Woman of the Century/Cynthia M. Westover
WESTOVER, Miss Cynthia M., scientist, inventor and business woman, born in Alton, Iowa, 31st May, 1858. Her great-grandfather was Alexander Campbell, founder of the Campbellites. Her father is a descendant of the Westovers, of Virginia, who settled early in 1600 near the site where Richmond now stands, and her mother was from a well-known English family, named Lewis. Her father is a noted geologist and expert miner. From the age of four years, being a motherless girl, she accompanied him on all his prospecting tours from Mexico to British America. CYNTHIA M. WESTOVER. Naturally, from her early surroundings, she became an expert shot and horsewoman, and she also acquired an intimate knowledge of birds and flowers, the habits of wild animals and many other secrets of nature After graduating from the State University of Colorado, she took a four-year course in a commercial college, where she was considered a skilled mathematician. In early womanhood she went to New York City to perfect her musical education, and after singing acceptably in several church choirs, she received an offer of a position in an opera. The practical side of her nature asserted itself, when she took the civil service examination for custom-house inspectors. She was promptly appointed and, with her usual force and energy, began to learn French, German and Italian, perfecting her Spanish and acquiring a general knowledge of languages, which placed her in an incredibly short space of time on speaking terms with most of the nationalities coming to our shore. Commissioner Beattie, of the street-cleaning department of New York City, appointed her his private secretary. She is the only woman who has held a position by appointment in any of the city departments. During the illness of the com- missioner for several weeks, she managed successfully the affairs of the entire department. Many Italians were on the force, and for the first time in their experience they could air their grievances at headquarters. Lately she invented a cart for carrying and dumping dirt, for which the Parisian Academy of Inventors conferred upon her the tide of Membre d'Honneur, with a diploma and a gold medal. She is joint author of a book entitled "Manhattan, Historic and Artistic," which was so favorably received that the first edition was exhausted in ten days. She is a newspaper writer, and secretary of the Woman's Press Club of New York City.