By Thanasis Kombos
Editor’s note: The following is the first of four parts of a history of New Birmingham, the ghost town outside Rusk, written by Thanasis Kombos, a Jacksonville resident who is currently a history major at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Kombos prefaced his submission of this paper to the Daily Progress with a letter explaining his motivation for sending his work for publication. A portion of his letter prefaces this section of his paper.
The subsequent parts of his paper will be printed on the coming three Sundays, accompanied by photos, as applicable, of New Birmingham.
A letter from the author: My desire to publish in the Jacksonville Daily Progress is twofold.
Firstly, as New Birmingham’s history is vivid and colorful and town’s eventual failure has had lasting effects on Cherokee County and East Texas as a whole, I believe it deserves a place in the active memory of the area’s citizens.
Secondly, and I believe of more importance, concerns the place and value of history in our culture today. In this day, more and more it seems that the appreciation of a community’s heritage and its civic pride, once propelled and supported by a genuine interest in history, has, in many ways, greatly diminished.
In 1913, Ossie Wiggins, the salutatorian of Jacksonville High School, wrote an essay describing the history of Cherokee County to date. By submitting my essay for publication, I hope to continue that same tradition of students of history (especially our younger generation of lay historians) taking up the pen and writing on our community’s history and sharing their work with the rest of the populace.
Emily Dickinson once wrote “Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.”
While the likes of New Birmingham surely did not inspire her to construct such poetry, the past inhabitants of this Texas ghost town knew the truth of her words better than most as a people who perennially recognized the distinct taste of success, but never won the opportunity to savor it.
By Thanasis Kombos
- Local News
JPD dispatcher killed in wreck
A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.
CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda
On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.
Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells
Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.
Folks attend weekend fundraiser for H.O.P.E.
It was an evening fit for royalty, as supporters of the Helping Others Pursue Enrichment (H.O.P.E.) program gathered Saturday at The Castle on the Lake outside Jacksonville for “A Renaissance Evening.”
Church of Wells members attend protest
About 30 members of the Church of Wells arrived at a protest Saturday. The event was planned after an incident at Wells Homecoming Day on April 5 where the church loudly "street preached" causing a disruption. Three of the church members were injured by two men at the parade. On Saturday, the event was peaceful, despite a few loud voices.
See the complete story and photos in the next edition of the Daily Progress on Tuesday, April 15.
5 receive scholarships from Chamber’s Agri-Business Committee
The Agri-Business Committee of the Jacksonville Chamber recently awarded five $1,000 scholarships at the Annual Cherokee County Junior Livestock Show on March 29.
Deadline to file taxes nears
As an April 15 deadline for individuals to file their 2013 federal tax return approaches, pressure is mounting for tax preparers.
Protest, march planned in Wells
The town of Wells is planning a march to the R&R Mercantile on U.S. Hwy. 69 from the former Dairy Queen to protest the Church of Wells.
The event is planned for 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Court date set for JP hearing
A court date has been reset to April 28 for a hearing of a petition by a local primary candidate in an upcoming Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace race.
Luncheon to include update on Lake Columbia
Updates on the proposed Lake Columbia will be the topic at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Kelly Holcomb, general manager for Angelina Neches River Authority, will provide updated information on the proposed Lake Columbia between Jackson-ville and New Summerfield.
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