Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994

,.F E.. MAR..H 1994..

Old Rock Church & Cemetery
Near Somerset, Texas.
According to the Handbook of Texas, "Somerset, in southern Bexar County on the old
Somerset Road and the San Antonio and Southwestern Railroad, was supposedly named by an
early settler, Will Simpson, for his former home, in Somerset, Kentucky. The surrounding
country produces general farm crops, fruit and vegetables; lignite coal mining just west of the
town has been abandoned. C. Kurz discovered the first oil while drilling for artesian water on
his farm. Peak production of oil was 25,000 barrels per month during the 1920's. In 1946, six
thousand barrels per month were produced, chiefly from "stripper wells." The Pioneer Oil and
Refining Company has operated a plant since 1916. In 1940 Somerset had a population of
700."
The Old Rock Baptist Church is located on a country road south of the town of
Somerset. The historical marker at the front of the church reads:
Organized as a Medina Baptist Church
in April 1857
at Mann's Crossing, near Macdona.
tij ~^c Until 1866, when members built an arbor here
,"^ ^ near old Somerset,
the services were held in homes or in a schoolhouse.
Site for meeting house and cemetery (2.5 acres here) PAX
was bought for ten dollars in 1867 by
Committeemen F.M. Avent, Elisha A. Briggs,
and W.D. Johnson
on behalf of Medina Church.
This committee also drew the plans;
Briggs, a settler from Massachusetts and a stonemason,
did much of the construction.
Worship began here in 1869
as soon as house had roof and walls -
although door and window spaces were empty
and there was no floor except bare ground.
In those early days, four ordained ministers took turns
as unpaid pastors.
Avent was clerk and sexton.
Medina Church membership was racially integrated.
Some of the Negro members lie buried in honored graves in the cemetery.
In 1892 Medina Church relocated at Bexar.
st7, Cemetery maintenance was continued here,
"Old Rock" was used at times for funerals or worship.
In 1921, after local petroleum discoveries,
Grayburg Oil Company and
some of its employees helped renovate the meetinghouse.
Congregation renamed itselffor the
Old Rock Church and
regular worship has continued here ever since.

68

STIRPES

MARCH 1994

Texas State Genealogical Society. Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994. San Antonio, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39868/. Accessed July 12, 2014.