Antioch Pioneer Cemetery Chapel

About this Cemetery

According to information from the Antioch Cemetery Association, in 1850 a group of Pioneers associated with the Quaker Indian Mission founded the original church and cemetery at this site. Some of the earliest burials were marked only by rocks or wooden stakes, and are no longer known.

In 1873, the church reorganized as the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, a frame church was built, and the cemetery was officially established.

Over the years the congregation dwindled and by 1925, the church was closed. During this time, there was no care of the cemetery as a whole, and it was up to the individual family and friends of the deceased to care for their plots.

In 1930, The Antioch Cemetery Association, Inc. was formed and the association members cleared and repaired the cemetery. The fence and stone pillars were added in 1930, along with the cornerstone.

In 1939, the Presbytery of Topeka relinquished all rights to the church and donated the land to the Antioch Cemetery Association. The church, then in dangerous condition, was razed and a new chapel built to the scale and likeness of the original church. The sanctuary doors, pews, pulpit, stove, and gas chandelier in the chapel today were salvaged from the original church.

The Antioch Cemetery Association continues to manage and care for this beautiful cemetery today. The cemetery is still open for interments, and the chapel is used as needed.

Chart of Interments by Decade

The above chart of interments by decade was created from the the death dates recorded on the stones. This chart clearly shows trends that support the history of the cemetery as we know it. In the beginning the church and cemetery supported a small community of pioneers and therefore a small steady number of burials, culminating in a peak in the late 1890s through the early 1900s, then followed by a rapid decline. The cemetery become active again and interments increased with each decade through the 1950s. A small drop occurred with the 1960s, but once again as the population of the area grew, so did the cemetery.