History of St. Mary’s Catholic Church
On February 2, 1894, the Right Reverend Nicholas A. Gallager, Bishop of the German Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Galveston purchased for $30.00 the parcel of land where St. Mary’s now stands. The seller was Cordella H. A. Baker, Executrix of the Jack Baker Estate. This parcel was out of the league of land granted to John Landrum as a Colonist in Austin’s Colony.
According to Diocesan records, St. Mary’s official name is Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Immaculate Conception, Plantersville, Texas.
Seventy families became the first parish in 1894 ministered to by Father Joseph I. Klein. Money was scarce, but the small congregation worked very hard and in a short time Mass was celebrated in the partially finished church. During Father Klein’s tenure the church was completed and two schools were constructed to educate the children of the growing farm community.
On July 30, 1894, David James Maloney was the first child baptized in the new church by Father Klein. His parents were Peter Maloney and Barbara Peters. Godparents were Edwin and Ada Felker.
The first marriage was performed by Father Klein between Joaunes Grasz of Marie’s Valley, Prussia and Leodvina Weber of Sulz, Russia on August 15, 1894.
The first confirmation group consisted of 49 members. Their confirmation service was held on October 24, 1898 in Plantersville by Tr. Rev. Bishop N. A. Gallagher. The next day he confirmed 10 more people at Spring Creek, Texas. Father Klein was the rector for both groups.
In March 1907, Father Jacob Schneitzer succeded Father Klein and for over six years St. Mary’s became a Mission church. Father George Apel was appointed as pastor on July 14, 1913 and St. Mary’s was elevated to parish status. Membership increased, societies were organized, the rectory was enlarged and many other improvements were made.
In July 1917 the church was completely destroyed by fire. The present church was errected in a very short time without incurring any debt. During Father Robert Schertz tim, the two story rectory was built and a deep water well was drilled. Father Elemendorf was present when a Delco light plant was installed in 1935. Electric lights and a butane heating system were added between 1937 and 1940. During Father Burns stay a pavilion for dancing, bazaar booths and a parking lot on the east side of the church were added. Father Gene Gillette was present when the new parish hall was built in 1992.
Religious vocations in the community were numerous over the years. Ordained into the priesthood were Father S. Claude Thorp, Father John Diehl and Father Ben Wagner. Entering into the Religious Orders for nuns were: Christina Wagner as Sister Mary Louise; Annie Mock as Sister Mary Christine; Theresa Lane, Sister Claude; Catherine Gabriel, Sister Mary Jordan; Kate McMurrough, whose Sister name is unknown; Eugenia Kowis as Sister William; Eugenia Gottselig, Sister Alberta; Elizabeth Gabriel, Sister Agnes; and from the Herzog family, Sister Ancilla, Sister Rita, Sister Anna Marie, and Sister Catherine. There was also a Thorp daughter whose name is unknown.