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County
Karnes
Region
South Texas Plains
Population
2010 Census - Unknown
2000 Census - 110
Nearby
Towns
Cestohowa, Texas
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Cestohowa Texas History:
Cestohowa is the second oldest Polish settlement in Texas. Panna Maria is the oldest. In 1873, approximately 40 families from the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Panna Maria, Texas moved 5 miles north to establish their own community on Cibolo Creek. They named the community Czestochowa (later changed to Cestohowa) after the town of the same name in Poland where the famous painting of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the patroness of Polish Catholics everywhere, is enshrined. For the first few years Cestohowa citizens continued to attend most Sunday church services in Panna Maria. The Panna Maria priest came to Cestohowa to hold services once a month. When lightning struck the Panna Maria church in 1877, the residents of Cestohowa decided it was time to build their own church. Between 1887 and 1888, they built the beautiful Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church. The town had a post office from 1883 to 1918. A public school opened in 1937 and operated through the 1970s; today students attend schools in the Falls City ISD. Town life is centered on the church, a large parish hall, and a community center located in the former school building. The town’s citizens continue to maintain a close relationship with the citizens of Panna Maria. Cestohowa is located on Cibolo Creek and FM 3191, 6 miles northeast of Falls City, 1 mile west of SH 123, 6 miles northwest of Panna Maria, and 12 miles northwest of Karnes City, Texas.
 
Historic El Fuerte del Cibolo, Texas Historical Marker Text:
"Near this site (about 2.5 mi. N on Cibolo Creek) stood the 18th-century Spanish fort of El Fuerte de Santa Cruz del Cibolo, usually called El Fuerte del Cibolo or El Cibolo. Built to protect the many Spanish ranches between San Antonio and La Bahia (now Goliad), the fort was occupied first from 1734 to 1737, and again from 1771 to 1782. The land between the San Antonio River and Cibolo Creek, called "El Rincon", was part of an area deeded by the King of Spain to missions and many private individuals. The site of El Fuerte del Cibolo was part of a private ranch called El Rancho de San Bartolo which belonged to Andres Hernandez. In 1772 the Spanish government formally authorized the establishment of fifteen presidios (forts) from California to Texas. El Fuerte Del Cibolo, which had been reactivated in 1771, came under that authorization and remained an active fort until 1782. Twenty soldiers were stationed at El Fuerte del Cibolo on July 4, 1776. Some of them helped move cattle and horses from this area to the Gulf Coast, where Spanish forces under Gen. Bernardo de Galvez defeated the British during the American Revolution, thereby contributing to the winning of American independence." The marker is located near the Virgin Mary Catholic Church.
 
Historic Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, Texas Historical Marker Text:
"The second Polish colony in Karnes County, the village in this area grew out of a small settlement known as St. Joe and was formally established in 1873. At times the priest at Panna Maria would conduct services at St. Joseph School in what would become Czestochowa. The "Mother Colony" church at Panna Maria was destroyed by lightning in 1877; Czestochowa settlers decided to build their own church. This was the subject of much controversy among the Polish pioneers of Karnes County. Anton Jarzombek (1836-1922) and Frank Mutz (1814-1891) each donated land for the church. Area residents contributed their labor to build the eighty-five by forty foot church with Gervase Gabrysch (1830-1904) as contractor. Bishop Anthony D. Pellicer blessed the church on February 10, 1878. Father W. Pelczar was assigned as the first pastor that September. As a sign of their reconciliation, the parishioners from the newly rebuilt Panna Maria church presented the new parish a large painting of the Virgin Mary of Czestochowa, the Patroness of Poland. The two congregations often shared leadership in the ensuing years. The Cestohowa church (adopting the Americanized spelling of the community) thrived into the 20th century. In the 1930s the church underwent intensive additions and remodeling. Though the original walls remained, the roof was completely removed and the ceiling raised. The north and south wings were added and the steeple was increased in height. In 1998, the church celebrated its 125th anniversary. At that time, the parish consisted of 380 members. The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church continues in the traditions of its founders." The marker is located in front of the Virgin Mary Catholic Church.
 
Historic Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Cemetery, Texas Historical Marker Text:
"Jacob Lyssy (1837-1880) and John Pawlik, Jr. (1845-1912) of the Czestochowa parish each donated one acre of land to Bishop Anthony D. Pellicer of the Archdiocese of San Antonio to be used as a burial ground for the newly established Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church at Czestochowa (later spelled Cestohowa). The town also was known as St. Joe because of the St. Joseph Catholic School there. Early graves were often unmarked, or their markers were displaced. The earliest marked grave is that of Franciscus Gawlik, who died in August 1878. Spanish influenza attacked the lives of many Texans during the epidemic of 1918 to 1920. Several graves date from that period, including those of Frances Moczygemba Gawlik and three of her children, who died in the same week of March, 1920. Most grave markers were inscribed in Polish until the 1930s. Among the graves of interest are those of many persons who were instrumental in the formation of the Czestochowa parish. The Rev. Stanislaus Przyborowski (1872-1957) served the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church for 35 years and established several other Catholic churches in the area. The Rev. Edward Dworaczyk (1906-1965) was the author of many Polish history books. Of the more than 75 military veterans interred here by the year 2000, several served in the Confederate Army. Others served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. At the dawn of the 21st century there were 864 graves in this cemetery. Various caretakers and volunteer labor continued to maintain the site, which remains a chronicle of Polish American settlement in Texas." A Memorial dedicated to all Servicemen is located in the cemetery.
 
Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, 1887-1888:
The parish was founded in 1873 by 40 families from the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Panna Maria, Texas. A memorial to the 40 founding families reads, “Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic church, Czestochowa, Texas, Parish founded in 1873. This memorial honors the first forty founding families, the pastors, and parishioners, who have loved God, Mary, and neighbor all these years.” Two Texas Historical Markers are located in front of the church. 
 
Ray Sczepanik:
Ray was born in Cestohowa; he played for the famous Texas Top Hands Western Swing Band. The Texas Top Hands were inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame on May 9, 1992. The Texas Top Hands’ touring bus is located outside the Broken Spoke Restaurant and country and western dance hall in Austin, Texas. The Broken Spoke is located at 3201 South Lamar Boulevard.
 
South Texas Renegades Semi-Pro Football Team, Runge, Texas:
The team plays the South Texas Bonecrushers from Corpus Christi, the San Antonio Ravens, the San Antonio All Stars, Austin’s ATX Tigers, and San Antonio’s Alamo City Cowboys. There are many semi-pro football teams in Texas.