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Silesian Parishes: Holy Cross / Yorktown



Captain John York, who commanded a company of Texians during the siege of Béxar in 1835. For his services to the new Texas Republic, York was granted land on Coleto Creek, in DeWitt County. In 1846, York and Charles Eckhardt, a businessman, established a trading post on a new, shorter route between Indianola and San Antonio. Teamsters began to use this route (later known, curiously enough, as the Old Indianola Trail) to carry freight for the many immigrants arriving in the new state at the time. In early 1848, York, Eckhart, and their partners promised a lot and ten acres of land to the first ten pioneers who settled in their prospective town. Eckhardt himself contracted for the first log house, in May 1848. Unfortunately, in October, York died while defending the settlement from an attack by Native Americans. When the town was chartered on August 2, 1854, it was named Yorktown in his honor. By then, the influx of German, Bohemian, and Polish immigrants was transforming the recent wilderness into one of the most dynamic areas of Texas. In 1856, several Silesians who initially had settled in Panna Maria began migrating to DeWitt County, either in Yorktown, or the nearby Meyersville. Germans were also moving to Meyersville at this time. Within a few years, the Germans outnumbered the Poles. Because Prussia had been one of the European nations that had dominated Poland, this led to some tensions, including an argument about which lay language—Polish or German—was most appropriate for use in the Catholic Church. In 1867, Anton and Lucia Koszielsky deeded land to the Church to establish a Holy Cross Cemetery in Yorktown. On June 29, 1868, Father John Frydrychowicz, a member of the Resurrectionist mission, became the first resident pastor. He soon enlisted the parishioners to aid in the construction of a new church. The small wooden church with two towers, which Father Frydrychowicz designed, was completed by September. In time, the Meyersville Poles began to attend Mass in Yorktown, travelling a dozen miles each way to do so, and the Holy Cross Church became the heart of Polish culture for both communities.

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Then and Now

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