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2017-02-09

A journey from Rozmierz, Poland

By Raymond V. Carter, Jr. BCHC Research Historian ©2017

Holy Water Font brought by Polish Immigrant Lawrence Ploch from Poland to Texas in 1855



I have traveled a long way from a place that many have not forgotten. After being carefully wrapped and neatly packed into a hand made trunk, I traveled from Rozmierz, Poland, known then as Upper Silesia, Germany (Prussia) along with my possessors, the Lorentz (Lawrence) Anton Ploch family, Polish (Silesian) immigrants. They had watched their friends, neighbors and family leave a year earlier for the unknown land of Texas. They timed their travel, waiting for their autumn crop production before taking the train to Bremen, Germany and the 521 miles (839km) train ride. They boarded the train in Krakow and trave led to Berlin then on to Bremen, Germany. They were hoping to make their sea voyage and have time to start their spring crops in the new land. I was placed in the cargo hole of the Weser or the Ostend at the port of Bremerhaven and awaited the start of the two months voyage to Indianola, Texas, the United States of America. Setting sail in October of 1855, the last glimpses of the old homeland faded away, never to be seen again. Approximately sixty days later and in the middle of December, the ships finally arrived at Indianola.
From there I was carried in the trunk from the ship, which was then loaded upon a wagon for the trip up the Old Indianola Trail. John A. King was contracted to survey this road in 1848 by Charles Eckhardt and others, which lead to New Braunfels and to San Antonio. Charles Eckhardt, a merchant of Indianola, and Captian John York founded the settlement of Yorktown in 1848. Over the two week trip I traveled across the coastal prairie to Victoria and on through Yorktown. The wagon crossed the Coletto Creek on the north side of what is Yorktown today ("Upper Town" as it was called then) and then made its way on up to San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas.
The Plochs first settled for a short time in San Antonio, then moved to St. Hedwig, later buying land there in January of 1856. I found a new home here for over sixteen years until February of 1872, when Martha Ploch, daughter of Lawrence A. Ploch and Francisca Emelia Mutz Ploch, married Vincent Richter (1850-1918), at which time they took me along to their new home at Stockade, Texas.
Martha and Vincent Richter lived and worked on their farm outside of Stockade, where they raised their seven children, Julius, Ralph, Joseph (Jeff), Victoria, Frank, Samuel and Barbara. In 1902 the Richter family moved to Pleasanton, Atascosa County, Texas. In 1929, Martha Ploch Richter's granddaughter, Olivia Mary Ploch, got married and I was given to her as a wedding gift, "a family heirloom." I stayed in the possession of Olivia Mary Ploch Coffman until I was passed on to her daughter, Aileen Cecelia Coffman Carter. In 1989 Aileen C. Coffman passed me on to her son Raymond V. Carter, Jr., who here recorded my history.
Notes: Grandpa Lawrence (Lorentz) Anton Ploch was born August 10, 1813 in Rozmierz (Sucha), Poland (Prussia, the German Empire) and was baptized at Sw. Michala (St. Michael), Rozmierz, Prussia (Poland). He was the son Adalbert Ploch and Susanna Radziej Ploch and married Francisca Emelia Mutz on November 24, 1839 at St. Michael in Rozrnierz. Francisca was born on October 5, 1815 and was the daughter of John Mutz and Elizabeth Dlugosz (Dugosh) Mutz.
It is the guess of the author, that my great-great-grandmother, Martha Ploch Ricther, who said that the font was hers, received it as a gift from one of her grandparents at her baptism in Upper Silesia, Germany (Bozrnierz, Poland), as she was an infant when she came to Texas. She also said her birthday was April 25, 1852, and in her death notice, my family said she was 93 at the time of her death on February 20, 1945.
Her grandparents were: Adalbert and Susanna (nee Radziej) Ploch and John and Elisabeth (nee Dlugosz/Dugosh) Mutz. Both are of Rozmierz, Poland.
Note: The children of Johann Dlagos (Dlugosz) of Rozmierz, Poland and the early Bandera settlers dropped the L and began spelling their names Dugosh.