Eastern Part of Town of Somerset, Texas In Francisco Rolen Spanish Land Grant
August 16, 2011 E Mail Message
To: Jose Barragan
Texas General Land Office
Thanks very much for giving me this information: “Now, the short
answer to your question regarding Somerset is yes; the
southwest corner of the Francisco Rolen grant includes the very eastern
portions of Somerset. According to our maps, however, most of Somerset
lies within the boundaries of a title issued to John Christopher, you
may find more about him under Bexar County, Abstract Number 154. If
you’d like to see this on a map, visit our home page (
I suspected that the Francisco Rolen Spanish Land Grant included the eastern part of
Somerset because I found an online land transaction involving the
three daughters of Gus Kurz deeding a property to the city of Somerset
in 1994 and the deed says this land was part of the Francisco Rolen
survey. I thought the tract they deeded to Somerset was the Gus Kurz
homestead land that was across the road from my father’s land, which
apparently was part of the George W. Mudd or George W. Hayden survey.
This all probably means that my grandfather’s original 640 acres
bordered the Francisco Rolen grant on the east.
Here is what I found from the Online land transaction of the three Gus Kurz
daughters to Somerset in 1994: “An online land transaction record in
Bexar county, Texas involving KLEMCKE, MARY LOU, MACY, LUCILLE BRYANT
MCCORD, BILLIE E. to the CITY OF SOMERSET on 11-21, 1994,mentions this
land is part of the Francisco Rolen survey. Perhaps the survey was
named after the Francisco Rolen grant. If this is the Gus Kurz land
it was about a mile to a mile and a half SE of Somerset. Gus Kurz was
a son of Carl Kurz who owned land to the east adjoining the 640 acres
belonging to A.M. Pyron.”
Yes, the two surveys which made up the original 640 acres of the A.M.
Pyron land show, from the Online Bexar county Clerk’s Office, that
Mudd and Hayden had the same first names, “George W.” Both surveys
involved 320 acres. The Mudd survey is Absrtact Number 514 and the
Harden survey is Number 273. The Francisco Rolen Spanish Land grant
survey number is Abstract Number 614.
The deed from the daughters of Gus Kurz to Somerset says this land is
out of Number 48 of Abstract number 617. Abstract 617 is the number for
the transfer of the Francisco Rolen Spanish Land Grant or part of it to Enoch Jones
and John W. Smith during the days of the Republic of Texas, in 1838,
which I have seen online. A land description shows
the Medina with its snake like curves at the top and a creek about two
thirds down from the Medina, which is probably Elm Creek. Enoch Jones
was a San Antonio
merchant who made some money and invested part of it in South Bexar
county land. He built
what was called a “castle” in Von Ormy. Elizabeth Jones, widow of
Enoch Jones, sold her Castle and land to Count Von Ormy. I was not
sure where the Francisco Rolen grant began at the south bank of the
Medina, but I know that the town of Somerset is southwest of the
Somerset-Road Medina River Crossing, known as Paso De Las Garzas. It
make sense that the Rolen grant might have included land to the east
of Somerset and perhaps including the eastern part of that town,
though I didn’t know exactly how wide that strip making up the grant
Here is the link to my blog article in which I mention, at the end,
the Francisco Rolen Spanish Land Grant:
I used this link to find information on the John Christopher Republic of Texas Bounty Warrant: http://www.glo.texas.gov/cf/land-grant-search/index.cfm
You must know the Abstract number to use this page to find documents on Spanish Land Grants and other early Texas land grants, including those
given by the Republic to the veterans of the Texas army.
John Christopher grantee: Thomas H. Moore patentee. Abstract number 154
Patent date Feb 10, 1860. Sold to Thomas H. Moore on 7/18/1860 1280 acres by John Christopher
Bounty Warrant Certificate From Secretary of War of the Republic of Texas, Number 3035, April 25, 1838.
John Christopher is said to have served in the Texas Army from December 1836 to April 1838.
Apparently Thomas H. Moore paid John Christopher $300 for the 1280 acres in 1860.
“Survey for Thomas H. Moore of 1280 acres of land situated about 19.5 miles SW of San Antonio, being the
quantity of land to which he is entitled by virtue of said warrant Number 3035…to John Christopher and by him transferred to the said Moore. Said survey is number 55 in Section number 2.
Beginning at a stake set for the SE corner of Survey number 53 and the NE corner of this survey from which a mesquite
six inches in diameter bears N 11 W 10 varas and a mesquite eight inches in diameter bears N 42 E 12 varas. Thence south 5088 varas to stake set for the SE corner of the survey on the west line of survey number 48, from which a black oak ten inches in diameter bears S 4 3/4 W 6 4/5 varas, and a black jack twelve inches in diameter bears N 8 W 8 varas. Thence west 1444 varas to a stake set for the SW corner of this survey, from which a post oak ten inches in diameter bears N 18 E 9 3/4 varas. Thence north 5088 varas to a stake set for the SW corner of survey Number 53…Thence east 1444 varas to the place of beginning.” The survey was done August 25, 1838.
The Spanish vara in Texas was defined as 32.908 inches. The tract appears to be a rectangle close to three miles
long north to south, and perhaps 8/10th of a mile wide east to west. The survey does not show a drawing indicating even roughly where this 1260 acres is in relation to the Medina River. It just says it is about 19.5 miles SW of San Antonio. The Texas General Land Office has maps that show where the Spanish Land grants were located and also grants of land for the veterans of the Texas Army. But I don’t how Jose Barragan knew the John Christopher grant included much of the town of Somerset. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerset,_Texas “The present site was named Somerset when the First Townsite Company was formed on the Artesian Belt Railroad right-of-way on May 25, 1909, by A. M. Pyron, Carl Kurz, and Jonas A. Kerr.” So Somerset began to exist in 1909. I think Jonas A. Kerr was guy who did the survey work on Somerset.
In “Old Somerset and the Caruthers Family,” by Beth Walker and Judy Barker, they say “Knowing the coming of the railroad would create prosperity, the First Townsite Company was organized by A.M. Pyron, Carl Kurz, Dr. R. B. Touchstone, Jim Dixon and George Caruthers. They bought the E.S. Norris farm in order to get land for the depot and laid out the Townsite of New Somerset.”
On https://gov.propertyinfo.com/tx-bexar/default.aspx I found a land transaction on 7/28/1881 in which J.T. Williams sold a tract of land of 80 acres to Eugene S. Norris out of Survey Number 53 granted to Thomas H. Moore
assignee of John Christopher. This apparently was 80 acres sold to J.T. Williams by S.R. Jordon in 1848.
I also found a land transaction in which Eugene S. Norris sold
land, to Carl Kurz for six thousand dollars. The land was two tracts “…part of Survey Number 53, granted to Thomas H. Moore assignee of John Christopher.” This survey contains 80 acres consigned to Eugene S. Norris by J. T. Williams, July 25, 1881. There was a second tract of land of 80 acres consigned to Carl Kurz out of the original John Christopher Republic of Texas Warrant Bounty for his service to the Army of the Republic. The deed handwriting is difficult and its not entirely clear whether Carl Kurz obtained the second 80 acres from Eugene S. Norris or from J.T. Williams. My guess is that Kurz bought both 80 acre tracts from Norris, supporting the report
in the writing “Old Somerset and the Caruthers Family” that the Somerset founders got the land from Eugene S. Norris.