J. O. Melham, a prominent businessman from Minnesota, was born on a farm in Fillmore County in 1866. He grew up in a family of Norwegian heritage, and his father was a teacher before immigrating to America. J. O. Melham excelled in his education, attending schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. After leaving school, he worked on the family farm before embarking on an independent career in the agricultural industry. Eventually, he found success in the lumber and hardware business, establishing the Melham Brothers Lumber Company. Mr. Melham is also involved in banking and holds significant land holdings in South Dakota and British Columbia.