My “Black Sheep” Great Grandfather

One of my maternal grandfathers Pinkney Arthur Westmoreland was born in 1873 in Arkansas. Little is known about his childhood by our family. He is mainly known for the fact that he abandoned my great grandmother with twin girls. Both girls, Rossie and Roxie, deeply resented their father’s treatment of their mother Mary Frances. Both girls married fine young men; Roxie and her husband Paul moved to Texas where Paul bought a section of the McNay division in what became Haltom City.
My mother Betty told me the story of Pink when I was a teenager. When mother was entering high school, her mother Roxie heard that Pink was living in Fort Worth working as a barber at an old folks home nearby. Grandmother found him in the barber shop where he worked and invited him to eat with her family. When he asked if Roxie still played the piano, his daughter replied that Betty Paul did. He loved to sing and asked Betty to play. Mother said he visited regularly for a short period.  After awhile he disappeared again.

Years later, when word came that he had died, Roxie’s husband Paul claimed his body (which would have gone to a pauper’s grave) and buried him at Mount Olivet Cemetery where Paul and Roxie would later be buried. My mother told me that Rossie, my grandmother’s twin sister, always resented Grand Daddy Westmoreland. She was not able to forgive him, but somehow my grandmother did.

The pictures show him to be such a handsome man. Rossie’s younger son David Brown was just like him my mother said: undependable, handsome, charismatic, but lacking character to stand by his responsibilities.

Many years later, my mother received a call from a woman who said she was Pink Westmoreland’s daughter. As it turned out, Pink had married a woman in Texas and had another family that he also abandoned. Betty told the woman what she knew about Pink, feeling extremely sad for her.

Neither Roxie nor Betty supported what Pink did with his life, but he was their father and grandfather. Betty said she had mixed feelings about him causing her to refrain from putting a wreath at his grave each year at Christmas as she did for her parents. My sister and I have continued my mother’s tradition of the wreaths on our family burial sites at Christmas. My thankfulness for his musical gifts urge me to honor Pink as well as my grandparents.

My perspective is a bit different since I did not ever meet Pink who died in 1946. I cannot ignore his contribution to the gifts of our family that God has so graciously given even though Pink mistreated two families. God says we must forgive; of course that is easier from the distance at which I sit three generations later. His ancestry gave my family our musical gene; to this date 4 generations in my family have developed and used that musical ability for Christ’s glory, as singers, pianists, organists, choir directors, guitarists and worship leaders in area churches. God can use anyone even in their weakness for His glory.

2 Corinthians 12:9 He (Christ) said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because My power is made perfect in weakness.”


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