St. Augustine Catholic Cemetery


There are about fifty markers at this small well-kept cemetery. The oldest marker is for August Smolik, who died 13 October 1918. Go west out of Hallettsville on 90-A to 77-A. Turn south on 77-A and go to the second road to the right. Drive down this road about .2 mile. The cemetery is on the left. It can be seen from 77-A. In his Lavaca County, Texas Cemeteries Sammy Tise refers to this as the Worthing Cemetery.

The following was written by Brenda Lincke Fisseler and printed in the quarterly published by the Victoria County Genealogical Society.

St. Augustine Catholic Cemetery

Four miles west of Hallettsville near the intersection of U.S Hwy 77A South and CR 169 is the community of Worthing, Texas.  During the 1860s and 1870s, ownership of the land in and around Worthing began to shift from the original Anglo-American ranchers to small farms owned and operated by German and Czech immigrants.  In 1882, Joseph Orsak established a cotton gin and in 1892 A. H Worthing became the first postmaster of the newly established post office. 

The early Czech Catholic settlers first attended church services at nearby St. Mary’s and later at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hallettsville.  The local families decided that they would like to have a neighbor church were they could worship and a cemetery where their family members could be interred. 

The St. Augustine Catholic Cemetery was formally established on October 15, 1920 when Frantiska Smolik as the administratrix of the estate of her deceased husband Vinc Smolik deeded two acres of land in the Frances Smith Survey to Right Rev. A. J. Drossarts D. D. Bishop of San Antonio for church purposes only.

Prior to the official deeding of the property, the Smoliks had donated the property so the community could build a Catholic church and establish a cemetery. (History p. 93)  The first person buried on this property was the donor Vincent Smolik who died on November 3, 1919 and was buried on November 4, 1919. 

The church and cemetery were dedicated to St. Augustine in memory of Vincent and Frantiska Smolik’s son, August, who was killed in World War I on October 13, 1918.  (History p. 93)  Private Smolik’s body was later returned to the United States and was interred in the cemetery on October 19, 1921. 

While the church was later abandoned and removed from the property in 1936, the cemetery is still active. 

In October of 1998, Bishop David Felhauer dedicated a chapel housing the then 79-year-old church bell from St. Augustine Catholic Church.  The young men of the Worthing community originally donated the 1,500-pound bell to the church in honor of St. Augustine in 1919 to call them to their duty in World War I. 

When the church was dismantled in 1936, the bell was moved to St. Anthony’s Church at Witting where it stayed until 1983 when that church was also torn down.  Local resident Blaise Konvicka Sr. kept the bell until he and his family built the chapel in the cemetery to house the bell and a statue of St. Augustine.  His wife, AnnieSmolik, dedicated the chapel in memory of Albert Smolik.

The bell is rung at every funeral in the cemetery and in November on All Souls Day. 

The cemetery currently has 59 marked graves with the last burial on April 5, 2006.

“Dedication of bell chapel held Friday at Worthing.” Hallettsville Tribune – Herald, (October 7, 1998) p. 1.
Fisseler, Brenda Lincke.  Inventory of St. Augustine Catholic Cemetery. Unp. 2006. 
“Funeral at Worthing of Private August Smolik.” Shiner Gazette, (October 20, 1921) p. 7. 
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “WORTHING, TX,” (accessed February 23, 2006).
Kubena, Lou ed..  History of St. Mary’s Parish.  Schulenburg: Schulenburg Sticker, 1990. 
Lavaca County Deed Records, Office of the County Clerk, Hallettsville, Texas. 
St. Augustine Cemetery Register 1919 – 1957.

Related Link

The Victoria Diocese searchable database includes St. Augustine Cemetery.