Zoar Farms is located just outside the City of Somerset, which is located in Bexar County, Texas. However, within those few miles lay the county line, and Zoar Farms is actually located in Atascosa County. We are less than 25 miles south of Downtown San Antonio, but the area is rural and agricultural. Somerset’s population was 1,740 at the 2010 census.
Somerset was named for a settlement that began in 1848, in what is now Atascosa County, by a group of Baptist families from Somerset, Kentucky. This township had been named after County Somerset in Southwest England.
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 Mr. A. M. Pyron, Mr. Carl Kurz, and Mr. Jonas A. Kerr. In 1913, while drilling for artesian water, Mr. Kurz discovered oil and a boom followed. The Somerset oilfield extended from Somerset to south of Pleasanton, Texas, and was the largest known shallow field in the world at that time. Two oil refineries in the field and a pipeline into San Antonio handled the high-gravity crude.
The town grew rapidly from fifty residents in 1925 to 700 in 1928; it was served by a state bank, a ten-room hotel, and several machine and blacksmith shops. A post office opened there in 1920. A nearby lignite coal mine also added to the booming economy of the area. During the 1920s farmers turned from cotton to dry-land fruit and vegetable farming. In 1931 the Somerset Fruit Growers Exchange building was dedicated, and between truck farming, oil, and coal, the town prospered until the mid-1930s, when diminishing oil returns and the agricultural policies of the Roosevelt Administration and the Great Depression caused a decline. In 1931 the town reported twenty businesses; by 1958 there were only eight.
As is the case of its namesake in the County of Somerset in England, agriculture is a major business in the area of Somerset, Texas, today. The farming of sheep and cattle are traditional and contemporary enterprises, but in the last two years the technique of “fracking” has turned the oil and gas industry around and made experts take a second look at domestic oil exploration in the area. Fracking is pumping millions of dollars into the south Texas economy. Just south of Zoar Farms, the area of Pleasanton seems to be a gateway of sorts to the Eagle Ford shale area. Eagle Ford is what’s driving this big boom. Thousands of people, geologists, engineers, drillers, truckers, and many related suppliers and professions, including some big names in the industry, are coming to this area: ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil and Halliburton. Through intensive negotiations, the land at Zoar Farms was able to be purchased with 100% of its mineral rights secured, so we are ready for the evolving nature of Somerset’s economy. To learn more about Hydraulic Fracturing, go here. Click Here