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Silesian Parishes: St. Peter & St. Paul Cemetery / Meyersville



Meyersville, on Twelve Mile Coleto Creek, in DeWitt County, was named for Adolph Meyer, who settled there with his sister in May 1846. Until a local store opened, the villagers had to procure their supplies in Victoria, which was twenty miles away. By 1850, Meyersville was home to some twenty families, many of them German Protestants, like the founder. They built a log house to serve as the Lutheran church and school in 1851. Peter Bluntzer, an Alsatian German who had arrived in 1846, was reportedly the village’s first Catholic, but others followed. Bluntzer initially hosted Mass in his home, but he eventually donated fifteen acres to build a church. The first Mass was celebrated in the wooden-frame Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church on November 4, 1859. After 1856, Silesians from Panna Maria began migrating to De Witt County, where they generally settled in either Meyersville or Yorktown. Although the Germans and Poles remained divided into separate communities, resulting in an “Upper” and a “Lower” Meyersville, many of the Poles attended Sts. Peter and Paul Church. Students attended a parochial school taught by one Polish-speaking and two German-speaking nuns. This led to some tension, including arguments about what lay language should be used in church. Meanwhile, in 1866, the Lutheran residents built the county’s first stone church, and named it in honor of St. John (it was replaced by a second building in 1921). After the Poles in Yorktown built a Catholic church in 1867, many Meyersville Poles preferred to attend Mass there, and travelled a dozen miles each way to do so. The Meyersville Catholics erected a new church in 1880 (which was replaced in 1939), but the congregation remained divided, leading the Poles to build their own small church about three miles to the west. In 1898, the priest in Meyersville, a Father Gerlach resigned after six years, writing to his bishop that “not being Polish himself he could not do justice to his congregation.” The little breakaway church in Meyersville was dismantled in 1947, and the salvaged lumber was used to construct a new Yorktown Catholic school. Indeed, as a Polish Parish, Meyersville no longer exists, except for the names in the St. Peter & St. Paul Cemetery. 

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