Nov 18 2014
On 1 October 1855 the Schuler Agency recorded a list of passengers departing the Port of Bremen for Galveston, Texas. Among the passengers were Adam Pierdolla and his wife Mariana and their family. Also on board with their children were Franz and Mary Kozub, Anton and Mary Kozub, Thomas and Agnes Krawietz, Albert and Cecilia Stanush, Valentine and Josepha Aniol, Johann and Josepha Golla, Sebastian and Marie Roswadowski, Johann and Josepha Sczodrak, Stanislaus and Franciska Palica, and Isador and Lucia Zizik. Paul Katzmarek traveled unaccompanied. Ludwig Zajac (Ziaontz), Jacob Zajac, Lawrence Ploch and Felix Tudyk had arrived earlier in 1855 with their families.
 
This group moved with studied determination, hoping to avoid the experience of the settlers of 1854. Since they took time to settle their accounts before leaving, many brought with them substantial resources including wagons, farm tools, and gold. Several were Prussian military veterans with experience in moving men and material. 
 
On January 6, 1856 they began recording land purchases in the Springer Survey: Felix Tudyk bought 200 acres, Anton and Frank Kosub together bought 160 acres, Martin Pierdolla bought 40 acres, Adam Pierdolla bought 102 acres, Paul Katzmarek, Valentine Aniol, Ludwig Ziaontz, and Jacob Ziaontz together bought 200 acres, Lawrence Ploch bought 30 acres and Joseph Mihalski bought 40 acres, for a total of 772 acres. 
 
These Silesians purchased land from, and lived among, non-Silesian residents. From the first days their neighbors included Casper and Adolph Real, James Nipper, Erastus Beall, Daniel Ross Coodey, C. R. Pittman, J. Cunningham, J. Classen, W. R. Brahan, A. G. Goodloe, E. H. Cunningham, S. H. Davis, Jesse Jones, Robert Adams, L. Walters, and others.
 
Note: Land and tax records list only individuals and families who owned land. Many of the Silesian families deferred land purchases in the area until after the Civil War. Since many new arrivals, which are listed in ship records, leased homesteads or lived with relatives, they are often difficult to assign to a specific location. Church records, journals, newspapers and brand records add to a fuller understanding of where they settled.
 
Fr. Leopold Moczygemba, who chose the site of the Karnes City location, did not approve of the settlement on the Martinez. His comments were reported in several European newspapers, “…because of the lack of water there are no good prospects for the future”. Ironically, over the remainder of the 19th century, the location prospered as additional Polish-speaking settlers relocated to Martinez from Poland and other locations in Texas. 
 
The settlers followed the farming methods they had used in Silesia. Early tax records and agricultural censuses showed the primary beast of burden was the ox. Slow, lumbering, and sturdy, when yoked together in pairs, oxen had the capacity to pull enormous weight. Oxen, however, were not well suited to the heat of Texas summers; often in the heat of the day they would pull their plow or wagon, and farmer, into the nearest pond or stream. By 1860, most of the Silesians owned horses. 
 
Bexar County Brand Records revealed the settler’s interest in raising cattle. Many possessed substantial herds by the 1860’s.
 
After the initial settlement of 1855, others Polish immigrants began to arrive and continued to arrive through the 1860s. The 1860 U. S. Federal Census for Bexar County recorded the following Polish surnames in the Martinez area: Planck (Ploch), Podola (Pierdolla), Mros, Cebus (Cibis), Anner (Aniol), Zajoc (Ziaontz), Kosup (Kozub), Menchalsky (Michalski), Lubansky (Lubianski), Prudlow (Prudl), Katemark (Kaczmarek), Stanish (Stanush), Diller (Dylla), Cravias (Kravietz), Ludwig (Tudyk), and Menskey (Miosga).
 
Additional sources, including civil, and church records, personal journals, and newspaper accounts, provide other surnames of families and individuals that arrived through 1878. These include: Golla, Gorzel, Kolonko, Kiolbassa, Mergele (Alsatian) Piosek, Sowa, Soltyczyk, Swierz, Winkler, Zygmond, Ramdzinski, Rakowski, Rozwadowski, Sczodrok, Kosielski, Sacherer, Dudek, Panek, Drysch, Latka, Musiol, Knapik, Morawietz, Singer, Palica, Dziuron, Lipok, Dubiel, Rakowitz, Kusmierz, Machula, Lyro, Sitkowski, Machnikowski, Glowacki, Pikosz, Drzymalla, Sanger, Woitena, Wanat, and Felix. 
 
Cottage Hill a small settlement in the William McMinn Nuner Survey, near the southern boundary of the Springer Survey, was developing as a way stop for Ox Carts and Horse Mail when the settlers arrived. It would figure prominently in the development of the Martinez settlement. In the earliest days of settlement, it provided a post office, stage stop and store for the area. Saltmarsh Stage Lines was the major mail contractor and purchased property for a stage stand near Cottage Hill.
 
The Silesians were Roman Catholic. Among the first buildings erected was a log church completed on the property of Ludwig Zajac (Ziaontz) in September 1857. This structure served as a place of worship when circuit-riding priests came to minister to the community. For important events such as weddings and baptisms the Silesians often preferred to travel to San Fernando church in San Antonio. Funeral services were performed in the community.