History of Bremond
Shortly after the end of the Civil War, a railroad line was run from
Houston to Texarkana passing through largely unpopulated sandy lands
of what is now Robertson County.
Along this railroad route, the village of Bremond (named for the
Houston businessman that influenced the building of the Houston to
Texarkana railroad) sprang up in the late 1860's. Bremond was
founded as a cotton town but was in desperate need of manual labor
to produce and gin the cotton crops. With the end of the Civil War
in 1865, all slaves were freed and manual labor was in short supply
throughout the south.
Meanwhile, in another town south of Bremond called Old Waverley
(Walker County), the Waverley Emigration Society was founded on
September 19, 1866 to actively recruit European laborers to work the
cotton plantations. The organization meeting was held in a general
store owned by James Meyer Levy. The following year (1867), Levy
went back to Poland and visited the villages of Exin (Kcynia), Slupy,
Smogulec, Szubin, and surrounding areas.
He managed to recruit several Polish emigrants who arrived at the
port of New York on April 9, 1867 aboard a ship called the SS City
of Antwerp. These Polish emigrants then traveled to the port of
Galveston on the steamship called the C.W. Lord arriving on April
23, 1867 where they made their way to plantations in the New
Waverley area. Many of these emigrants eventually settled in
When the railroad passed through Hearne and Calvert and the town
site for Bremond was staked-off in early 1869, thousands of people
moved westward. When Bremond came into existence as a roaring boom
town and railroad terminus, settlers flocked to the place. The first
settlers in Bremond were railway workmen and merchants of all kinds
who had followed railroad construction from Houston. Within a year
after the first train, Bremond had a population of over 2000 and the
overflowing population spread into the countryside.
While the new town prospered, much of the land surrounding it was
cut into farm land and cotton growers came to be near the shipping
plant. This was an interesting time in Texas history. Reconstruction
was ending; the telephone was one year from invention (1877); Thomas
Edison had started manufacturing electric lights; ox-wagons were
disappearing; and the Texas frontier was gone. Medical science was
improved; travel by railroad was convenient; newspapers were filled
with interesting advertisements guaranteeing restoration of health
by new drugs and mineral baths; and their was money in the country.
Barbed wire was in use in the late 1870s and farmers protected their
crops and homes. They dug wells and confined their prized stock near
In 1875, J.C. Roberts, a large plantation owner in the Bremond area,
invited a Polish family, Joseph and Kathryn Bartula to sharecrop on
his plantation. (1) The Bartulas had lived in Austrian Poland (Brzostek,
Pilzno County, in the Diocese of Tarnow) and immigrated to Texas in
1873. (2) From the port of Galveston, the Bartulas made their way to
the east Texas settlement of New Waverly and then to Bremond.
After working as a sharecropper on the Roberts plantation for a
couple of years, Joseph Bartula saved enough money to buy 60 acres
of land from Mr. Roberts (and was given an additional 40 acres).
Joseph Bartula then wrote back to his friends in Poland about the
wonderful opportunities that existed in Robertson County Texas and
he was soon joined by dozens of other Polish settlers. In 1877,
Father Joseph Mosiewicz became the pastor of the Marlin Polish
community and began holding Mass at the Roberts home for the Bremond
By the fall of 1877, over fifty Polish families had settled in
Bremond, enough to start their own church. Their initial efforts at
raising funds for the new church failed (most of the farmers had
spent everything they had getting to Bremond). Fortunately, the
Protestants in the area joined in the church raising efforts and a
new church was dedicated on Pentecost Sunday in 1879. The original
church was constructed of wood and had the traditional Polish
Catholic Church steeple. The original church stood until the 1900's
when a new stone church was built in the same spot. This church was
completed in 1908 and stood until its replacement in 1971.
Joseph Bartula kept an accurate diary that provides us with valuable
historical information about the early-day Bremond settlement. (3)
According to Bartula's diary, the following families made Bremond
their home by 1879: J. Bartula, Fr. and Fl. Bajonski, J.Bulmanski,
A. Baranski, J. Bajerowski, F. Bielamowicz, J. Balcerek, J.
Cerklewski, J. Cholewiak, M. Cwikiel, A. Grabowski, J. Drajus, J.
Fojut, F. Golasinski, S. Knapik, A. and J. Kazmierowski, A.
Krzesinski, F. and M. (widow) Knof, J. Kubiak, A. Lemanski, F.Lazina,
W. Matysiak, A. Miller, J. Ochedalski, M. Pieniazek, W.
Pietrzykowski, M. Paszkiet, K. Rybacki, F. Ruminski, E.Schepert, M.
Szulc, A. Standera, J. Stachowiak, A. Strugala, J. Suchowiak, M.
Surma, W. Urbaniak, J. Zapalacz, A. Adamik, J. Sadowski, T.Kepinski,
W. Wisniewski, M. Szturemski, and L. Staszewski. This list of names
was jotted down in 1894 by Joseph Bartula.
Over the coming years, thousands of Poles settled the area,
eventually making Bremond the largest Polish community in Texas. The
incoming settlers were poor but not afraid of hard work and soon
found employment as sharecroppers. Some came over as indentured
servants, pledging their labor for a period of three years in return
for passage to Texas and a place to stay.
Eventually, many of the settlers managed to buy their own farms and
others started their own businesses in the thriving community of
Bremond. Today, Bremond has a variety of stores, banks, savings and
loans, a cotton gin and one of the largest populations of any of the
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1. Jacek Przygoda,"Texas Pioneers
from Poland", P.11.
2. Rev. Edward J. Dworaczyk,"The First Polish Colonies of America In
3. T. Lindsay Baker, "The Polish Texans," The University Of Texas
Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio. 1982.
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Bremond is located in the Brazos Valley in the
heart of Central Texas within 45 miles of Bryan/College Station,
Temple and Waco; Bremond is also within 140 miles of Austin,
Dallas/Ft.Worth and Houston.