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Home Texas Washington County Brenham African American Catholic Community

African American Catholic Community

  Texas Historical Markers
Brenham, TX, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 30° 19' 28.7994", -96° 12' 15.159384"
    Texas State
Historical Marker
    Believed to be the oldest African American Catholic community in Texas, this settlement traces its history to the late 1840s. The Spann families migrated to Hidalgo from South Carolina in 1848, bringing several slaves to the area. A Catholic mission was established for the new settlers and the slave families worshipped with them at a log cabin called the Holy Rosary or the Old Spann Chapel. The Old Catholic Cemetery, located near the log cabin, was the Spann family cemetery. The Spanns and the Sweeds (the slave families) are buried there, and it is still in use today. In 1888 Father Martin Francis Huhn organized a mission specifically for the African American community, conducting Mass monthly in the log chapel. A separate chapel was constructed in 1936 by Father George Elmendorf and named Sacred Heart. In 1969 a church building and community hall were constructed at Post Oak on land deeded from Spann descendants to the Sweeds. The church structure was named the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel. A new church building was completed in 1995 to serve the African American community in the Brenham area, descendants of the original Sweed families.

This page last updated: 7/15/2008

African American Catholic Community Historical Marker Location Map, Brenham, Texas