Located in far eastern Bexar County, Saint Hedwig was settled in 1855 by immigrants from upper Silesia in Prussian Poland. Without land grants, funding or transportation provided by an empresario, establishing a community proved to be difficult for the Silesians. Charles G. Napier, a planter from Georgia, agreed to sell the immigrants about half of his plantation near the Martinez and Cibolo watersheds. The settlers quickly registered their cattle brands with the Bexar County Clerk and cleared land to build homes and a church. The settlement was officially named "Martinez" and was known by locals as "Polanderville".
The settlers were farmers and ranchers and did not own slaves. The reasons for the Civil War were not well understood by the community, and the 19 men who served only did so after conscription laws were enforced. After the Civil War, the community grew to about 40 families. African slaves, freed from nearby plantations, were welcomed into the Polish settlement where some bought land. They taught the settlers how to produce cotton.
In 1868, the Roman Catholic Poles began construction of a sandstone church and school. They were completed in 1871. Around this time, the settlement changed its name to Saint Hedwig to honor the patron saint of Silesia. The first school for the black community opened in 1877, and they established a church and cemetery quickly thereafter.
By 1890, Saint Hedwig achieved status as the largest Polish community in Texas. Through the 20th century and with the rapid growth of nearby San Antonio, Saint Hedwig maintained its rural character as a farming community. The city, incorporated in 1957, continues to evolve as an area rich in Polish-Texas culture and heritage.