Texas Historian, Leonard Kubiak of Rockdale.
BREMOND TEXAS WEBPAGE
Bremond Area Bulletin Board
Received the following email from Mrs Joe (Doris) Erskine (DJErs1433@aol.com):
I was looking to see if I could find out some history on a home my daughter is buying in Bremond, Texas and came upon the Bremond, Texas webpage. I was glancing at the pages on the document entitled: Bremond Texas Webpage|Bulletin Board & History of Bremond and while scrolling down, I noticed my husband's relatives (Tom and Hardy Curry). Just in the last year or so, that property between FM413 and Bremond on Pole Cat Creek was sold. It saddened me to no end to see that leave our family, as it did when my parents and my dad's siblings sold my grandfather's property near Otto.
Duke Curry was my husband's grandfather and I believe Tom was his father...if my memory serves me correctly. I may have already emailed you some of this info in the past as I have looked at your site before and I do remember emailing you, but, not why. Duke married Minnie Sowders and they had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, my husband's mother, and she married Norman Neal Erskine, the son of W. D. and ? Erskine. (For the life of me, I cannot remember his mother's name). Minnie Curry passed away when Joe, my husband, was fairly young. Some years later, Pa married another Minnie.
At any rate, I cannot wait to print this out to sit in my easy chair to read it all.
Isn't it funny, how so many of us while in school didn't care about history that much, but, now, as we grow older and we want to know more about our family and the areas in which they lived, suddenly history is important to us in various aspects.
I want to write up some type of family history for our girls and grandchildren on both sides of our family and I will try to come back to print this article when my printer has ink again. (Those little cartridges are liquid gold and sure do empty fast as one prints).
I certainly do appreciate all the time and effort you have obviously spent gathering all the info on this site. You are the 'running around legs' for all of us who can't do that. Thank you again.
Received the following email from Adam L. Martinez of Kosse: (Adam.Martinez@dalton.k12.ga.us)
I found my Great Grandfather in Great Grandmother in the Catholic Cemetary in Bremond, Texas. I was born in Temple but was raised in Blue Ridge. I went to HS in Marlin and I currently live in Ringgold, Georgia. (20 Miles South of Chattanooga, TN).
My mom and dad currently live in Chilton. I have always wondered where my Great Grandparents are buried. My dad took me there as a child....but I could not remember where that was nor did I care at the time, I was to young. During my holiday break, I plan on taking pictures of the site.
Do you know if I can get records on where they lived or census info from that time?
Thanks for your website.
Adam L. Martinez
Roan Street Physical Education
If you have any old photos, stories or inquiries relating to the Bremond area, send me an email at:
PHOTOS FROM THE 2011 BREMOND POLISH PICKLE DAYS PARADE
I've attended several Bremond Polish Pickle Days parades but this one has to be one of the best in memory. Lot's of tractors, restored muscle cars, restored Model A's, horse drawn vehicles, funny floats, a tribute float to Bob Wills, minature horses and mules, and even a stagecoach. Lots of arts and crafts booths, food booths and of course, pickle sales. Cathy Penick had the Coal Mine Restaurant serving Polish food and a large appreciative crown dining there. Even the Black Bean provided a cool having from the heat where visitors could down a cool one. Great festival!
Long time Bremond area residents Norbit and Hattie Snider, their daughter Diane Snider, brother Al Snider and his wife, Marilyn and cousin Louise Erwin watching the parade from the front entrance to the Norbit Snider Barber Shop.
History of Bremond Texas
Robertson County-the Early Days
For untold centuries, the region that became Robertson County, was rich in wildlife and the fertile river
bottoms of the Brazos and Trinity Rivers was home to many ancient Indian tribes including the Huacos, the Tonkawas, the
Caddoes, the Apaches, the Cherokees, the Yeguas, and later the Comanches and Kiowas.
Texas was opened to Anglo-American colonization in 1822 when the government of Spain granted
Moses Austin permission to bring in three hundred families from the United States. Moses
died while planning this major undertaking, but his son, Stephen F. Austin, replaced him as
empresario and over a period of several years managed to bring in some 300 families that formed the Austin Colony.
After winning their independence from Spain, Mexico began to encourage Anglo Americans to settle into Texas. The area that became Bremond was part of Robertson's Colony settled in 1834 and 1835.
Sterling Clack Robertson
Sterling Clack Robertson was born on October 2, 1785, in Nashville, Tennessee. His father was Elijah Robertson, a brother of General James Robertson, the "Father of Middle Tennessee," and his mother was Sarah (Maclin) Robertson, for whom he later named the capital of his colony in Texas.
Major Sterling C. Robertson was one of seventy members of the Texas Association who on March 2, 1822, signed a memorial asking the Mexican Government for permission to settle in Texas. They finally received a contract in 1825, known as Leftwich's Grant, and Robertson came to Texas with the party sent to explore the territory, leaving Nashville on November 21, 1825, and remaining in Texas at least until August 24, 1826, on which date he made a deposition in San Felipe de Austin concerning the wife of Ellis Bean..
On October 15, 1827, this colonization project became known as the Nashville Colony, but nothing was actually done toward bringing settlers to Texas until April 26, 1830, when Robertson began to sign up families. The area assigned for settlements by the Nashville Company was transferred to Austin & Williams on February 25, 1831, and remained under their control until May 22, 1834.
ROBERTSON'S COLONY (1834-1835)
The decree of May 22, 1834, awarding the colony to Robertson confirmed the boundaries as they had been defined in the Nashville Company's contract of October 15, 1827. Beginning at the point where the road from Béxar (San Antonio) to Nacogdoches, known as "the Upper Road," crossed the Navasota River, a line was to be run along that road on a westerly course, to the heights which divided the waters of the Brazos and Colorado Rivers; thence on a northwest course along that watershed to the northernmost headwaters of the San Andrés River (Little River), and from the said headwaters, northeast on a straight line, to the belt of oaks extending on the east side of the Brazos, north from the Hueco (Waco) Village, known as the "Monte Grande" ("Great Forest"), and in English as "the Cross Timbers," and from the point where that line intersected the Cross Timbers, on a southeast course along the heights between the Brazos and Trinity rivers, to the headwaters of the Navasota, and thence down the Navasota, on its righthand or west bank, to the point of beginning. That included all or part of the 17 counties listed above, under Leftwich's Grant, plus the 13 additional counties shown under the Nashville Colony, constituting an area 100 miles wide, beginning at the San Antonio- Nacogdoches Road and extending northwest up the Brazos for 200 miles, centering around Waco.
In that 1834 session of the legislature, Robertson was recognized as the empresario of the colony, and he was to introduce the rest of the 800 families into the colony before April 29, 1838. Each family that dedicated itself solely to farming was to receive one LABOR (177.1 acres) of land; those who also engaged in ranching were to receive an additional SITIO (1 league, or 4,428.4 acres) . Single men were to receive 1/4 league (1,107.1 acres). For each 100 families introduced, Robertson was to receive 5 leagues and 5 labors (or a total of 23,027.5 acres) of premium lands. William H. Steele was appointed Land Commissioner of the Nashville (or Robertson) Colony on May 24, 1834, and he appointed John Goodloe Warren Pierson as Principal Surveyor, on September 17, 1834.
The capital of the colony was laid out at the Falls of the Brazos (about 6 miles northwest of the Reagan area ) and named Sarahville de Viesca: "Sarah" for Empresario Robertson's mother, Sarah (Maclin) Robertson, who had loaned him the money for the project, and "Viesca" for Agustín Viesca, the Mexican official who was presiding over the state legislature when it granted the contract to Robertson. All the Robertson Colony land grants were issued in Viesca, Texas.
The first land title was issued on October 20, 1834, but all the colonial land offices were closed, by the Provisional Government of Texas, on November 13, 1835, because of the outbreak of the Texas Revolution, thus preventing Robertson from completing the full quota of 800 families. However, according to a ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of the State of Texas, in December of 1847, Robertson was given credit for having introduced a total of 600 families.
Following the Texas Revolution, the Robertson Colony area was broken up to form all or part of the thirty present-day Texas counties which have been listed under Leftwich's Grant and the Nashville Colony.
Founding of Bremond (1869)
The population of Robertson County grew slowly between 1835 and 1850 and by the beginning of the Civil War it was still under 5,000. After the end of the war, the area that would become Bremond was a lawless region.
Then when the railroad passed through
Hearne and Calvert in early 1869,the town site for Bremond was staked-off. The first new settlers in Bremond were railway workmen
and merchants who had followed railroad construction from Houston. As word of the new town spread. droves of
settlers flocked to Bremond transforming the little railroad town into a
roaring boom town over night. Within a
year after the first train, Bremond had a population of over 2000 and the overflowing
population spread into the countryside.
While the new town prospered, much of the
land surrounding it was cut into farm land and cotton growers came to be near the shipping
Bremond History Curtesy of Interview with Mancell W. Cabiness, Reagan, Texas.
The following interview with Mr. Cabiness over 70 years ago provides us with a first hand account of the history of the Bremond area.
This was one of thousands of life history manuscripts written by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940. The Library of Congress collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states.
"My parents were Frank and Charlotte Cabiness of Morton, Missippi, where I was born in the year 1850. Father owned a plantation in Missippi but sold it and moved to Texas in 1868, during the days of Reconstruction. He located in Falls county between the towns of Bremond and Reagan, but at that time these towns were not located and the community was called the Powers Community. Grand-father Powers came with the Sterling Robertson colony from Tennessee while Texas was still under the rule of Mexico. We settled on the Carol Powers place.
"Some of our neighbors were Tom Curry (father of Dr Hardy Curry of Marlin. ,Dr Thomas was another doctor of the community and our family physician was Dr Clark of the Blue Ridge community. We travelled by stage and the stage stand was called Tucker, so named from John Tucker who owned the stand and a little store. The Little Brazos river was about a mile west of us and some of the families who lived west of the Little Brazos were those of Gilbert Ward, William Johnson and Dr Zinnard. A couple of miles further on the Blue Ridge the families of Johnson, Robertson, Powers Beal's and Anderson's lived.About the year 1875 Henry Cowan and Jim Owens came from Tennessee and lived in the lower Blue Ridge settlement. Still farther towards what is now the Bremond settlement the Hagens family lived also the families of Dr George , whose sonEugene married a Miss Eliza Hagens, while Henry Cowan and Jim Owens and Sam Powers married Laura, Fannie, and Lizzie, sisters of Eugene Wyche. After the death of Mr Owens wife, Fannie, he married Miss Betty Robertson, a daughter of the pioneer family of Hazard Robertson who lived at the foot of Blue Ridge.
"Thus the first families of the lower Blue Ridge, intermarried as did those of the upper Ridge. Perhaps the first settler in the Bremond area was B. Combs who came in 1857. He surveyed many acres of land and owned an interest in them which had previously been merely a hunting ground for the Indians. Other first settlers of this settlement were the Keigwins, the James Campbell, Tom Jackson and Bennett families. These settlers hunted deer; wild turkeys and other wild game over the prairie which was covered with tall sage grass. The Bremond settlement was more of a prairie settlement. It is a legend that at one time Wm. Keigwin bought the town-site for a hack and a pair of horses.
"In 1869 the Houston and Texas Central railroad was built thro' this settlement and the town of Bremond was established and named for Paul Bremond, a railroad official. Thus Bremond for a time became the terminal point awaiting constuction farther north to the towns of Marlin and Waco. Ed Roberts of Bremond has a book in which his father John Roberts wrote in May 1870, Railroad has reached a point in front of my home". (This old Roberts home is one of the oldest landmarks near Bremond.
Mrs Maude Davis daughter of B. Combs, Bremonds first white settler, states that her father is authority for the information that the first old brick school house, built on the site of the present one was built to be a hotel. But when the railtoad was built the right -of- way did not come as far west as expected, so the building was too far from the town for a hotel and became a school building. Later a frame building was built in 1900, and the present school building was built in 1921. Lumber for the Roberts house was hauled from Galveston to the early recollection of some of the pioneers.
First Store in Bremond
"Mac Hearne's father or W. A. Rumple built the first store in Bremond. The late Mrs Rumple told of how Mr Rumple and another man walked to Bremond from Calvert and had two carpenters come and build this store with lumber that had been brought in by wagon train from Galveston in order to have the store ready for business by the time the railroad got to Bremond.
In the boom days when Bremond was the terminal, the two-story frame building 's rented for as high as $100.00 a month.The upper floors were divided into officesand used for business also, such as printing, etc. In the hotels the rooms were crude and the living quarters for families were often divided by cloth partitions. Few beds, some built into the walls, a few chairs, a stove and table constituted most of the furniture. There was very little space between the houses and one could almost step from one porch to another.
"Old frame buildings that sprang up during the railroad terminal days were hinged at the corners so they could be folded up and moved to the next town when the terminals moved on. Many of these buildings did move on when the road built on to Marlin and Waco. As time went on and these buildings were moved or torn down brick buildings }took their place and the brick section was where Abraham's gin now stands or nearer Watertown. The first residence section most thickly settled was in Watertown district (deriving its name from a well which became a water center, as water was scarce in those days.) On the east side of town, there was a hotel and on the west were two churches and a parsonage. Then there was built the Stevens house, the Roland house, the Baker home and on the hill the Keigwins lived, which later became the property of the Gann heirs.
"In 1871 Dr Snelling, Dr Pool, Dr Harrington looked after the health of the town. Passengers as well as freight came into the old depot in the south end of townmany years before the passenger depot was built on the present spot in the north side of Bremond. As for the town and community burial place, this notice appeared in the newspaper of the day, the "Central Texan".
Bremond Cemetery Established (1870)
Friday, August 12, 1870, was the beginning of the Bremond cemetery. "We feel it our sacred duty to call the public attention to the necessity of providing our city with a suitable graveyard. Already the dead are being interred in a spot of ground in the rear of the Union church. By what authority this acre has been appropriated to God, whereupon to build a "silent city" we are unable to learn: but we know that the manner in which the dead are buried we leave to your imagination, we call a meeting of ladies and gentlemen to meet at the Union church, Saturday, August 20th. (1870). and hope all who are interested will attend. And who are not?" A later bulletin states that a Mr. Morehead and Whitlow were among the first to be buried in Bremond.
"J. B. Adoue and J. L. Leonard operated a bank, which was not used so much since good sums were indifferently kept in trunks and other places around the premises, sometimes buried under a tree in the yard. Before the brick Baptist Church was built in 1871, travelling ministers did the preaching in down-town buildings. These buildings were also used for social gatherings, such as church suppers, dances and so forth. Mollie Bailey, of travelling show fame and her husband had a dance hall and dancing school. They always played for the dances. The people from far and near, old and young attended these dances one night and the next would attend a prayer service in the same building. Religion embraced recreation then as now.
"Referring again to the "Weekly Central Texan" newspaper, R. H. Purdon, editor of August 12, 1870, there was an advertisement of the Bremond High School with George W. Holland as principal. Mrs Holland had the first piano in Bremond and gave music lessons, and advertised her concerts with programs given by the school. This was the only piano at the time in a fifty mile radius.
Bremond Incorporates (1871)
"In 1871, the town was incorporated for the first time and Mr Whitmore was elected mayor. Sam Morehead was the postmaster. There were a number of saloons, blacksmith shops and commission merchants.The mixed train which travelled at a snails pace brought both passengers and freight. Stage coaches and wagons drawn by six or eight oxen carried commerce overland, the destination being north to Hillsboro, and as far west as Comanche County. The sound of the bells which were kept on the oxen made a musical noise. They attached these bells to the head of the animals in order that they could be found when they were turned loose to graze while on the nights camp. The oxen or horses were always turned out on the range near-by at night and did not often wander away from camp. It was not an uncommon thing for them to give warning of the Indians approach by their becoming frightened and running to the camp.
"In the January 23, 1875 issue of "The Sentinel" published by B. W. Cammer, appeared the advertisement of the school of Rev. H. M. Glass, J. N. Fairbanks dentist, John Borglund, boot and shoemaker,and A. Sheperd, manufacturer of bricks, some of which had been sold for paving the streets of Bryan, Texas. This was some thirty or forty miles to the south. When the railroad was built farther north of Bremond the 'mushroom" houses were torn down and rebuilt at the next terminus. However a few had dared to leave Main street and build their homes on the prarie.
"And so as time went on and the railroad moved north to Marlin, Waco and Dallas, more homes were built in Bremond, and scattered over the community, brick buildings and churches replaced the two story frame structures of those pioneer days and stock-raising and farming became more profitable to the new towns and community. Sixty or more years ago about a half dozen Polish families came from Poland to live near Bremond. Being well pleased with the community south of town these diligent people sent for relatives and friends until a large and prosperous community of this nationality was the result. In my next interview I will give you something of their history, the first families, their social life and so forth.
"At the time I became a man on my own responsibility there was very little farming, and so I took up the stock industry for my livelihood. I have engaged on both for over forty years but my main interest has been the selling and trading in fine horses. I made trips to Tennessee and Kentucky to buy the finest thorough-bred horses. I have paid as much as a thousand dollars for a horse. I specialized in fine horses for transportation also for saddle horses, and race horses. One of my best horses was called Alice Wilkes, and was one of the finest race horses that ever trod the race tracks. She was a Kentucky thorough-bred and I paid the sum of a thousand dollars for her. I still have the blue ribbons I received for the colts which I entered in the fairs which brought me $500.00 and $600.00 dollars. Tom Fountain, Senior, myself and Austin Robertson owned fine race horses and organized the Falls County Fair.
"Well do I recall the many times we held these Fairs! The very finest race horses were entered from all over Texas and other Southern states. It would be interesting to compare the races of today with those of the days I mention. Now the races are between the drivers of the modern race auto and the betting is on the ability of the driver. Where in our horse races the race was won or lost through the ability of the race horse. We selected our horse which we put up for the race and we stood by it, whether it won or lost. In memory I can see the old race track as my own Alice Wilkes circled around it and how we shouted and we were overcome with joy as she neared the end of the race and how we went wild when she won! In memory I can see the crowd as they selected their winner and how they shouted, threw their hats in the air and also went wild with joy over their choice coming out a winner. It was a community affair and many were the entries of our own men and boys for their race horses which they had so carefully trained, and many the times these horses won over the best race horses.
"Looking again down Memories Lane I can see the vehicles as they slowly wended their way to the Fair here the young boys who were riding their ponies, riding near their parents and cantering happily along. There down the road came the slow moving wagons filled with the large families of the day, driving the yoke of oxen There were the single young men of the neighborhood in their single seated buggy and the younger girls casting glance of envy at them. (How rich they were in their own estimation!). Still farther down the dusty road came the fine carraiges with the old negro ex-slave who used to be "Massa's coachman" driving the beautiful prancing high spirited team of fine horses to the family carriage.
"It was not all picnic's and races for the Bremond community. There were the schools and churches. I have mentioned the schools, and will try to tell you something of its first churches. During the days of the stage coaches there was a series of meetings held in the vacant store buildings and the "First Missionary Baptist Church of Christ of Bremond was organized, and the constitution was adopted in 1876.
"In 1870 Texas Baptists were disturbed over the question of the location of Baylor University at Independence as this was not centrally located, so in August of 1870 a committee of forty-seven Baptists met in Bremond to settle this question. This was the begginning of meetings held for this purpose, the last one was in June of 1875, and as a result of these and other meetings Baylor College for Women was placed at Belton and Baylor University at Waco.
Bremond Baptist Church History
"Bremond's present day Baptist Church constructed of brick was erected in 1871; the builders descendents are still living in the area. The old church bell has been faithful to ring for services, weddings, funerals and other occasions as of yore. Within its walls have been many spiritual revivals and many souls were born into Gods kingdom so the records show. The pastors home of brick was built in 1889 and during this time has been remodeled and improved. The minutes show that the church has been served by the following pastors; Harris, Boone Lee, Scruggs, Stevens, Roland, Maxwell, Sanders, Morrow, McClurkin, Whipkey, Skinner, Wharton, West, Boynton, Carlisle, Crowder, Aldredge, Darby, White, Covington, Busby, Springer, and Dollahite.
Bremond Methodist Church (1868)
"The records reveal that the Bremond Methodist Church began more than seventy years ago. A deed was issued by Frederick A. Rice, Baraham Groesbeeck, trustees as by agreement, March 22nd, 1868, in consideration of $5.00 paid by T. P. Roads, Thomas Curry, Jesse Scruggs, T. A. Crouch and Thomas Saxon, trustees of M. E. Church, South, of Bremond --- certain lots---for the purpose of causing suitable buildings to be erected thereon to be used for devotional and educational purposes.This lot apparently is the one upon which the parsonage is located. A subsequent deed from "F. A. Rice, T. W. House, trustees of March 22, 1869, for $75.00 paid by W. P. Brown, J. W. Turner, Franklin Ficklin, trustees of M. E. Church South and their successors---certain lots--- etc".
"Apparently this last deed refers to the ground which the rpesent M. E. Church now stands. Some time during the pastorate of Rev. J. W. Wardlaw, (1912-1924) the former frame church building was damaged by wind. It was torn down and a more attractive frame building was put up. In 1930 or 1931 the building was again remodeled and made smaller, as it stands, appealingly inviting amid green shrubs today. Rev. E. J. Davis is the pastor and also pastor of Kosse.
"From available church records the following pastors served the Methodist chruch atBremond: Reverneds Dimmitt, Allen, Stovall, Wootan, O. T. Hotchkiss, Cochran, Phair, Harmon, Williford, Collins (Reagan with Bremond), Chambers, Treadwell, Wagnon, Meyers, Biggs. (Kosse with Bremond).Lindsey. (Hearne with Bremond).Carr, Bremond circuit) & Garrett (Bremond and circuit)
Zimmerman (Bremond and Reagan). Sharp, DeWitt S. Hotchkiss, Ryan, Brient, Hull, and E. J. Davis(Bremond and Kosse).
Bremond Independent School District (1919)
"Bremond now is served with an Independent School District which was created by Special Act of the Leglislature in 1919 and comprises what was formerly the original Bremond Independent School District, and all the former Wootan Wells Common School District. The area of the district is 35 square miles. There are at present six public school buildings and one St Mary's Parochial School within the boundaries of the Bremond district. Thus the records show what Time has wrought between the past and the present.
"As to my own life, I married Miss Annie Ward, a daughter of Gilbert Ward, our old neighbors in the Powers community, near little Brazos on the 24th, day of December 1872. To us were born five children. They are:Frank, Mabel, Lottie, and Lillie. In 1897 I moved to the town of Reagan where I reared my family. In 1923 my wife passed away and in August of 1926 I married my wife's half sister, Clara Ward, who lives with me in the home I moved to when I came to Reagan.
Polish Immigration to Bremond
With the end of the Civil War in 1865, all slaves were freed and
manual labor was in short supply throughout the south.
In 1875, J.C. Roberts, a large plantation owner in the Bremond area, invited a Polish
family, Joseph and Kathryn Bartula to sharecrop on his plantation. The Bartulas had
lived in Austrian Poland (Brzostek, Pilzno County, in the Diocese of Tarnow) and immigrated
to Texas in 1873. From the port of Galveston, the Bartulas made their way to the east
Texas settlement of New Waverly and then to Bremond.
Meanwhile, in another town south of Bremond called Old Waverley (Walker County), the
Waverley Emigration Society was founded on September 19, 1866 to actively recruit European
laborers to work the cotton plantations. The organization meeting was held in a general
store owned by James Meyer Levy. The following year (1867), Levy went back to Poland and
visited the villages of Exin (Kcynia), Slupy, Smogulec, Szubin, and surrounding areas.
He managed to recruit several Polish emigrants who arrived at the port of New York
on April 9, 1867 aboard a ship called the SS City of Antwerp. These Polish emigrants then
traveled to the port of Galveston on the steamship called the C.W. Lord arriving on April
23, 1867 where they made their way to plantations in the New Waverley area. Many of these
emigrants eventually settled in Bremond.
This was an interesting time in Texas history. Reconstruction was ending; the
telephone was one year from invention (1877); Thomas Edison had started manufacturing
electric lights; ox-wagons were disappearing; and the Texas frontier was gone. Medical
science was improved; travel by railroad was convenient; newspapers were filled with
interesting advertisements guaranteeing restoration of health by new drugs and mineral
baths; and their was money in the country. Barbed wire was in use in the late 1870s and
farmers protected their crops and homes. They dug wells and confined their prized stock near
Joseph and Kathryn Bartula Led the Polish Settlement
Joseph Bartula Family
Interview with Mr Louis Bartula of Bremond,Texas (ancester of Joseph Bartula).
"The first Polish settler in the Bremond community was my ancestor, Joseph Bartula who was in the habit of putting down in writing all the events of historical interest, which he kept this diary up until the loss of his right hand. The following are a few of his notations;
"As a cart-wright I left my home town Pilzenski, Galacia, in 1873, and together with my wife and five children we landed at Galveston and proceeded to New Waverly, where we lived for a time and two years later we came to the community of Bremond, where we have lived since. In the course of this time we lost three sons and all the possessions we had.
"Besides my family, there was the family of F. Bojanski, in Bremond. The town was larger at that time. Soon after us came Pletrzyskoski with three daughters and a son, wife and two children. They were followed by the families of Martin Matysiak, Michael Pasket, Floryan Bachinowski, Frank Knot and Joseph Bojerowski, A Mr Matysiak was the first of these settlers to buy land. He bought fifty acres for which he paid $500..00 The first Polish child born in Bremond was my son Joseph. Four times a year we enjoyed the coming of Father Biusant, a Frenchman, who held services for us at the Roberts home. In 1877, Father Mosiewicz was appointed the pastor at Marlin, Texas, where there were some sixty Polish families living. Father Mosiewicz visited us once a month and held services in our homes. Two years later when our colony began to make rapid gains in population we built our own church.
Bremond's First 50 Polish Families
By that time we had fifty families, namely: Fr. Bojanski, Fl. Bojanski, J. Bulmanski, A. Baranski, J. Bojerewski, F. Bielanowicz. J. Balczerek, J. Cierlewski, J.Chplewiak, M. Cwikul, J. Drajus, J. Dogut, A. Grabowski, F. Golosinski, S. [Kno1/2ik?], A. Kazmierowski, A. Kreinski, F. A. Konofy, M. Matysiak, A. Miller, J. Ochydalski, M. Pieniazek, W. Piertrykowski, M. Paszyiet, K. Rybacki, F. Ruminski, B. Schepert, M. Szulo, A. Standera, J. Stachowiak, A. Strugala, J. Suchowiak, M. Surma, W. Urbanski, W. Zucholski, J. Zapapacz, J. Sadowski, F. Kempinski, A. Adamik, W. Wisniewski, M. Szturemsk, J. Kazmierowski and L. Starzewski.
Large as our congregation was we were only able to collect $115.00. It is doubtful if the building which cost us $1200.00 would have ever been built had it not been for the offer of assistance of our American friends. J. S. Roberts gave $250.00 and other large sums came from over the county. The first services in the new church were held by Father Mosiewiez on Pentecost Sunday. Soon after this Father Polulanski came to help us. During this time the Parish became divided. Then Father Mosiewicz resigned, and this state of affairs existed until the arrival of Father Litwora.
From the beginning we were so poor that we gave the pastor but little of the produce which we raised in the fields. Father Mosiewiez planted a few acres and the parish children helped him heavy were the times. But better times followed. "Today", wrote S. Nesterowicz in 1901 there are three-hundred and twenty-five families in the parish and the people have been repaid a hundred fold for their failures in the beginning".
History of the Bremond Catholic Church
The Catholic Church in Bremond Parish of St Mary's, Galveston Diocese, was established in 1876. As has been told in the beginning it was attended by Father Mosiewicz of Marlin. For some time Father Casimer Polulanski was stationed at Bremond. He was resident pastor of Parish of St Mary's Church, and in 1888, Father Peter Litwora became pastor. He was ordained in Poland, and had his trip from Europe and expenses connected with it paid by the colonist of Bremond. His brother was organist. In January 1904 Father Litwora was moved to Anderson Texas, but continued to help at Bremond.
"Following him four years later Father Francis Mohan, an [ex-?] Franciscan Czech served until June 1904; Then came the assistant from Bryan, Father Anthony Kripajtis, a Lutheran, who remained in service until his death in November, 1907; New Years eve, 1908, the present pastor, Father I. J. Szymanski was appointed. During his continued years of service, the church has wrought out a far-reaching and consecrated destiny.
"Father Szymanski came to America when a boy from Poznan, Poland. He studied in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, in the Detriot Seminary, and in the Seminary of Cincinnati Ohio. His ordination took place in Cleveland and his first appointment as pastor was in Brenham, where he remained five and a half years before coming to Bremond. Through his inspiration and the labor of the present Parish of St Mary's Church of Bremond was built, in his first year as pastor. It is a spacious and beautiful brick building, one hundred and twenty-five feet long and fifty two feet wide, a credit to his ability and a token of esteem in which he is held by his parishioners. Much of the labor and a great deal of the material was donated by the people. The old church was converted into a parochial school with an attendance of forty children when it opened.
"The year 1936 marked another forward era of leadership under Father Szymanski. the present beautiful, new pariochoil school building came into existence. The community had outgrown its earlier facilities and parishioners pledged the necessary finances. Enrollment exceeds 260 students. Father Szymanski celebrated his sacredotal jubilee in 1927 for which occasion the Most Reverend Bishop Byrne and numerous clergy were present. Five years later (1932) the pastor commemorated the silver jubilee of his pastorate in the parish another solemn occasion and much rejoicing.
"In July, 1935, Most Reverend Joseph Gavlina, Bishop of Poland's army, who visited all the Polish colinies in the state, presented Father Szymanski with a Golden Medal of Merit from the Polish nation. Father Szymanski and Father St. Przyborowski of Cestochowa were the only two in Texas to receive this recognition. St Mary's parish of Bremond has the unusual honor of having seventeen daughters of the religious life. Seven girls entered the St. Josephs Convent of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Two are members of the Incarnate Word of Shiner and eight are Sisters of the Felician Order of Chicago. Considering the large number in the parish, it is a source of wonderment that there are few, if any, mixed marriages among these people.
"As in the Polish parishes of San Antonio Diocese, many of the younger families, as the population became too thick for the limited territory, have moved to the larger cities. Many from Bremond found homes in Houston, Ft. Worth, Beaumont, and Waco, Texas. Besides the societies of exclusively religiou nature, there are in the parish the Polish National Union, under the patronage of St. Joseph and the Catholic Union, both enjoying large memberships.
Besides the custom's and practices peculiar to the Poles in the San Antonio Diocese, the parishioners still observe the "Oplatki" (wafers). This is just before Christmas, usually the organist distributes wafers resembling those used for Holy Mass, and at this distribution each parishioner gives a small offering to the organist or alter boys who bring the wafers. These are sent to relatives and friends in Europe and the latter do not forget those in America. On Christmas eve the family gathers to partake of the wafer first of all in token of continued love, mended friendship and good will to men.
"And now a word of the American school system as it stands today - under the guidance of S. Z. Hall superintendent; B.S., LLB., M.A. Mrs W. T. Whaley B.A. principal; Miss Katherine Goodwin, B.A. Adron Ming, B.A. Elizabeth Averyt, B.A. Mrs Seth Brantner, B.A. Miss Mildred Hearne, Miss Mattie Bennett, Sam Hardy, coach, and Miss Aline Collier, West End school instructor.
"The colored faculty contains Charlie Love, Principal. Mary Edwards, Oddie Shaw, Norris Betts, and Charles Giddings. John Baker serves as janitor of the system and five citizens of the district or neighboring districts own and operate busses for transportation of pupils inside the district, from neighboring districts into the Bremond High School, namely Stanley Stachowiak, Eddie Pruitt, Mr Heggie, Edwin Bienski and Cleo Bielomowicz. The board of trustees are L. V. Holbert, chairman; B. D. Troyanowski secretary, George Abraham, George Holland, Miss Lottie May Walker, Louis Bartula and John Klotz. The school system is in excellent condition and has a financial budget of around $21.000, and an increasing enrollment.
"Thus from a little log school house in the sixties and a board one in the 70's the school's of Bremond has advanced to the present Independent School District which comprises the old Bremond school District and the former Wooton Wells Common School District, an area of 35 miles. There are at present six public school buildings and one St Mary's Parochial School within the boundaries of the Bremond District. The rolls [?] 731 for 1938 -1939, with 75 transfers from eleven neighboring districts. This gives a total of 826 scholastics for which the State will pay apportionment for 1938-39.
"Bremond was recently incorporated since August 22, 1938, and the people voted to match the $90.000 W.P.A. fund with which to build a city water works and sewer system. Joe Rumple, son of the early pioneer settler was elected mayor and the alderman were George Abrahams, B. A. Trayanowski, H. C. Walker, F. J. McCall and Ray Hearn Jr. S.C Hall being City secretary and also superintendent of the Bremond Public schools. Bill Pack, a new comer, is city marshall and deputy sheriff of Robertson County.
"As before mentioned, Bremond is known for its rail terminus, its population of Anglo- American and Polish American families, its red sandy soil of the Brazos and Little Brazos, its Parish of St Mary's Catholic Church, and parochial school, Galveston Diocese and its huge congregation, mostly Polish; its fine public school system and its friendly co-operative spirit of its people.
After working as a sharecropper on the Roberts plantation for a couple of years, Joseph
Bartula saved enough money to buy 60 acres of land from Mr. Roberts (and was given an
additional 40 acres). Joseph Bartula then wrote back to his friends in Poland about the
wonderful opportunities that existed in Robertson County Texas and he was soon joined by
dozens of other Polish settlers. In 1877, Father Joseph Mosiewicz became the pastor of the
Marlin Polish community and began holding Mass at the Roberts home for the Bremond settlers.
By the fall of 1877, over fifty Polish families had settled in Bremond, enough to start
their own church. Their initial efforts at raising funds for the new church failed (most of
the farmers had spent everything they had getting to Bremond). Fortunately, the Protestants
in the area joined in the church raising efforts and a new church was dedicated on Pentecost
Sunday in 1879.
The original Bremond St. Mary's Catholic Church was completed in 1879 and stood until it's replacement in 1908.
The original church was constructed of wood and had the traditional Polish
Catholic Church steeple. The original church stood until the 1900's when a new stone church
was built in the same spot. This church was completed in 1908 and stood until its
replacement in 1971.
New Stone Cathedral Version of St. Mary's Catholic Church was Completed in 1908. This is the church I attended as a young lad.
Joseph Bartula kept an accurate diary that provides us with valuable historical information
about the early-day Bremond settlement. (3) According to Bartula's diary, the following
families made Bremond their home by 1879: J. Bartula, Fr. and Fl. Bajonski, J.Bulmanski, A.
Baranski, J. Bajerowski, F. Bielamowicz, J. Balcerek, J. Cerklewski, J. Cholewiak, M.
Cwikiel, A. Grabowski, J. Drajus, J. Fojut, F. Golasinski, S. Knapik, A. and J.
Kazmierowski, A. Krzesinski, F. and M. (widow) Knof, J. Kubiak, A. Lemanski, F.Lazina, W.
Matysiak, A. Miller, J. Ochedalski, M. Pieniazek, W. Pietrzykowski, M. Paszkiet, K.
Rybacki, F. Ruminski, E.Schepert, M. Szulc, A. Standera, J. Stachowiak, A. Strugala, J.
Suchowiak, M. Surma, W. Urbaniak, J. Zapalacz, A. Adamik, J. Sadowski, T.Kepinski, W.
Wisniewski, M. Szturemski, and L. Staszewski. This list of names was jotted down in 1894 by
1. Jacek Przygoda,"Texas Pioneers from Poland", P.11.
2. Rev. Edward J. Dworaczyk,"The First Polish Colonies of
America In Texas.
3. T. Lindsay Baker, "The Polish Texans," The University Of Texas Institute of Texan
Cultures, San Antonio. 1982.
Over the coming years, thousands of Poles settled the area, eventually making Bremond the
largest Polish community in Texas. The incoming settlers were poor but not afraid of hard
work and soon found employment as sharecroppers. Some came over as indentured servants,
pledging their labor for a period of three years in return for passage to Texas and a place
Eventually, many of the settlers managed to buy their own farms and others started their own
businesses in the thriving community of Bremond. Today, Bremond has a variety of stores,
banks, savings and loans, a cotton gin and one of the largest populations of any of the
Early-Day Postmasters of Bremond
Park, John W., 17 Nov 1869
Bartholow, J. N., 23 Sep 1870
Perkins, Wm., 12 Nov 1870
Morehead, Sanford V., 7 Mar 1871
Scott, J. R., 22 Apr 1873
Chambers, Robt. A., 22 Jly 1873
Morehead, Oba C., 20 Oct 1873
Norton, Chas. M., 3 Apr 1882
Morehead, Oba C., 9 Apr 1883
White, Mecca S., 28 Dec 1885
Morehead, Oba C., 17 Jun 1889
Curry, Thos. G., 24 Jun 1893
Morehead, Oba C., 9 Dec 1897
Morehead, Mary E., 21 May 1900
Stasky, J. J., 15 Apr 1909
Schmidt, H., 4 Aug 1909
Holbert, L. V., 15 Aug 1913
Stellbauer, R. H., 15 Dec 1920 (Acting postmaster)
Bennett, Jacob, 1 July 1921 (Acting postmaster)
Early Bremond Settlers. Photo taken around 1907. According to Connie Moore,"My great grandfather John Szubrych (born 1892)is on the far left in the picture."
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