Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

September 25, 2013

Unusual Jacksonville brick brings credence to history museum

JACKSONVILLE — Citation of a burnt earth brick with unusual insignia – created more than a century ago in Jacksonville – on the website www.ruffbrickroad.com, is “a  distinguished professional credit” for historical artifacts that comprise the local Vanishing Texana Museum, said museum board chairman Sam Hopkins.

Which in turn, he added, “makes Jacksonville an educational center for other heritage researchers.”

According to a description of the brick, loaned to the local Vanishing Texana Museum by the Ed Aber family, it was created by Aber Brick Kiln about 1890 with a “universal Good Luck Sign.”

From an excerpt of their book in progress, “Lives of Texas Brick,” authors Jim Atkinson and Judy Wood explain that “in the 19th century world that Ed Aber knew, the raised brand within a rectangular recess on his burnt earth brick signified good luck.”

The design – a cross with equal arms that "turn" at right angles – “is an ancient symbol that evokes whirling motion, like two sticks bound together and twirled to create fire,” they write. “During the very era that Aber kiln-fired this brick, the symbol had a surge of popularity in the Western world after it was discovered during Heinrich Schliemann's excavation of ancient Troy.”

Native American tribes, particularly those in the Southwest, also incorporated the design into their culture: “Hopi and Navajo referred to it as 'The Whirling Logs of Healing,'” the book explains, adding that the symbol is called a swastika, a name that “derives from Sanskrit su (good) + asti (it is) + suffix ka (soul).”

According to the website, About.com, “until the Nazis used this symbol, the swastika was used by many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years to represent life, sun, power, strength and good luck. Even in the early twentieth century, the swastika was still a symbol with positive connotations,” found on items like coins and building.

“During World War I, the swastika could even be found on the shoulder patches of the American 45th Division and on the Finnish air force until after World War II,” the site states.

However, the symbol – a black swastika against a white circular field – became “a symbol of hate, antisemitism, violence, death and murder” after Adolf Hitler adopted it as the official emblem of the Nazi Party in 1920, according to the About.com website.

The swastika is still perceived as such in this country, Hopkins said, even though in other cultures, the symbol represents a more positive image.

“ When I served in Vietnam, I observed the frequent use of the swastika symbol on grave markers in Buddhist cemeteries,” he said.

“The Aber brick reminds Americans that the imprinted symbol is still used outside of Western civilization by other world religions (and it) broadens our understanding of our own recent history, as well as the practices of other peoples in other places even today.”

The unusual brick may well just become the “attention-getter” the museum seeks to garner visitors.

“(It's) one of the most interesting of the museum's possessions,” Hopkins said; this year, “it is one of the three items that have been exhibited and studied by heritage professionals.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014

  • Cherokee County arrest: April 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Jacksonville College, high schools team up to offer dual credit program

    Jacksonville College is currently offering qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending Jacksonville and New Summerfield ISDs and The Brookhill School in Bullard the opportunity to get head start on their higher education.

    April 18, 2014

  • JISD board members to consider district strategic plan

    The Jacksonville ISD Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, to discuss a district strategic plan and consider buying new band uniforms.

    April 18, 2014

  • 2 men arrested after standoff in grocery store

    Two men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a standoff at the B&B Foods in Alto.
    According to Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson, a person reported seeing two black males at the store just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Some area entities closed for holiday

    Many area offices and businesses will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif 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.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif 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.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos