The History of How New Waverly, Texas Began
As the Polish Immigrants Come to East Texas

*Written and published originally by the “Old Station Marketplace Diner”,
a restaurant owned by Martinus Hajman descendents.

New Waverly, Texas, is located thirteen miles south of Huntsville on State Highway 75 and Interstate Highway 45 in southern Walker County. The Houston and Great Northern Railroad Company founded it, after the residents of what became Old Waverly refused to grant the railroad a right of way through their community. A group of Walker County cotton planters met in a general store at Old Waverly, Texas on September 19, 1866, to discuss their problems in securing workers. Meyer Levi, a Polish Jew, who lived for many years in the South and who had various holdings in the state, owned the store.

There were twelve planters who gathered at the meeting for the purpose of recruiting laborers from Europe. The members established themselves as ‘The Waverly Emigration Society” and commissioned Meyer Levy to travel to Europe to recruit 150 “foreign laborers” to work on their lands. Each planter requested a certain number of workers with specific skills. The planters agreed to play for the passage of the immigrants to Texas and to play the men $90, $100, and $110 for their work in their work in their first, second, and third years in America. The women would receive $20 less for their labors each year. Meyer Levy agreed to go to his native Poland and recruit workers. Forty-five families totally 143 persons arrived in New York on April 9, 1867. After a short difficulty with travel funding, they then traveled by ocean from New York to Galveston, Texas.

In 1870 the Great Northern Railroad Company laid its’ tracks ten miles west of Old Waverly and set aside a town site know as Waverly Station. The new community attracted many residents of Old Waverly, and the new town’s name was soon changed to New Waverly. Because so many of the original group of Polish immigrants followed to New Waverly it was called the “Cradle of Polish Immigration” in this part of Texas. While most of the first Polish immigrants made their homes in New Waverly, many eventually migrated to the surrounding counties.

One of the first Polish immigrants and his family to travel from Europe and settle in New Waverly was Martinus Hajman AKA Martin Hyman and his wife Josephine (Josie) Kuciemba, and two of their infant children emigrated on the steamship “City of Antwerp” to New York on April 9, 1867.  Martin Hyman and his wife had nine children of which one of the boys was named Joe Hyman.  It is documented in the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church records that Joe Hyman was one of the first people to be baptized in the church.

Joe married Catherine Buckner and had ten children (five boys and five girls).  One of these boys was John Hyman. Z John married Bennie Magdalen Hyman. Magdalen Hyman married Louis Edward Klawinski on New Years' Eve 1942.  Magdalen and Louis had six children:  Louis Edward, Raymond Joseph, Mary Helen (married a Wojcik), Christine (married a Godwin), Lucille (married a Youngblood), and Helen Marie (married a West).  Louis Victor Klawinski passed away on Christmas Eve 1962 in Pasadena, Texas leaving Magdalen to raise their six children.  Louis Edward, her oldest son passed away on February 25, 1967 at the age of 20.  Magdalen departed this life to join her husband and eldest son on December 16, 1998.

All of her remaining children still live in New Waverly, Texas and all are “Charter Members” of the Waverly Emigration Society of Polish Families as “Direct Descendants of Martin and Josepha Kociemba Hajman.”  Christine Klawinski Godwin was the owner of the “Old Station Marketplace Diner” with the help of her two sisters, Helen West and Lucille Youngblood, and her brother Raymond Kawinski, and other hired help.  They used their mother’s home cooking recipies.  The diner closed in early 2004.

*Some corrections by genealogist Alan Cole Freeman, husband
of Frances Anne Hyman, a descendant of Martinus Hajman.

2004-2005 Christine Klawinski Godwin
Used by permission - Do Not Duplicate

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