Clara Nasman Colebank Obituary
(click to enlarge)
John Colebank family 1957
(click to enlarge)
25th Wedding Anniversary Article
(click to enlarge)
John Colebank Obituary
(click to enlarge)
60th Anniversary Article
(click to enlarge)
John and Clara Colebank family: Back row, from left: Laurence, John, Norman, Maynard Middle
row, from left: Grace, Ann, Martha Ruth, Front row: John and Clara
John and Clara and family upon their 50th wedding anniversary in 1954
Linda, Lester, John and Clara again