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The first Lithuanian in Texas

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Published on Feb 17, 2012

Documentary film

THE FIRST LITHUANIANS IN TEXAS

AMONG THE MANY EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS ARRIVING IN TEXAS IN THE MID-19TH CENTURY WAS A SMALL GROUP OF LITHUANIANS WHO SETTLED IN THE YORKTOWN VICINITY OF DEWITT COUNTY. DUE TO THEIR EVENTUAL ASSIMILATION WITH THE NUMEROUS GERMAN IMMIGRANTS IN THE AREA, THE LITHUANIANS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE HISTORY OF THIS REGION WERE OVERLOOKED FOR GENERATIONS.
RECORDS REVEAL THAT THE FIRST LITHUANIAN FAMILY TO SETTLE IN THIS AREA PROBABLY WAS THAT OF DAVID AND DORA (SCHOLZE) STANCHOS. THEY ARRIVED ABOUT 1852, MAKING THEM AMONG THE EARLIEST DOCUMENTED LITHUANIAN IMMIGRANTS TO AMERICA. BY 1874 THEY WERE JOINED BY ABOUT 70 MORE IMMIGRANTS, MOST FROM THE PROVINCE OF GUMBINNEN IN WHAT WAS THEN PART OF EAST PRUSSIA. LEAVING THEIR HOMELAND FOR A VARIETY RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL REASONS, THE LITHUANIANS ARRIVED IN TEXAS PRIMARILY THROUGH THE PORTS OF GALVESTON AND INDIANOLA. ESTABLISHING FARMS IN THE AREA, THE LITHUANIANS BECAME AMERICAN CITIZENS AND CONTRIBUTED TO THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THIS AREA. MEN FROM THE COMMUNITY FOUGHT ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. A SMALL GRAVEYARD SOUTH OF YORKTOWN KNOWN AS JONISCHKIES CEMETERY CONTAINS THE INTERMENTS OF MANY OF THESE EARLY SETTLERS. (1994) The film director and cameraman Juozas Mažonas www.marinusmedia.com

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