A little while ago I was given a copy of my great great grandfather’s death notice. It would not have been a typical obituary, as we know it today, where the family provides the information of the deceased and pays for the space in the paper. Instead, the death notices, as it were in the early part of the past century, were written by the local journalist or newspaper man. To my understanding , that would mean that you could not control the sentiments of the newspaper; instead, you would be at the mercy of the truth or public opinion about the way you lived your life. That’s what makes this so meaningful to me and I wanted to share my great great grandfather’s write up with you just as it was written all those years ago (emphasis mine)… A man after God’s own heart:
P. B. Collins
P. B. Collins was born June 5th, 1841, and died January 26th, 1927.
He was married three times (twice widowed), and to these unions ten children were born, seven of whom are living,
these, together with his wife, forty-one grandchildren and twenty-two great grand children.
For more than twenty years, he has been almost blind, and for quite awhile entirely without sight. Altho’ confined to his room for several years,
he never failed to teach and exhort, any who would call on him, from his one book, the Bible.
His father, F. B. Collins, was born in 1799 and owned a family Bible printed in 1828. This book is still
in the family and many nights has our beloved brother Collins read this old book by the light of a campfire,
when he could not have good light (he was part of Lee’s guard in the war between the states), and to the very last,
he retained much of the valuable knowledge he obtained from it. His life was one of humble service to his master and a worthy example
to all who knew him. For many years he has been a faithful member of the Church of Christ.
His desire to have a short Christian service at his burial, and to be put away in a home-made casket, as were many of
his people, was granted, and Mr. Pybus made a beautiful casket, and from the old Bible was read his favorite
passage of scripture (The 23rd Psalm shown in his own writing below) as his body was laid to rest in the Palacios cemetery.
(His favorite passage written by his own hand.)
Humble is an understatement, this man has an incredible story to tell: one of endurance, perseverance, hope, and undying faith. His story starts out with losing both parents and then his closest relative. He was a war hero, a widow, a father, a pony express rider, lived through the Texas range wars and carried The Bible with him through it all. Keeping the words and quoting them just as if he could read, I imagine he could see them with his heart.