When the first settlers came, including Jan Dziuk, at Christmas 1854, 160 years ago, this year, they came at the request of Father Leopold Moczygemba. Father Leopold said it was a wonderful place to come where they could buy lots of land and fulfill their life's dreams. They came. It was desolate. It was rattlesnake infested. Bugs, heat and literally nothing. The day they arrive, they had Christmas mass under the Oak tree where it still stands by their Church and by the re-interred remains of Father Leopold.
The people were so discouraged. They blamed Father Leopold and nearly forced him out of the town. He left and went up north to Michigan and served there. The people grumbled and were not happy. Jan Dziuk's brother, Peter, had hoped to bring his wife and family. This is known through retained correspondence. But he never came. He stayed in Gross Pluschnitz where he and his family lived as a blacksmith family and died in Gross Pluschnitz. Their mother left Koschentin and went to live there, quite possibly in the home of Jan or Peter. She, too, passed away in Gross Pluschnitz. Their sister, Catharine, my ancestor, stayed and married in Koschentin. Whether she saw her brothers and mother after their leaving for Gross Pluschnitz, I don't know. It's hard to say as it would have been a longer trip in those days than it is today.
None-the-less, Jan and his family found themselves in Panna Maria, with many other former residents of Gross Pluschnitz and surrounding villages. Did he and his family complain, too about Father Moczygemba's choice of locations? I don't know. Whether there are old documents about that, I also don't know.
So the reason for my San Antonio trip: the FGS conference. It was held in San Antonio and one of the tracks was a Polish track. This was under the direction of Ceil Jensen, my long-time Polish friend. We have worked together often, including a "discussion" or "debate" as to which was really the first Polish settlement, Panna Maria or Paris, MI. She planned their afternoon/evening activity, a bus trip for the FGS attendees to go to Panna Maria and have Bishop John W. Yanta, speak there. How could I let that happen without me being there? I had to come and although a couple of the Polish classes were of special interest to me, I decided to make my own "trip" with Jamie and join the Polish group in Panna Maria and that was what we did.
I wanted a little time there before the bus came and so we went a little ahead of them. The first stop of the day was at the cemetery to visit Jan's final resting place.
Another Dziuk,Joseph. Just an added note: I have extracted the gravestones and placed photos at the Texas Genweb site if you are interested in them. Another side comment: You will notice this cemetery is so dry and no grass is apparently growing. In San Antonio you can water only every other week because of the water shortage. I guess the Karnes county area has the same problem...so sad.
Some more old stones.
An overview of the "right" side of the cemetery. Where the older stones seem to be.
A new limestone wall is being erected around the cemetery. You can see it's beginnings already.
The last two years have made major changes in Panna Maria. Oil has been discovered. Probably the biggest oil discovery since Alaska. The people have been selling their mineral rights and after all these years are seeing the blessings that can be found here in Panna Maria. They have oil on most of the county. Even under the church. The people have been selling their mineral rights and in so doing are gaining the wealth and development that Father Moczygemba had said they would have. The settlers did not find that, but their descendants are receiving the blessings of their labors and struggles.
The house above is built in Silesian roof-line style and flys the old Polish Republic flag. The roof line is to keep the snow from remaining on the roof. This house shows new roofing and improvements from the last time I saw it 7 years ago. Maybe some of the mineral rights sales? I don't know. Happy for the people of Panna Maria!
The old Oak, the church and Father Leopold's gravesite.
The Historical Society and souvenir shop. Yes, I got a few!
The Silver Jubilee
This is part one of three parts of a LOOOONG Picture.
Part 2. The middle section.
Part 3. The right section 1929
This picture was at the Historical Society.
Here's Loretta Dziuk Niestroy. We are related, and were able to visit her in her home last time because of poor health. Glad to see she is working at the Society again.
Father Moczygemba's resting spot.
Inside front area of the church.
The inside back of the church.
Bishop Yanta talking to the conference guests.
Dziuk stained glass window in the church.
Group picture. I am taking this picture, but there are others that I am in. I just don't have them at this time. We are standing in front of the church.