The Carmelites in Stanton (1882-1901)
A Brief History:
The founding of Stanton and Martin County are directly linked to the western expansion of the railroads in bringing settlers into the vast open plains of West Texas. A small band of Carmelites were one of the earliest groups of people to settle and take advantage of the cheap land offered by the railroad.
In the summer and fall of 1882, six German friars from St. Boniface Monastery in Scipio, Kansas, under the leadership of Father Anastasius Peters, founded a new monastery at Grelton station, halfway between Fort Worth and El Paso on the Texas and Pacific Railroad. They immediately changed the settlement's name to Marienfeld (German for Mary's field) in honor of their patron. The name Marienfeld was later changed to Stanton in 1890 by popular vote.
The friars soon built a small frame monastery and church, dedicated respectively to the Most Pure Heart of Mary and St. Joseph. This was the first parish church between Fort Worth and El Paso. The
Carmelites were soon followed to West Texas by immigrant settlers, attracted by the friars' and railroads' offer of cheap land. Some of the first families at Marienfeld were relatives and friends of Father
Anastasius Peters. The Carmelites hoped to build a German Catholic Colony, the only one of its kind in West Texas. By 1886 the little German colony was thriving, but the terrible drought of 1886-1887 brought disaster to the community. Many families moved or faced starvation. The last parish priest, Carmelite Father Albert Wagner, left Stanton in 1901.