Bremond Polish History
History of Polish Immigrants in Bremond, Texas
Looking back it seems that Bremond has never been shy about finding reasons to celebrate. According to J.W. Baker in his book, a history of Robertson County, Texas, “The first train arrived in Bremond on June 15, 1870. Over a thousand people joined in the celebration. The town was full of buggies, wagons, and saddled horses. Three liquor stores were open, and each had a string band to greet customers. The celebration lasted throughout the night. By morning Marshal Frank Scott had a number of drunks handcuffed around a tree.”
So how did the Poles end up in such large quantity in this place called Bremond? To answer that question, we have to go back in time to the year 1852 when a man named John Coleman Roberts came to Texas. Regarding John Roberts and his wife, Baker wrote, “they were successful in economic ventures, but their lasting contribution was more in their deeds in human kindness to downtrodden and homeless people. They provided the first home for Polish immigrants, their first place of worship, and an opportunity for their children.”
The first settler in Bremond was Joseph Bartula. Mr. Bartula became a tenant farmer on the farm of Mr. J.C. Roberts in 1875. He and his wife left Pilzenski, Galacia in 1873 in search of a better life. In 1876 Mr. Bartula began a letter writing recruiting effort. Through his efforts more Polish immigrants moved to Bremond. It is stated that 345 families were members of the Catholic Church by the year 1885. Polish families began buying property on which to raise their families. Many sacrificed greatly in World War II (and conflicts since). Some went on to be successful merchants in business of all kinds. From cafes, to saloons, to dry good stores, to butchers…. The Polish business owners made their living in town. In the rural outskirts of Bremond, agriculture was (and still is) a primary source of income for many.
On the fourth weekend in June, Bremondites gather to honor their Polish heritage with the Polski Dzien festival (Polish Day festival). Friends, family and visitors come to historic Main Street to partake in Polish food, Polish music and dancing, and games. A Polish Polka Mass is celebrated at St. Mary’s Church with Polish hymns, as they were sung in 1885. From the names in Bremond’s phone book of today to the names etched in tombstones at St. Mary’s cemetery from yesteryear, the evidence Polish heritage in Bremond is an enduring quality of this historic town.
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