Marker location: From Columbus take IH-10 about 5 1/2 miles to FM 949, go N. about 1 mile to Frelsburg Rd. Go N. on Frelsburg Rd. about 1.6 miles to intersection, go E. to church (marker is in front of church)
Marker erected: 1982
As early as the 1830s German immigrants had begun to settle in the general vicinity of Cat Spring. They were soon joined by others who preferred this region to the various sites that had been designated formal colonization efforts. With the area's continued growth, the settlements of Bernardo (4 mi. E) and Mentz developed as early focal points of the surrounding agricultural community. The German settlers who founded Mentz named the pioneer community for an area of their homeland. Predominately Roman Catholic, they established St. Roch parish by 1858 under the leadership of priests from Frelsburg. The church developed as the religious, social and cultural center of the area. Bernardo was begun about 1845 on an important early route from Houston to inland settlements. Because of its location on the prairie land of the San Bernard River, the rural community was first known as Bernardo Prairie. Once identified by separate schools and post offices, the two settlements now share a common lifestyle and heritage, which reflect the continued influence of the early German settlers. Their descendants still live in the Mentz-Bernardo Community.
Historical Marker Dedication In Mentz
The dedication of the Official Texas Historical Marker to the Mentz-Bernardo Community will be held on Saturday, August 14, at 3 p.m. at St. Roch Catholic Church in Mentz, Colorado County. Mrs. James G. Hopkins, Chairman of the Colorado County Historical Commission will serve as master of ceremonies; Judge Lester Cranek will give the dedicatory address, and Commissioner Jerome Wicke will accept the marker for the community. All interested persons are invited to attend. A mass in honor of early settlers, their families, and friends will follow the dedication ceremony at 4 p.m.
For those with special ties to the community, a reunion will be held prior to the dedication with registration beginning at 11 a.m. A lunch will follow at 1 p.m. for those who bring food for themselves and their families. Drinks and paper goods will be furnished.
The Mentz - Bernardo community was settled primarily by German immigrants in the 1840's. Those settlers of the Roman Catholic faith established the St. Roch church by 1858. The Mentz community was originally named Neu Mainz in memory of the homeland of many of these settlers; the church was named for the Chapel of St. Roch near Bingen on the Rhine. Bernardo was first called Bernardo Prairie because it was located on prairie land of the San Bernard River.
New Ulm Enterprise, August 5, 1982, page 1
Photo courtesy Arlis Treybig
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