Oberste, William H. (1899–1983)

By: Cathy Syverson

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

William H. Oberste, Catholic priest and historian, was born in New York City on April 17, 1899, and was reared in Clarksville, Arkansas. While there, he attended high school and college at the New Subiaco College in Subiaco, Arkansas, which was run by Benedictine priests. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree at St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana, and was ordained into the priesthood on June 7, 1927. He was assigned to the chancery office of the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi and served as chancellor until 1933. His first pastorate was at St. George Church in George West, Texas, in 1929. From 1933 to 1968, he held the pastorate of Our Lady of Refuge in Refugio, Texas. His improvements to the parish include renovations to the church and the addition of a new rectory, school, and convent. Our Lady of Refuge School was the first in the diocese of Corpus Christi to obtain full affiliation with the Texas Education Agency. Oberste held many diocesan posts, including diocesan consultor, dean of Refugio Deanery, and vicar general. Pope Pius XII gave him the titles of domestic prelate, and protonotary apostolic, and monsignor. During his many years in Refugio, Oberste studied the historical background of the surrounding area and the history of the Texas Irish. He thus established himself as historian and author. His books include History of Refugio Mission (1942), Our Lady Comes to Refugio (1944), Remember Goliad (1945), Texas Irish Empresarios and their Colonies (1953), Knights of Columbus in Texas (1952), and The Restless Friar (1970). He received a Texas Historical Commission award for Texas Irish Empresarios and Their Colonies. He was a member of Knights of Columbus. On June 17, 1983, Oberste died after a short illness. He is buried in the Old Refugio Catholic Cemetery.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Victoria Advocate, June 18, 1983.
  • Religion
  • Catholic

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Cathy Syverson, “Oberste, William H.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/oberste-william-h.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995