Arthur Sheridan Westneat was the third child of William and Priscelia Westneat. Arthur was born on May 14, 1877 and grew up in the town of Prahran. Two major events took place when Arthur reached 14 years of age. The first was the death of his mother and the second was the end of his compulsory schooling. The death of his mother left him in the care of his father with whom he had much conflict. In order to continue his education, he needed be accepted into a private secondary school system which would lead to the University of Melbourne. This was a path that was only open to the children of the wealthy and influential.
At the age of 15, Arthur left home to make his own way in the world. Arthur did, however, remain in the Prahran area and became a member of the Toorak and South Yarra Try Society. This privately owned organisation maintained a community centre for boys aged 14 through 18. These boys worked a trade during the day. The Society also offered athletic facilities, evening education in various skills and non-denominational religious services for the benefit of the 400-500 boys who were members during this period.
It seems likely that young Arthur's commitment to further education and service in the ministry was strengthened during this period. He worked in several trades -- as a factory laborer, as a lens grinder and as a newspaper reporter. He was associated with an acting company where it is most likely he developed his love of Shakespeare. As a young man, he became an intenerate minister traveling by horseback among the lumber camps in northern Victoria. It is said that he would cook a meal for the lumbermen and then preach to them. Apparently, his inability to gain access to further education became an issue for him because in 1908, at the age of 31, Arthur left Australia, never to return.
Arthur proceeded to reverse the journey made by his Grandparents 60 years earlier. This trip, however, with the advent of steam engines and the Suez Canal, was far easier, shorter and less stressful. Arthur arrived in England and spent several weeks traveling the countryside. In later years, Arthur would comment in a 1/2 joking way that he had gone to seek his inheritance in England. It was never quite clear as to how serious he was with this comment.
Soon, Arthur boarded another ship and headed for the United States. Like thousands of immigrants both before and after Arthur, he landed at Ellis Island, in the New York City harbor. Once cleared to enter the country, Arthur headed to Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky where he enrolled as an undergraduate student. He received his Bachelors degree in 1912 and then a Masters degree in 1913. According to the Georgetown College Alumni Association records, he received his doctorate at Newton Theological Seminary in 1915. A press release announcing his book release, however states that Arthur simply attended Newton, Harvard and Temple and received his doctorate from Milton College in Maryland in 1932. The press release further states he served his first pastorate in Kentucky and makes no mention of the pastorate from 1913-1915 in Salem, Massachusetts whilst attending Harvard University from 1915-1916. He then transferred to his next pastorate at a small Baptist church in Hudson, New Hampshire. It was here that he met Alice Barbara French, born July 6, 1894, a young school teacher from Haverhill, New Hampshire.
They were married in 1920.
Arthur and Alice had three children, Arthur Sheridan Westneat, Jr. born in 1921, Francis Whitney Westneat, born in 1923 and David French Westneat born in 1929. Arthur and Alice, in 1954, retired back to the small community of Hudson, New Hampshire where they had first met and where Arthur had started his ministerial career. Arthur died at the age of 88 on December 4, 1965. Alice died at the age of 93 on October 13, 1987. Both Arthur and Alice are buried in the Westview Cemetery in Hudson, New Hampshire.
All of Arthur's descendants currently live in the United States and are one of two branches of the Ezra Westneat line to live in the US today.
Author of: The Ordinance of Burial and Resurrection
Great Words of the New Testament
Wanderings in the Woodland
We come with Hearts O'erflowing a Thanksgiving Hymn
Arthur Sheridan Westneat Jr.
Francis Whitney Westneat
David French Westneat
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