The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 382
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Texas, Father Moczygemba wrote back to his family and friends in Silesia
encouraging them to come to the Lone Star State.
Following Father Moczygemba's advice, the first group of Polish pea-
sants set out for America in September, 1854. They first traveled by train
from Silesia to the port of Bremen. At Bremen they boarded the Galveston-
bound vessel, the Weser. Sailing for about a month, the bark Weser ar-
rived on the Texas coast on December 3, 1854.4 From Galveston the Sile-
sian colonists trekked down the Gulf Coastal Plain to Indianola. From this
port town they turned inland to San Antonio. Arriving at the Alamo City
in late December, the immigrants were met by Father Moczygemba, who
had hastened from Castroville to lead them to their new settlement.
The site Father Moczygemba had selected for the Silesian colony was
about fifty-five miles southeast of San Antonio, at the confluence of the San
Antonio River and Cibolo Creek. Several months before, he had made ar-
rangements with San Antonio merchant and banker John Twohig for the
settlement of the Poles on land owned by Twohig. The proposed town site
was on a low plateau about a mile above the confluence of the two streams.
The area was rolling prairie covered in places with clumps of oak and
brush. Here, at a village they called Panna Maria, or Holy Mary, the Sile-
sian colonists founded the first Polish colony in the United States.5
The original settlers at Panna Maria, together with those coming in ad-
ditional groups during the next two years, spread out from the original set-
tlement to found other colonies and to settle in already established American
towns. Among the Silesian Polish communities thus formed were those at
Bandera, San Antonio, St. Hedwig, Meyersville, Yorktown, Czestochowa,
Kosciusko, Falls City, and White Deer.
Panna Maria's national importance comes from the fact that it served
as the drawing point for the first organized immigration of Polish peasants
to the United States. These Silesian immigrants were the forerunners of the
thousands of Polish peasants who started coming to America only a decade
Despite the regional and national importance of Panna Maria, until re-
cently there has been only limited research on its history. An exception is
the work of Dr. Andrzej Brozek, of Katowice, Poland, a historian who has
carried on extensive research concerning the European background of this
4Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung (New Braunfels, Texas), December 22, 1854.
5Dworaczyk, The First Polish Colonies, 1-4, Io; Kruszka, Historja Polska w Ameryce,
365-366; Swastek, Priest and Pioneer, 5-7.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/432/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.