Melinda Hamline came to Evanston with her son in 1866. She was the wife of Methodist Bishop Leonidas Hamline who was her second husband. Her first husband was Arnold Truesdell and with him she ran a female seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. She married Leonidas Hamline in 1836 after Truesdell’s death. Leonidas Hamline died in 1865.
In 1866, she was chosen president of the American Methodist Ladies Centenary Association, whose purpose was to raise funds for a women’s dormitory (Heck Hall) at Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston. She also served as a trustee of the Evanston College for Ladies. In 1870 she organized the Maternal Association of Evanston, later renamed the Evanston Missionary Union (the first interdenominational organization in Evanston). It merged in 1960 with United Church Women.