Family Stories

Elcey Thornton Dick and Thomas P. Dick – Young Lives Taken Too Soon

Elcey Thornton Dick lies in Cave Hill Cemetery, in Louisville, Jefferson County, in the Dick family plot.  Her gravestone is in the shape of a large cross – quite appropriate for the suffering the young woman went through during her 25 years on this earth.

The daughter of Thomas P. Dick and Belle Thornton, Elcey was born in Kansas City, Missouri, May 15, 1889.  A son, named for his father, was born the next year.  Both children died before reaching a quarter of a century.  Thomas P. Dick, Sr., died in 1900.  Belle raised her children only to have them die two years apart.

Elcey Thornton Dick, May 15, 1889 – March 16, 1916.  Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

Elcey’s death certificate lists her birthplace as Kansas City, Missouri, and cause of death tubercular meningitis, of the spine.  It was said at a young age she was given money for candy and as she crossed the road to go to the store she was hit by a car.

The Courier Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wednesday, March 17, 1915

Miss Elsie [sic] T. Dick Dies After Eight Years’ Illness

After an illness of eight years of spinal trouble Miss Elsie [sic], granddaughter of the late S. P. Dick, of the Dick-Middleton & Co., tobacco firm, died last night at the home of her mother, Mrs. T. B. Dick, 402 Belgravia Court.  She was 24 years old.  Besides her mother she leaves a brother, Thomas Dick; an aunt, Mrs. J. C. Coleman, and two uncles, Archibald and Al M. Dick.  Arrangements for the funeral will be made today.

The Courier Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sunday, March 19, 1916

In Memoriam

In Memory of Elcey Thornton Dick, Who Entered Eternal Life March 16, 1915 – One Year Ago

Now is the springtime returning to cheer us,

Heaven and its angels draw tenderly near us,

The violets shine blue on the windy March ways,

And soft mid the thickets the birds sing God’s praise –

But the songbird that sang in my heart sweet and low,

Breathed her soul out in music just one year ago.

The violets that gleam mid the sunshine and rain

Recall their sweet sister who comes not again.

And their blossoms, unfolding beneath the spring skies,

Are no bluer, alas, than my Elcey’s dear eyes –

Oh, the violets return and the land is aglow

But my heart flower, my Elcey, passed one year ago.


The sunshine is waking, oh, beautiful thing,

It comes with the violets and songbirds of spring.

It tells of God’s goodness, His dearness, His truth,

Of the loves of the heart and the roses of youth –

But I sigh for the sunbeam my heart used to know,

The one light that faded just one year ago.

Somewhere, and some day, too precious to sum,

The spring that my soul ever longs for shall come.

For God will be tender, as God is all wise,

He will give back my Elcey, the light of my eyes.

Where the spring blooms immortal she waits me, I know,

My angel who left me just one year ago.

Elvira Miller Slaughter

Thomas, son of Thomas P. & Belle Thornton Dick, November 13, 1890 – June 5, 1917.

Thomas Dick, Jr., died in Phoenix, Arizona, June 5, 1917, of tuberculosis of the lungs.  He was listed as a salesman, born in Kentucky, parents Thomas P. Dick and Belle Thornton.

The Courier Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wednesday, June 6, 1917

Friends Are Notified of Death of Thomas Dick

News of the death of Thomas Dick in Phoenix, Arizona, yesterday morning was received in Louisville yesterday afternoon and was the cause of widespread sorrow among a host of friends.  The news was contained in a telegram received by Joseph M. Humler from Mrs. Belle T. Dick, mother of the young man, who went to Phoenix with him last fall and who remained with him and nursed him to the end.  Nothing was said in the telegram relative to the disposition of the body, but it is believed it will be brought to Louisville for burial in the family lot here.

Prior to going to Phoenix young Dick spent some time at Hazelwood Sanatorium.  He and his mother resided in Belgravia Court, but when his condition became such that the physicians recommended the climate of Arizona as the only possibility to prolong life, Mrs. Dick closed her home and went with her son to the West.

Elvira Miller Slaughter, who wrote the poem for Elcey Dick, also wrote one for Thomas

The Courier Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sunday, June 24, 1917

In Memory of Thomas P. Dick, Called Home June 5, 1917

With me in the light of the spring

Mid the sunshine and songs of the day

His sweet angel sister had given him warning,

And he whispered, “She calls me – yes, calls me away.”

Oh, darling mother, your love seeks to hold me;

I’m longing for rest and I care not to roam

She reaches to bend arms to greet and enfold me

That he called country, the angels call home.


And wishing to go where her dear hand shall guide me,

Where the flowers never fade and the sky’s always blue;

Some day with sister all smiling beside me

I shall come back, dear mother, softly calling for you –

Calling for you, all alone, brokenhearted,

Calling out where the sunlight is falling like rain

Oh, in that land where no fond hearts are parted

You shall hold and enfold us and love us again.

This poem is very faded, but I believe this is the gist of it.  Elvira Miller Slaughter was a poet, worked for a newspaper and wrote “The Tattler” column until her marriage.  She wrote sweet poems like the two above, but also more controversial ones about women in the workplace and prohibition.  I’m sure she must have written something about women’s rights to vote!  These poems are very traditional for this time period.

In the next post we will dig deeper into the Dick family of Louisville.

4 replies »

  1. The real-life Little Colonel, Harriet “Hattie” Cochran, married a Albert Conrad Dick of Louisville. Is his family the same as the Dick family featured in your article? As a fan of Annie Fellows Johnston’s Little Colonel books when I was a child growing up in Jeffersontown, 13 miles south of Pewee Valley, I was happy to discover that Hattie Cochran Dick is a cousin of mine!

      • Here is my tree on Ancestry—I haven’t really done any research on the Little Colonel’s inlaws, as you will see:

        Her kinship to me is as follows:

        Harriet Hoadley Cochran , Little Colonel 1890-1975
        5th cousin 2x removed
        Amelia Neville Weissinger 1867-1934
        Mother of Harriet Hoadley Cochran , Little Colonel
        George Washington Weissinger 1836-1903 [the Old Colonel]
        Father of Amelia Neville Weissinger
        Amanthus Bullitt 1811-1850
        Mother of George Washington Weissinger
        Anne Amelia Neville 1780-1854
        Mother of Amanthus Bullitt
        Joseph Neville 1733-1819
        Father of Anne Amelia Neville
        JOSEPH NEVILLE 1707-1783<–Most Recent Common Ancestor
        Father of Joseph Neville
        ANN "NANCY" NEVILLE 1735-1824
        Daughter of JOSEPH NEVILLE
        SARAH NEVILLE O'BANNON 1770-1848
        Daughter of ANN "NANCY" NEVILLE
        SAMUEL PEPPER 1802-1874
        MARY LOUISA PEPPER 1834-1874
        Daughter of SAMUEL PEPPER
        ROBERT PEPPER McCOUN 1860-1940
        LUCY ETHEL McCOUN 1896-1985
        Daughter of ROBERT PEPPER McCOUN
        RAYMOND THOMAS HORTON 1914-1987
        Son of LUCY ETHEL McCOUN
        Linda Rae Horton

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