Branch: U. S. Army

   Rank:  Private

   Status: Died of disease

   Date of Service: WWI

   Home Town: Winsor                         Township

Jacobson family (Melvin is top row, center) 

Melvin J Jacobson was born September 2, 1895 in Clay County, Minnesota to parents Henry and Petrine Kristine Horn Jacobson. Petrine was born in Kobberdahl, Norway and when she was 18 years of age she came to the United States and settled at Lake Park, Minnesota. There she met Henry Jacobson and they were married in Ulen in 1894. Henry and Petrine had four children: Melvin, Lena, Mathilda and Helmina. Henry died in 1903. In 1907, Petrina packed up her four children and filed on a homestead in Winsor Township. Two years later she married Hartvig Hanson, age 52, a widower who had three grown children of his own: Helga, Helmer and Axel. Hartvig was a dairy farmer who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1901. Hartvig and Petrine had two sons: Palmer, born in 1911 and Victor, born in 1917.

Melvin registered for the draft on May 27, 1917 in Nelson County, North Dakota, were he was employed as a farm laborer by Olav Loyland in Lee Township. He was of medium height, brown eyes, with dark hair. A newspaper article of the time said this about him, “Young Jacobson was of a quiet disposition, unassuming and a gentlemanly fellow.”

In October, 1918 Melvin was on his way to Camp Cody, New Mexico with a contingent of soldiers from Clearwater County. On the way there he contracted the catastrophic Spanish Influenza that was decimating U.S. troops. He came down with the illness on October 25 and was sent to the U.S. Army Base Hospital in Fort Bliss, Texas. By November 8th he had succumbed to acute bilateral broncho-pneumonia secondary to influenza. He was the third Gonvick boy to die in the service of his country.

Melvin’s body was sent to Gonvick under escort and was taken to the Bethany-Saron church, five miles north of Gonvick (now United Lutheran, Berner), where funeral services were conducted by Pastor A. H. Bergford. Melvin was buried in the Bethany-Saron Cemetery. He was 23 years old.