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Lowell Stories: Women's History

Amanda Lavinia Colburn (1847-1913)

Amanda Lavinia Colburn, Private Family Collection.

There are several notable Indigenous women living in Lowell in the mid-19th century.
Amanda Lavinia Colburn (1847-1913), indigenous, through her paternal side was a descendant of Edward Colburn who came from England in 1635. He lived in Ipswich for some years. In 1668 he moved to what is now Dracut, MA as the first settler on the north of the Merrimack River. Amanda’s grandfather, Uriah Colburn, Sr. was born in Dracut, MA, but moved to Rumney, NH and then Wentworth, NH where he farmed for many years. His son Uriah Colburn, Jr. was born in Wentworth, NH in 1806.
In 1833, Uriah Colburn, Jr. married Betsey Smart an indigenous woman, daughter of Jeremiah Smart of Rumney, NH. In 1850, Jeremiah was among those owning the most real estate in Wentworth, NH. Jeremiah’s wife was Relief Haines, of English heritage. 
Uriah and Bestey Colburn had 15 children, including Amanda Lavina Colburn who was born in Wentworth, NH in June 1847. Amanda and two of her sisters came to Lowell, MA to work in the textile mills sometime after the Civil War. In Lowell, Amanda she met Meldon Stephen Giles and married in June 1869.
Meldon Giles was born in October 1840 in Acton, MA parents Israel Haynes Giles and Lucy Haynes Giles. Sometime later his family moved to Westford, MA. Meldon’s name is on the door of the Acton, MA library as veteran of Civil War. He and Amanda had two children; Nellie, born in 1870 and Clarence, born in 1871. Meldon along with William Stickney Lamson of Lowell, co-invented the "Store Rail Account Systems," for moving cash and parcels. Lamson stayed in the US and Meldon worked as the international salesman.
Amanda, Meldon, and their children spent 25 years in England, 1888-1912. She sometimes did international travel with Meldon. They returned to Lowell, MA in 1912 and she passed away in 1913.