Sunday, April 12, 2009

Church built of the Rock

My wife's ancestor, Jesse Caraway donated the five acres of land to build the Rock Church in Hood County Texas on the bank of the Paluxy river in 1875.

Hood County was still Indian Territory when Caraway moved there from West Tennessee. They had to build structures they could defend from attacks. They built the church building out of rocks they quarried from the nearby river.
The deed called for the church building to also be used as a school and the second floor of the building as a Masonic lodge.

For five years it was open to any Christian faith and then reverted to use of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. This was the denomination formed in 1844 in southern States to continue support for slavery. It operated until 1939 when it merged into the Methodist Episcopal Church and later was called The United Methodist Church.

In the early 1900s the community built a suspension bridge across the river to get to the church. It has since fallen onto hard times but is still standing. Jesse Caraway and his wife, Elizabeth Keathley are both buried in the church cemetery.

Know all men by these presents that I Jesse CARAWAY of the County of Hood and State of Texas for the purpose of having a church / a school house and a Masonic Lodge in my neighborhood on [the] Paluxy in Hood County [have] given / donated and conveyed and do by these presents give / donate and convey unto my neighborhood and the following named Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church South namely A. JACKSON / C.A. CRITES / Jesse V. BROOKS and their successors and to the Literary School house and Masonic Lodge the following tract or parcel of land to-wit: It being a part and parcel of the J.S. Black survey deeded to me and a part of the identical tract of land on which I now reside Beginning at a Black Jack marked XX standing N 75 E 43-5/8 varas from the South East chimney of said house Thence South 240 varas to a stake a live oak brs S 60 E 8 vrs Thence N 50 W 120 vrs a pile of rock a live oak brs N 70½ E 19½ vars Thence North 40 E 240 vrs to a plum tree marked XX thence S 50 E 120 to the place of beginning Containing five acres of land.

Now it is understood by this deed that the lower room of the house built on the above land shall be used for a Church by all Christain [sic] denominations for the period of five years from this date and after that time the Methodist Episcopal Church South is to have full control of said lower room of said house except in the matter of the Literary School which shall be controlled by the trustees appointed by the patrons of the school.

It is also understood that the upper room of the house built on said land shall be controlled by the Masonic Fraternity of that neighborhood and may be used if necessary for a literary school room.

Hereby giving and granting unto the Trustees of said house and the parties herein mentioned the above described land free from the claims of myself / my heirs or assigns forever and I the said Jesse CARAWAY do hereby warrant and defend the Title to the above land against the claims of all persons claiming the same or any part thereof.
Witness my hand and seal this May 22nd 1875


kristen said...

Are these Nate's Keathleys too?

Mark Green said...

Yes, same family.