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County
Karnes
Region
South Texas Plains
Population
2010 Census - Unknown
2000 Census - Less Than 100
Nearby
Towns
Panna Maria, Texas
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Panna Maria Texas History:
Panna Maria was established in 1852 by Franciscan missionary Father Leopold Moczygemba who arrived in Texas to administer to German parishes in New Braunfels and Castroville. He wrote to his fellow Poles in Poland urging them to leave the harsh economic conditions and Prussian domination of Upper Silesia and join him in thriving Texas. In September 1854, Father Leopold Moczygemba met the first group of immigrants, which included four of his brothers, in San Antonio and escorted them to the Panna Maria site. Three months later they arrived at the site. On Christmas Eve he conducted mass at a makeshift altar located under the oak trees on a small hill overlooking the San Antonio River and Cibolo Creek. The immigrants spent the night under the trees with their belongings. The land belonged to John Twohig who sold 238 acres to Father Moczygemba at an inflated price. The Father set aside 25 acres for a church and divided the remainder of the land to those who could not afford to buy farmland. The Immaculate Conception Catholic Churchwas built under these now historic oaks, and was consecrated on September 29, 1856. That year the immigrants welcomed three more immigrant groups, established the St. Joseph’s School in a barn, began to replace their thatched-roof huts with stone houses, and established the Panna Maria Post Office. The settlers were plagued with snakes, malaria, grasshoppers, droughts, floods, and marauders. In frustration and anger they turned against Father Moczygemba, who left Texas and spent most of the rest of his life in the northern part of the country. He died and was buried in Detroit, Michigan. In 1974 the town had him reinterred under in Panna Maria under the historic Panna Maria Oak tree where he gave his first service in 1854. After the Civil War the railroad bypassed Panna Maria causing the town to go into a decline. President Johnson attended the celebration of the millennium of Polish Christianity and nationhood in 1966. His gift to the church was Polish artist Jan E. Krantz’s 12,000 piece mosaic of the Virgin of Czestochowa which is on permanent display in the church. Panna Maria is the oldest Polish Catholic community in the U.S. and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is the oldest Polish Church in the nation. Panna Maria is located near the junction of the San Antonio River and Cibolo Creek at the intersection of FM 81 and FM 2724, 6 miles southeast of Cestohowa,5.7 miles north of Karnes City, 5.5 miles west of Helena, and 12 miles northwest of Kenedy, Texas.
 
Historic Panna Maria, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“(Panna Maria was) settled by 100 Polish families who came to Texas to gain economic, political and religious freedom. Led by Father Leopold Moczygemba, O.F.M., Conv., they made a contract in 1854 with John Twohig, a San Antonio banker and merchant, for land at this site. The colonists, natives of Upper Silesia and Krakow, landed at Galveston after a hard voyage of nine weeks on a sailing ship. They hired Mexican carts to haul their farm implements, featherbeds, and the cross from their parish church in Poland. The 800 men, women, and children walked-- some in boots, others barefoot-- the 200 miles inland to their new home. Babies were born on the way, and some of the people died. All suffered from hunger and exposure. On Dec. 24, 1854, they reached this site. They named it Panna Maria (Virgin Mary), placing it under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception. Beneath a large oak they offered their first Midnight Mass of Thanksgiving and petition for strength and courage. They camped out until they could put up huts of mud, straw or wood, later building in stone. In spite of hardships, they founded a stable community, aided in settling other frontiers, pioneered in education, and gave Texas many patriotic, dedicated citizens.” 
 
Historic F.V. Snoga Store 1855, Texas Historical Medallion Text:
“Built in 1855; used as a storeroom for landlord’s share of Panna Maria crops. The landlord, John Twohig, a devout Catholic, set aside one room of the store for the church and school. It is has been owned and operated by the Snoga family since 1918.” The store is the oldest store in town and now houses the Panna Maria Post Office. It has a 40 person seating capacity and a large deck, and is available for private parties. (830) 780-4471. 
 
Historic V. Pilarczyk Store, 1875, Texas Historical Medallion Text:
“Built in 1875; second oldest store in Panna Maria; still has original rafters and floors. Lime for mortaring stones (visible on the back and sides) was fired in home kilns. Store was bought by victor Pilarczyk, 1913. First Gas Pump was installed in 1919.” The store now houses the Panna Maria Historical Society and Visitor Center. Open Mon, Wed & Sat, 10am-4pm; Sundays, 2pm-4pm. (830) 780-4471. 
 
Historic St. Joseph’s School, 1868, Texas Historical Medallion Text:
“Built 1868. Oldest Polish private school in America. Since 1855, classes had been held in various sites. This was the first school building in the colony at Panna Maria. Teachers lived upstairs and classes were held on the ground floor.” The building now houses the St. Joseph’s School Museum featuring exhibits depicting the life of the Polish pioneers. The museum may be visited by making a request at the visitor’s center in the Snoga Store.
 
Panna Maria Convent Bed and Breakfast:
Quarters include a living room, dining room, 4 bedrooms with double beds, 2 bedrooms with single beds, and 3 bathrooms. The B & B sleeps up to 10 people. A continental breakfast served. (830) 789-4283.
The B & B is located between the Church and the St. Joseph School Museum.
 
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.
 
Karnes County Birding:
Texas Bird Checklist with Photos
Karnes County Bird Checklist with Photos
 
Cibolo Creek:
Cibolo Creek rises at Turkey Knob, ten miles north of Boerne in southwestern Kendall County, and flows southeast for almost a 100 miles, forming the Bexar-Comal and the Bexar-Guadalupe County lines. The creek is a tributary of the San Antonio River. It crosses Wilson County to its mouth on the San Antonio River 5 miles north of Karnes City in Karnes County. Communities located along the creek include Boerne, Bulverde, Bracken, Selma, Universal City, Cibolo, La Vernia, Panna Maria, and Sutherland Springs, Texas. 
 
San Antonio River:
The 240 mile San Antonio River originates in Central Texas from a cluster of springs known as the San Antonio Springs Blue Hole. These headwaters are located approximately 4 miles north of downtown San Antonio at the University of the Incarnate Word. Olmos Creek empties into the river just below its head, and other springs continue to join as the river flows through the city. The river flows in a roughly southeastern path through Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, Goliad, Victoria and Refugio Counties before emptying into the Guadalupe River approximately 10 miles upstream from San Antonio Bay (Town of Seadrift) on the Gulf of Mexico. The most famous portion of the river is the San Antonio River Walk in San Antonio, Texas. Fish Stocking History
 
Learn to Camp at Texas Parks & Wildlife State Parks' Outdoor Family Camping Workshops:
Theseworkshops are family camping sessions designed to teach camping skills to those who do not know how to camp; everything is provided from tent to broom. Gear includes a coffee pot, dishes, cooking pots, a camp stove, a battery operated fan and lantern, air mattresses, and a tent. Basic skills taught include pitching a tent, making a campfire, cooking on a propane camp stove, geocaching and using a GPS. Wildlife viewing, fishing and kayaking are available depending on the park and its facilities. After making reservations, families will be sent a packet of information which includes a grocery list. Those interested in this program may sign up for E-Mail Updates on Currently Scheduled Workshops. (512) 389-8903. Calendar
 
Hunt Texas Online Connection:
More than 95% of Texas land is privately owned, making it hard for hunters to find affordable hunting opportunities. The Texas Parks and Wildlife has a huge public hunting program, and has developed a new service to help hunters find hunting places. This new service is provided free by the TPWD. It allows landowners to list available hunting leases or spots that have opened up, and allows hunters to find private hunting leases according to their preferences. 
                      
Hunting, Texas Parks and Wildlife, General Hunting Information
Hunting, Public Hunting on State Lands, TPWD
Hunter Education
Hunting Season by Animal
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Donations