Nov 18 2014

A cemetery at Martinez is mentioned in Church records for the first time in 1863. Fr. Amandus, Pastor of the German Congregation in San Antonio made the entry: “On the 27 of November I buried Rev. Julian Przysiecki born on 26 January 1826 in Poland and died on the 25 of November 1863 by a fall from his horse near the Martines Church which he attended from Panna Maria, where he has his residence and Pastor of that place. Died without the last sacraments.” This entry is the first recording of a burial in the church records at Martinez. The second entry records the burial of Valentine Gorzell on October 2, 1867. A subsequent entry dated February 11, 1882 records the movement of Valentine Gorzell to the new and present cemetery. 8

The death of Fr. Julian Przysiecki in November 1863 left the Poles of Texas without a Polish-speaking priest until priests of the Congregation of the Resurrection arrived in 1866.9 These priests provided the inspiration for the community to coalesce around the building of a new stone church in1868.10 At the dedication of the cornerstone for new church on April 25, 1868 it was placed under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is at about this time that the community took the name St. Hedwig. The land for the new church and cemetery was conveyed to the Bishop of Galveston on February 7, 1871.11 

From available records it is impossible to determine the exact date when burials ceased at the mission church and began at the cemetery for the new church. It may be concluded from the burial of Father Julian Przysiecki that as early as November 25, 1863 burials were conducted at the cemetery for the mission church in St. Hedwig. From the burial and subsequent movement of Valentine Gorzell it may be concluded that as late as October 2, 1867 burials were still conducted at the cemetery for the mission church in St. Hedwig. This first mission church and its cemetery no longer exist.

UDC event

The Annunciation Cemetery is the resting place of both Union and Confederate veterans

On May 25, 1872 the church members joined with Anton Kosub, the administrator, to charter the present cemetery. The charter included an initial list of subscribers and the terms for burial. 12 

A comparison of tombstones in the cemetery with written church records reveals missing records for several deaths from 1860 through 1875.13 In the mid 1870s, with resident clergy assigned by the San Antonio Dioceses to the church at St. Hedwig, record keeping greatly improved. Since that date, church records not only note the burial of the pioneer settlers with Polish surnames, but surnames associated with ethnic Mexican, German, Irish, Alsatian and other groups. The cemetery is still in use and has recently been enlarged in order to accommodate future burials.