“ St. Ann's Church, Hochheim Prairie
The lovely rich farming land west of Yoakum
attracted tillers of the soil as early as 1836, and as the years passed, more
and more families moved into the region to share the wealth and beauty afforded
by the area around Hochheim.
About twenty-one of the families were
Catholics. The priests from Cuero came to say Mass for them occasionally. Since
there was no church, the Mass was said in the homes of John Weigelt
and Theobald Schwab at Hochheim.
Among the first families were: Jacob Poth, Frank
Peters, John Onhaiser, John Benys,
Joe Adamek, Emil Jiral, Vinc Orsak, George Braden, and
By 1906, however, the number of Catholics had
increased to the extent that it was deemed advisable to build a mission church
at Hochheim Prairie, about five miles west of Yoakum.
This church was erected at a cost of $3300 under the leadership of Father W.
Heffernan on five acres of land donated for the purpose by Jacob Poth and was dedicated to St. Ann.
St. Ann's was served by the priests from Yoakum until 1922, when
Father C. J. Benes was made the first and only
resident pastor. To prepare for the coming of their pastor, the parishioners
built a rectory at a cost of $1700 in 1921. After Father Benes'
transfer in 1932, St.
Ann's again became
a mission of Yoakum.
Twice, in 1920 and again in 1929, the church
was severely damaged by storm, but each time it was quickly repaired, and in
1930 it was enlarged and stuccoes at a cost of $8000.
A celebration was held in October 1957 to
commemorate St. Ann's 50th Anniversary. Bishop S. A. Leven celebrated the
Mass which was attended by many priests as well as parishioners. In the evening
a turkey supper was served at National Hall.
In recent years St. Ann's parishioners have further improved their church by
buying new pews, an electric organ and carpeting the Sanctuary and choir loft.
A central heating system was added in 1967.
Exceptionally good roads and other transportation
facilities enable the school children of St. Ann's Parish to attend the (St. Joseph) parochial school in Yoakum so that they may all share
the advantages of a Catholic education.
We've all heard of the little brown church in
the vale so St. Ann's should be called the 'Little White Church on the
Hill', because of its beautiful, peaceful setting atop a hill surrounded by
large shade trees.
This write up
of St. Ann's church also had a picture of Rev. Charles J. Benes with
the following write-up. 'Rev. Benes, the
first and only pastor of St.
Ann's at Hochheim,
was well known for his literary ability, having produced many translations and
some original compositions in both English and Czech. He was a constant contributor to newspapers and publications
of this time. Serving as pastor at Weimar from 1897 to 1906, he was transferred
to St. Mary's near Halletsville, then to St. Ann's at Hochheim and finally to
Nada where he died on July 5th, 1936.'
I have a copy of a page about St. Ann's church but I don't remember what book that I found it
in. It might have been a Czech Catholic history of Texas.”
St. Ann's Cemetery is
"just" on the outside of Yoakum. I have passed it many times and just
admire its beauty. The little church and cemetery are well maintained. Most
people would say "Yoakum", but... it is on Highway 111 going to
Petersville, Texas is four miles west of
Yoakum in Dewitt County.