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Dicy Malinda Westover Sullivan

By Melinda Cohenour

My Memories of Cousin Dicy Malinda Westover (Sullivan)

In the summer of 1959, my thirteenth year, my parents and Mom's mother, Carrie Bullard Joslin, delivered me to El Paso to spend a couple of weeks with "Aunt Dicy". She was absolutely delightful, a sprite with the energy of ten men! She was very active with her Catholic charities and we went daily to handle her "chores" which consisted of delivering meals, clothing and medical needs to the less fortunate, visiting various children's homes, homes for the aged, houses which were provided by various Catholic parish members to furnish free lodging for families who were in El Paso to be near a relative whose misfortune, old age or disease had landed them in the hospital there.

Dicy was fully energetic and had an agenda for every day I spent in her company. One day we took the bus to the large park downtown. The highlight of that trip for me was our visit to the pool of live alligators. You can only imagine my shock when my ornery little sprite Dicy suggested I stick my head over the rim of the round, solid white, plastered-cinder block enclosure and one of the devilish creatures ignited the rush of all the leathery inhabitants toward me with a sound approximating that of an air gun combined with the muted roar of a pack of lions! One look at those huge, gaping jaws and red eyes and I was both terrified and enthralled. It was fascinating to watch those creatures whose appearance has hardly changed since their most ancient ancestor first left their marshy pond. Dicy shared my enthusiasm and we loitered for some time.

Aunt Dicy told me of her trip on the railroad train when she was just a young girl, traveling to California with the intention of beginning her career as a teacher. A freak flood washed out the tracks and stranded the train on the edge of El Paso. Dicy (I've mentioned "sprite" but you should know she may not have reached 5' in height and weighed nowhere near 100 pounds soaking wet as a grown woman.) with her "travelling clothes including the required lacy blouse, bustle, bonnet, laced and buttoned ladies boots and gloves was hard-pressed to depart the train safely. She watched with growing anxiety as the flood water swirled with angry red muddy vigor, when suddenly appeared a very large, blue-eyed, red-headed Irishman who reached up easily, placed his hands about her tiny waist (completely encircling it) and lifted her to the ground. Timothy Sullivan "Tim" to one and all, quickly made up his mind that Dicy Malinda was not leaving El Paso if he had anything to do with it. He proposed, she accepted and the rest was history.

Dicy maintained the massive bedroom furniture that had been hand-carved in Mexico to accommodate Timothy Sullivan's size: the four-poster bed required a set of steps to climb upon the mattress, while the posts (each with a circumference of near twelve inches) reached 7' toward the ceiling. Similarly, the gentleman's chest was carved to match and made of massive blocks of wood as well. The mirrored dresser dwarfed Dicy and the wardrobe looked like a small house. These pieces were kept gleaming such that one could almost use the wooden surfaces as mirrors.

I began that summer's vacation with the typical teenager's trepidation: fear of absolute boredom, anxiety about staying with an elderly relative never before seen, and reluctance to leave my friends and first-time boyfriend (I even had his copper penny on a chain, worn with matching baby blue long-sleeved soft sweaters to match that we wore over white collared shirts - so almost 1960's chic!) but I shall never regret one moment spent in the company of that delightful lady! She introduced me to El Paso (unabashedly one of the dustiest and least attractive large towns in Texas if not the United States) with a grace and hospitality that has left its joyful memories etched upon both my heart and my memories.

It was with a deep and painful sense of loss when I first began my genealogical research into the life of this wonderfully fun, vivacious, kind, loving, generous woman only to discover her life was lost to massive cardiac arrest not six months following my summer visit in 1959. Long may her memories live!

(A memoriam to Dicy Malinda Westover Sullivan by her 1st Cousin, twice removed, Melinda Carroll Cohenour. Shared 25 Aug, 2014)

From Ancestry:

Dicy Malinda Westover

When Dicy Malinda Westover was born on January 20, 1877, in Pineville, Missouri, her father, Benjamin, was 34 and her mother, Elizabeth, was 33. She married Timothy "Tim" C. Sullivan in 1900 in El Paso, Texas. They had one child during their marriage. She died on December 20, 1959, in El Paso, Texas, at the age of 82.

How We're Related: Dicy Malinda Westover (1877 - 1959) was my 1st cousin twice (2x) removed. The daughter of Benjamin Westover and wife, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hopper (1843 - 1937) who was the elder sister to Malinda Ellen Hopper (1845-1937), both Lizzie and Malinda were daughters of John Hopper (1823-1895) and wife Mary Johnson Young. Malinda Ellen Hopper and husband William Henry Bullard were the parents of Carrie Edyth Bullard (1890-1974) who married James Arthur "Artie" Joslin (1874-1956) who were the parents of Lena May Joslin who married John Edward Carroll. They are my parents.


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