Uncovered Texas


Holy Cross Catholic Church

In May 1847, the Catholic church established a new frontier diocese in Galveston. During the next several years, many Polish Catholic immigrants moved to Matagorda County, and priests from nearby towns visited their small community, known as St. Francisville. In the latter part of the 19th century, Louisiana Thompson Bowie was instrumental in bringing the priests to deliver Mass to area residents. Born to Anna Taliferro and Elbert A. Thompson in 1848, Louisiana grew up across Caney Creek from Harris Walker Bowie, whom she married. On April 13, 1895, while in New Orleans, she was baptized into the Catholic faith at Immaculate Conception parish. Back in Texas, at her home on the Bowie Plantation, she arranged for priests to stay with her family and traveled with them to the church in St. Francisville. Bay City became Matagorda County's seat of government in 1895, and visiting priests held Mass in the courthouse or in private homes. Monsignor Jacob B. Schnetzer became priest for the Bay City area in 1907, by which time the Bowies lived in the growing town; Schnetzer stayed in their home. In March 1907, he bought lots at Avenue M and Fifth Street to build a sanctuary for the Bay City parish. Designed by prominent Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton, the structure served the congregation for many years. As the church grew during the 20th century, it built new facilties, including a rectory, school, new sanctuary and other facilities. Today, Holy Cross Catholic Church offers worship and education programs and connects its members to their faith and to their history. (2006)

2001 Katy Ave Bay City, Texas

Matagorda County

Year Erected: 2006

Marker Type: 27" x 42"

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