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Geronimo (Chiricahua: Goyaale “One Who Yawns”).
Born June 16, 1829 in New Mexico and died February 17, 1909 in Oklahoma.
Geronimo was a famous Native American Leader and medicine man of the 
Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States.

Portrait of an Apache Bride

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The Paleo-Indians lived in Texas between 9200 - 6000 B. C. and may have had links to Clovis and Folsom cultures.
The written history of Texas begins in 1519, when the region was found to be populated by various Indian tribes.  Alonso Alvarez de Pineda explored the northern Gulf Coast.   During the period of 1519 to 1865, all or parts of Texas were claimed by six countries:  Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of American, and the Confederate States of America.
At the time of the Texas Revolution, there were about 30,000 Anglo and Hispanic settlers in Texas and approximately 15,000 Plains Indians.  The settlers were armed with single shot weapons which the Comanche (In particular) had learned very well to counter. 
The North American Native Indians were the first to occupy the area now known as Bandera County.  The Lipan Apache were in the Bandera County area until the Comanche came and ran them off.  The Apache and Comanche lived off the land and raised their families in peace until the spanish and white settlers came and built homes on the land the Indians had controlled for many years and used for hunting.  Battles for control of  the Texas Indian hunting grounds continued for many years until the US Government defeated and contained the Apache and Comanche and put them on reservations.

North American Indian Chiefs

There are many stories about Indian raids and battles.  The most famous battle in Bandera County was the “Battle of 1841” in Bandera Pass.      
In 1840 Texas Ranger Captain John Coffee (Jack) Hays was appointed by President Sam Houston to recruit a company of Rangers to contain the Comanche who had made raids on the towns of Victoria and Linnville, Texas.  The Company put together by Captain Hays had many noted Indian fighters - Bigfoot Wallace, Ben Highsmith, Creed Taylor, Sam Walker, Robert Addison Gillespie, P.H. Bell, Kit Ackland, Sam Luckey, James Dunn, Tom Galberth, George Neill, and Frank Chevallier and others.


Sam Houston was the first President of the Republic of Texas  
October. 22, 1836 to December 10, 1838. 
 United States Senator from Texas from February 21, 1846 to March 18, 1859. 
The 7th Governor of Texas - December 21, 1859 to March 18, 1861.
~   ~   ~ 
 Sam Houston fought in the war of 1812 in the 7th Regiment of Infantry against the British.
After his wife left him in 1837, he lived among the Cherokee who formally adopted him as a member of their nation.  He married a Cherokee woman named Tiana Rogers Gentry.


 “Tiana Rogers Gentry”.
Portrait by Artist Qiute

  In 1841 Captain Hays and approximately fifty Rangers left San Antonio traveling to Bandera Pass.  After arriving in Bandera Pass they were surprised and attached by a large band of Comanche Warriors.   The Ranger Company was alarmed by the great number of  Comanche warriors but Captain Hays ordered his men to “Dismount and tie those horses, we can whip them.  No doubt about that”.  This was the battle where the repeating revolvers began to change the struggle against the Comanche.  The Colt six-shooters had just  been invented and Captain Hays and his men were armed with these weapons which were unknown to the Comanche.  According to records left by Captain Hays, the fierce battle started at 11 o’clock in the morning and lasted all day with both sides finally ending the conflict as night fell.
Finally the Comanches retreated and the Rangers followed.  Both sides buried their dead.  The Rangers had five men dead and many wounded, the Comanche suffered great losses.  But the fact that a small company of 50 Rangers armed with Colt six-shooters had held their ground against hundreds of Comanches, started a change in how the frontier wars would be fought and marked the turning of the tide in the war between Texas and the Comanches.




Painting of “COMANCHE CAMP ” by George Catlin in 1834

             Sigesh  - 1905                                 Comanche Chief                         Apache Chief Geronimo   
 Unmarried Apache Woman                 Bow & Quiver - Painting                             1905 Portrait
  Photo by Edward S. Curtis                By George Catlin in 1832                      By Edward S. Curtis

 ~ ~ ~


  Texas was occupied primarily by the Spaniards, French, and the Mexicans.  The first European to see Texas was Alonso Alvarez de Pineda from Spain, who led an expedition on behalf of the governor of Jamaica, Francisco de Garay, in 1519.   Pineda was searching for a passage between the Gulf of Mexico and Asia and found the Texas Coast.  Alvarez de Pineda created the first map of the northern Gulf Coast.
The first large group of European Immigration that came to Texas began in the 1830’s.   Hundreds of Germans left their country and came to North American on ships to the Texas Coast at Galveston harbor and entered Texas from Indianola.  Many German Families stayed in the Indianola area but the majority of German immigrants settled in New Braunfels and Fredericksburg, Texas.  By 1848, Indianola (also known as Indian Point) was the primary Port of Entry for European immigrants and was the largest port of entry in Texas at that time.  In 1875 a hurricane destroyed the City and Port of Indianola which was rebuilt.  But in 1886 another hurricane completely destroyed the City and Port of Indianola.  Plans were made to rebuild the city and port but were canceled as businesses moved more inland away from the coast.  Today the City and Port of Indianola no longer exists and is a ghost town.

A Small Scale Model of the Port of  Indianola as it was before the 
1886 Hurricane.  Photo by Roy Dugosh

Roy Dugosh and Elenora Dugosh Goodley standing in front of the  Statue of Rene Robert Sieur de La Salle dedicated on May 21, 1939.  The original statue of La Salle from 1928 was made of inferior concrete and over the years disappeared because of vandalism and hurricanes.
Photo by Roy Dugosh

Historical Marker placed in Indianola, Texas


     The first group to settle in Bandera County were the Mormons, led by Lyman Wight around March of 1854.  Lyman Wight was born in Fairfield Township, Herkimer County, New York, on May 9, 1796.  Wight enlisted in the United States Army during the  war of 1812 and fought in the battle of “Sackett’s Harbor”.  He converted to Mormonism and was baptized in 1826 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.  He was a pioneer Mormon leader and second Chief Justice of Gillespie County in Texas.    
About 1838, a civil War erupted between Mormons and gentiles.  Lyman Wight and Joseph Smith were in a group of fifty Mormons tried for treason and other crimes in Missouri.  However, after the trail, they were allowed to escape.  On April 8, 1841, Wight was elected to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church and was put in charge of the Mormon sawmill on Wisconsin’s Black River.  On June 27, 1844, while Wight was preaching in Massachusetts,  Joseph Smith was killed by a mob.  The successor to Joseph Smith was “Brigham Young”.  Wight refused to accept Young’s authority and claimed that Smith had told him to establish a Mormon Colony in Texas on land selected by Smith.  Wight and about 200 followers, crossed the Red River into Texas on November 10, 1845.   From 1845 to April of 1854, Wight and his Mormon Colony moved to several locations in Southwest Texas.  In September 1846 they moved to Webber’s Prairie (now Webberville) in Travis County and built a gristmill on the Colorado River which was destroyed by a flood.  In 1847 the colony re-located on the Pedernales River in Gillespie County, a community of Zodiac.  Within six weeks the Mormons had built the first sawmill in the county.  In March of 1854 Lyman Wight and his followers established a settlement known as “Mormon Camp”, now covered by water, on  Median Lake in Bexar County (Now Bandera County).  Wight preformed the first marriage in Bandera County on September 6, 1856 between his son, Levi Lamoni and Sophia Leyland.   The Mormons built a furniture factory near Median Lake in Bandera County.  They took the furniture to San Antonio and sold it.  Wight had been in charge of constructing sawmills in Wisconsin and in Texas.  It is logical to believe that Wight also helped or constructed the mill in Bandera for John James and Charles de Montel.  
In March of 1858, Wight and his Colony left Bandera County heading back to the North.  Wight died at Decker, Texas on March 31, 1858, eight miles from San Antonio, Texas.  He was buried in the Mormon cemetery at Zodiac in Gillespie County, Texas.  After his death, his followers scattered.  Three of his sons fought in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

             Lyman Wight                          Joseph  Smith Jr.
   Helped Establish Mormon Settlements                 Founder of the Latter Day Saint Movement 
                 in Missouri and Texas.                             Born, Dec. 23, 1805 - Died,  June 27, 1844

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In the early 1850”s and during the time that Poland was divided between Austria, Prussia, and Russia, it was difficult for the Polish people, especially in Upper Silesia Poland. The Silesia people remember when Poland was the country who ruled most of Europe and they did not like living under the Russian and Prussian laws.  Father Leopold Moczygemba, a Polish Silesia Priest, had come to Texas in 1851.  In early 1854, Father Leopold made the acquaintance of Mr. John Twohig who owned a considerable portion of land in the Hobson section and around the junction of the San Antonio and Cibolo rivers.  He was searching for land suitable for a Polish settlement and liked the location above the junction of the two rivers.  Father Leopold entered into a contract for land located on the plateau at a point two miles north of the junction of the two rivers.  After the contract agreement with Mr. Twohig,  Father Leopold wrote a letter to his father in Prussia (Poland) telling him to gather up large groups of Polish Silesians and come to Texas.   Sometime in September of 1854 a large group of Polish Silesia Immigrants left  Prussia and sailed to Texas on the “Bremen Bark Weser”.  They landed in Galveston, Texas on December 3, 1854.  The Polish immigrants entered Texas at Indianola and traveled north to an area  where they were met by Father Moczygemba.  They settled in an area known today as Panna Maria in Karnes County, Texas.  
In 1855, news reached Panna Maria about a Mill in Bandera that needed workers and paid wages.   The Polish immigrants were having a difficult time making money and providing for their families in Panna Maria.  There was very little food and water cost twenty-five cents a barrel.  Eleven Polish families came together and made the decision to leave Panna Maria.  They traveled to Bandera County through Castroville and Quihe, Texas.  It is not known the exact date the eleven families left Panna Maria and there are conflicting reports on when they came to Bandera County.  However, in “The First Polish Colonies of America In Texas” compiled by Polish Priest Reverend Edward J. Dworaczyk,  it is written that the organization of St. Stanislaus parish began in the latter part of 1855 (Page 101).  The Polish families built their homes, farmed, developed ranches, and helped develop and build the City and County of Bandera, Texas.  
The next group of immigrants to settle in Texas were the Irish.  Only a few Irish families came to Bandera County, but their contribution to the Bandera Community was considerable.   In the past 10 years many Mexican families have settled in Bandera County and have become productive citizens.

Bandera County - Descendants of the 1855 Polish Settlers  

The Ethnic groups in Bandera County at the present time remain mainly, German, Polish, Irish, and Mexican. The Polish community is thriving and active. The  “St. Stanislaus” Catholic Church in Bandera is the “Oldest Standing Continuously Used Polish Catholic Church in the USA”.  The St. Stanislaus Parish is the second oldest Polish Catholic Parish in the USA. 
The Oldest Polish Catholic Parish in the USA is the
“Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary”
Parish in Panna Maria, Texas. 

Historic St. Stanislaus Catholic Church 
 Constructed in 1876

Inside View of St. Stanislaus 

History page written by Elenora Dugosh Goodley

Information and Photos from:
Roy Dugosh
Elenora Dugosh Goodley
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Handbook of Texas Online.
“The First Polish Colonies of America in Texas”,
Compiled by Reverend Edward J. Dworaczyk and published by,
The Naylor Company in San Antonio, Texas - 1936


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Bandera County, Texas USA
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