Polish Settlers in Texas

By:Vishal Veeravelli

Push Factors

From 1795 to 1910, Poland was ruled by Austria, Prussia (Germany) and Russia. The polish people really hated the strict laws and wanted to get out of Poland and go to a place with less strict laws.The Napoleonic Wars, the partitions of Poland, and the Polish Revolution of 1830 also influenced immigration to Texas.

Pull factors

There are several reasons that the polish immigrants moved to Texas. One was that Texas had religious freedom. Another important reason is that there were war and fighting in Poland at the time and many people wan't to escape and be safe so they came to texas when there wasn't much of fighting. Land was a good reason why they came also. Finally there wasn't strict laws in Texas.

Polish Culture

Religion plays an important role in the Polish society and is deeply involved with Polish culture.Religious holidays are considered national holidays when most businesses are closed. The most important holiday is Christmas and celebrations last two and a half days. Poles practice "dzielenie oplatkiem" which is the sharing of a thin wafer with all family members. Individuals express wishes of good heath and prosperity for the coming year. This is also commonly practiced at work Christmas parties. Another religious holiday of note is All Saints’ Day which takes place on November 1st. On this day Poles visit cemeteries to honor their loved ones who have passed away.

The polish also have lots of traditions and customs when they are at parties or even just invited over for dinner. For example the host always does the first toasting, help clean up at a dinner, always bring wine and flowers for the hostess and other stuff.

Cheesecakes, sausage, and cookies are really popular. A fruited gelatin cheesecake is so popular with Poles and is known as sernik "na zimno", which literally means "cold cheesecake."

Famous Polish People in Texas

Simon Weiss was one of the Poles in Texas during the 1830s; he was living in Galveston by 1833, and served as a collector of customs under the governments of both Mexico and The Republic of Texas. Father Leopold Moczygenda , a Polish Franciscan missionary, had been working in the areas of San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Castroville since September 1852, and it was through his influence that a group of some 100 Polish families from Poland arrived in Texas. John Twohig bought the 300 acre land which became the first permanent polish settlement in Texas or even in the United States. This settlement was called Panna Maria.

Contribution of Polish to Texas

The polish did contribute in Texas. The polish help a lot in farming, blacksmith work and other stuff that can really help the economy. They pay taxes to help the government. They fund a lot because they believe in good manners and establishing good relationships with everyone. Also about 20 to 30 fought in the Texas revolution. Also they really help a lot in religious purposes because they really believe a lot in Catholicism and religious freedom. Also many polish people bought land for money which helps Texas a lot since back then it was the only valuable thing they had and also they were in a lot of debt with the United States and they needed to pay it off quickly.

Did You Know?

1. Did you know that Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Poland?

2. Did you know that in Poland, bananas are peeled from the blossom end, not from the stem end?

3. Did you know that Saint John’s Kupala is a popular holiday in which people jump over fires, a tradition that predates Christianity?

4. Did you know that in Poland the name day is considered more important than the birthday?