BY RUDOLPH A. WILSON, OF THE ANTIOCH LEDGER STAFF
ANTIOCH is one of the oldest towns in California, having been originally founded in 1850, the year following
the discovery of gold, and has a history in every way as interesting and romantic as any of the early settlements
in the Golden State. In the brief space allotted me it will be impossible to more than scratch the surface of things
historical, and it will be my purpose to refer only briefly to the more important and interesting items of the
early history of our beautiful little city, which gives promise in the not distant future of becoming one of the
leading interior cities in California.
During the past few years a considerable number of people have made inquiry at the Ledger office for information
concerning the name "Antioch." "How did Antioch get its name?" is the question usually asked,
though some have wanted to know the derivation of the word. For the purpose of supplying satisfactory answers to
these questions I have been asked to prepare an article that will give such information as is available. I have
found the subject intensely interesting, and am constrained to add such other data, historical and otherwise, as
have come to my notice in the course of my investigations.
Most of my readers, I dare say, are aware that the name is often mentioned in the Bible, and some at least will
recall that it was in the ancient city of Antioch the followers of the meek and lowly Nazarene were first called
"Christians." Some may not know, however, that the ancient city of Antioch in Asia was named in honor
of the tyrant king Antiochus, the arch enemy of the Maccabean Jews. The following historical sketch will furnish
such information as is now extant concerning our ancient namesake:
"Antioch, the ancient capital of the Greek kings of Syria, and long the chief city of Asia, lies in a beautiful
and fertile plain, on the left bank of the river Orontes, fourteen miles from the sea. In ancient times, by its
navigable river and its harbor, Seleucia, it had communication with all the maritime cities of the west, while
it became on the other hand an emporium for the merchandise of the east, for behind it lay the vast Syrian desert,
across which traveled the caravans from Mesopotamia and Syria. The city was erected by Seleucus Nicator about 300
B. C., and was the most splendid of sixteen cities built by him in honor of his father, Antiochus. In early times
a part stood upon an island which has now disappeared. The rest was built partly on the plain and partly on the
rugged ascent toward Mount Cassius, amid vineyards and fruit trees. The ancients called it 'Antioch the Beautiful,'
and 'The Crown of the East.' It was a favorite residence of the Seleucid princes and of the wealthy Romans, and
was famed throughout the world for its splendid luxury. Its public edifices were magnificent. The city reached
its greatest glory in the time of Antiochus the Great, and under the Roman emperors of the first three centuries.
At that time it contained 500,000 inhabitants, and vied in splendor with Rome itself. Nor did its glory fade immediately
after the founding of Constantinople; for though it then ceased to be the first city of the east, it rose into
new dignity as a Christian city. It was one of the earliest strongholds of the new faith indeed, it was here That
the name "Christian" was first used. During the, apostolic age it was the center of missionary enterprise,
and it became the seat of sank of the four patriachs. Ten councils were held here from 252 to 380 A. D. Churches
sprang up exhibiting a new style of architecture which soon became prevalent; and even Constantine spent a considerable
time here, adorning it, and strengthening its harbor, Seleucia. The downfall of the city dates from the fifth century.
In 538 it was reduced to ashes by the Persian king Chosroes, but was partly rebuilt by Justinian. The next important
event in its history was its conquest by the Saracens in the seventh century. In the ninth century it was recovered
by the Greeks under Nicephorus Phocas, but in 1084 it again fell into the hands of the Mohammedans. The Crusaders
beseiged and took it in 1098. At the close of the thirteenth century, the Sultan of Egypt seized it. At present
it forms a portion of Syria, in the province of Aleppo, and has a population of 17,500, mostly Turks, employed
in silk culture, eel fishing, and in the production of corn and oil. It exhibits almost no traces of its former
grandeur, except the ruins of the walls built by Justinian, and of the fortress erected by the Crusaders. It suffered
from an earthquake in 1872.
"Another ancient city named Antioch is situated in Pisidia, founded also by Nicator. It was declared a free
city by the Romans in the second century B. C., and made a colonia under Augustus, with the name Casarea. It was
often visited by St. Paul."
The thoughtful reader will notice several interesting points of resemblance in this description of the ancient
Antioch and our own fair city. First, note that it lay on the left bank of the river, in a fertile and beautiful
plain, fourteen miles from the sea. Next, note the reference to the rugged ascent toward the mount (substitute
Diablo for Cassius, and you will note a topographical likeness) amid vineyards and fruit trees. A close scrutiny
of a map of the locality in which the Asian city stands will reveal other striking points of resemblance. Also,
a picture of the water front of Antioch in Asia is remarkably like a corresponding view of Antioch, California,
as seen from the river. The principal difference which will occur to you is in the matter of size, in which detail
the ancient city compares better with San Francisco or Los Angeles. These resemblances, striking as they are, however,
are purely coincidences, as there is not the slightest reason for believing that they occurred to the minds of
the people who chose the name for this place, the name having been selected, as will be shown further on in this
article, by a minister of the Christian denomination, for reasons which are obvious.
Antioch is one of twelve towns in the United States bearing this name. There were thirteen, but one of the postoffices
- Antioch, Arkansas - was discontinued by the Government in 1916, its patrons now being served by a rural free
delivery route from Beebe. Believing that you will be interested to learn something of these twelve namesakes,
I have sent inquiries to them, and every one has responded, some with very interesting letters. This much may be
said now, however: Antioch, California, is the largest and most important of them all, many of the others being
little more than country postoffices. Antioch, Illinois, is the next largest, and is the only other one in which
there is a newspaper published.
Antioch was not the first name of this locality, it having been originally adjacent to a settlement known by the
more pretentious title of "New York of the Pacific," which was designed to become the metropolis of the
Pacific Coast. It was known in early times as Smith's Landing, from the Rev. W. W. Smith and his brother, Joseph
H. Smith, who were among the original settlers. In the following paragraphs we give historical sketches written
by the Rev. W. W. Smith and Captain George W. Kimball, which will be especially interesting to those who are disposed
to hark back to the early days. Captain Kimball's article follows:
"In 1848 I ran a packet between Maine and New York, and on my last trip I made up my mind to go to California,
and conceived and drew up a plan for building a ship to carry poor people like myself. It resulted in the following
agreement: 'We, the undersigned, are desirous of engaging in an enterprise on the golden shores of California,
the Paradise of America, where summer reigns perpetually; while the fertile soil is yielding its increase abundantly,
fruits growing spontaneously, fishes sporting most plentifully, and where wild game is most prolific, on the shores
of the Pacific. Our object is to settle a township, or effect a permanent settlement on the coast of California,
at some central point, in some capacious and commodious harbor, where the salubrity of the climate, the fertility
of the soil, mill privileges, timber for ship building, and other purposes, conveniences for fisheries, for coasting,
and other natural advantages, shall warrant a healthy and rapid settlement. For the accomplishment of the above
mentioned object, we appoint George W. Kimball, of Frankfort, county of Waldo, State of Maine, as our lawful agent,
to purchase or build, man and equip, a ship suitable to perform said voyage to California; said ship to be ready
for sea by the loth day of October, 1849. From two to three hundred of us will build and own a fine packet of six
hundred tons, by paying $101 each; this packet will make one voyage per annum from Maine to California, taking
out passengers, produce, etc., and returning with the exports of the Pacific. We will take our families, farming
utensils, tools for the mechanic, and apparatus for a sawmill. On our arrival the first object will be to select
a township; second, build a sawmill; erect a public depot for our families and baggage, until private dwellings
can be built. When the packet sails, a school will commence for all on board, where the art of reading, writing,
arithmetic, navigation, surveying, and such other branches of natural science will be taught as will be most needed
in the new settlement.'
"In pursuance of the above plan we went into the woods with a crew to get out timber for constructing a ship.
Robert Douglass, a carpenter, commenced laying the ship's keel about the first of April, 1849. Douglass was alone
the first week; the second week two young men joined him. The company increased until sixty five men were at work
on their own ship. On the 14th of November the ship; partly rigged, sailed for Boston. As the enterprise was a
novelty, we were freely advertised by the newspapers; merchants contributed freight, and became interested in seeing
the vessel supplied with all needed ship chandlery.
"March 4, 1850, we set sail for California, with two hundred persons on board, and arrived at San Francisco,
all well, August 24th. The cholera was in San Francisco; many were sick, and some had died. I landed in good health
the number that sailed from Boston, and three marines who swam aboard our ship in Rio Janeiro, and fourteen passengers
who came aboard at Valparaiso, making 217 men, women and children. My company soon scattered, and many went to
the mines. I sold the ship, paid my bills, and sat down to rest. About the 15th of September, Rev. W. W. Smith
came on board our ship, and invited us to go to Antioch and settle. It was then called New York Township. My brother,
S. P. Kimball, went to Antioch; several others went with him and built houses for their families east of where
my house now stands. A ship's galley was moved to a lot, near where the present brick schoolhouse now stands, and
Martha Douglass taught the first school in our settlement. After that my daughter, Adelia, taught the school. My
brother and I hired a man and cut hay on Kimball and Sherman islands. I took it to San Francisco in my scow, and
sold it for sixty dollars per ton. Mr. Smith afterwards moved away from Antioch, so that I am the first permanent
settler. I built two small wharves for receiving coal. I was the first postmaster, the first notary public, the
first justice of the peace, and the first school trustee in Antioch.
"I supposed I owned the section I lived on until 1865, as I had bought all the titles I knew of. Garcia told
me his New York ranch did not reach me, but they finally located it over my place, and covered my improvements,
and the courts said it was all right. After the New York grant took my land I bought a few parcels of land to save
some improvements, and then fled to the tule island opposite Pittsburg Landing with my stock. I spent part of two
seasons there, dairying and raising hogs. I also bought the little island opposite Antioch; from this island my
son, Edgar H. Kimball, supplies Antioch with milk."
Rev. W. W. Smith says: "We sailed from Boston harbor on the it th of January, 1849, together with my brother,
Joseph H. Smith, J. C. McMasters, and about fifty others. On the 6th day of July, 1849, we passed through the Golden
Gate, amid the cheers of the passengers, and three or four hours later came the ship 'Edward Everett,' which we
had not seen since leaving Boston harbor. As we gazed upon the shore from the ship, nothing but a city of tents
could be seen. Before leaving the vessel, the captain called us on deck to have a friendly chat before bidding
each other farewell and separating on our various ways. Arriving on shore, we found but five American families
in the city, the balance being Mexicans and Indians. We remained in San Francisco five days, when we shipped on
board the schooner 'Rialto' for the mouth of the San Joaquin River, where we arrived on the nth of July, just six
months from Boston Bay.
"Colonel J. D. Stevenson and Doctor William Parker had purchased a part of the Los Medanos grant, and had
sent up the lumber, fixtures, etc., to commence the building of a city, to be called 'New York of the Pacific.'
W. W. Smith, being a practical architect and builder, was engaged at fourteen dollars per day to take charge of
and superintend the building of a house for the two families, who, for the present, had only a tent for protection.
Mr. Beener and Antonio Mesa and family lived two miles farther up the river. Mesa's house was built of redwood
logs stood on end for the sides, and was covered with tules in bundles for a roof, with a hole in the center to
allow the smoke to escape, and contained two rooms.
"New York of the Pacific was fast becoming an inland city, and the harbor was full of vessels with men and
cargoes for the mines. At the first election, under the new constitution, in 1855, we found, on shore and on shipboard,
that we had from five hundred to eight hundred voters when all were at home. Business continued to increase, and
the New York House, conducted by the Smiths, became a popular temperance eating house, while all the others sold
liquor. When coin was scarce a pinch of gold dust paid for a drink.
"The proclamation of Governor Riley had been issued to have all needed officers elected. W. W. Smith was the
first elected alcalde of New York of the Pacific and of this newly formed district. The alcalde had charge of all
sanitary, civil, criminal, and judicial affairs in his district, with full power to appoint his officers, levy
taxes, and collect fees. The alcalde spent some two thousand dollars in time, money, and medicines, in caring for
the sick and dead, none of which was ever reimbursed, and he found the position honorary and very expensive.
"In September, 1850, W. W. Smith, hearing of the arrival of a shipload of settlers in San Francisco, hastened
down and found a number of families who wished to obtain land and settle in California. Captain George W. Kimball
and brother, Robert Douglass, four or five Hathaways, a Mr. Marshall and son, and a Mr. Dennison, came to Antioch.
which at that time was called Smith's Landing. A street was laid out running east by compass, and each family that
wished to settle upon land was presented with a lot to build on. The Pulsifer brothers then established a garden
on the point, watering the same by a simple wooden pump, fixed in the slough between the point and the mainland.
By the united work of all, a fence and ditch were completed from the tules on the west of town to the tules on
the east, in the spring of 1851, to keep the wild animals from entering the town.
"On the Fourth of July, 1851, a basket picnic was held at the residence of W. W. Smith, then standing on
the high ground near where the Antioch Ledger office now is. The all absorbing topic of the day was `What shall
we name our town?' Between thirty and forty men, women, and children had gathered from far and near. Several names
were proposed, among them 'Minton,' after a steamer that plied on the river, that she might be induced to stop
at our town. Another proposed that the name be 'Paradise,' but Deacon Pulsifer remarked that there were many claimants
to the lands in California, and they might lose their land, and then it would be 'Paradise Lost.' W. W. Smith proposed
that, inasmuch as the first settlers were disciples of Christ, and one of them had died and was buried on the land,
that it be given a Bible name in his honor, and suggested Antioch, and by united acclamation it was so christened."
The foregoing articles dispose quite thoroughly with the very early history of Antioch. Just at this juncture a
few words of explanation might not come amiss. It must be remembered that the articles quoted above were written
a good many years ago, and changes have occurred which make some of the statements not quite accurate today. For
instance, Captain Kimball speaks of those who built houses "east of where my house now stands." Captain
Kimball's house stood at that time near where Scout's Hall now stands In fact, the Griswold home, next door to
the hall, is the Captain's old house remodeled and added to, and is therefore the oldest house in Antioch, and
is said to be the oldest residence building in Contra Costa. The other buildings have all disappeared, other more
modern structures having replaced them. They were located east by compass from the Captain's house, the last one
standing not far from where the water tank is now located. Again, Captain Kimball speaks of a ship's galley being
moved to a lot where "the present brick schoolhouse now stands." The brick schoolhouse is no longer standing,
but Mrs. A. B. Schott, Captain Kimball's daughter, informs me that it stood just about where the present grammar
school building is now located. Edgar Kimball still lives in Antioch, but is no longer the official milkman. With
these exceptions, however, Captain Kimball's sketch corresponds quite closely to present day conditions.
The residence referred to in Mr. Smith's article as standing on the present location of the Ledger office is the
old frame building now standing just east of the Belshaw building, and is not the present location of the Ledger.
At the time Mr. Smith's article was written it stood on the present site of the Bank of Antioch building. The early
settler mentioned in Mr. Smith's article who had died and was buried on the land was his brother, the Rev. Joseph
H. Smith, and his earthly remains rested at that time in the old burying ground, then located about where Mrs.
Meyers now lives, on the corner of F and Tenth streets.
The Colonel J. D. Stevenson mentioned in Mr. Smith's sketch seems to have been a sort of early "Get Rich Quick
Wallingford." He is described as a rather picturesque and romantic sort of grafter by Miss Pauline Jacobson
in a series of articles dealing with the early history of San Francisco, published last year in the San Francisco
Bulletin. With Miss Jacobson's kind permission, I give a brief extract from her article, dealing with the smooth
Colonel. The reader will note that Miss Jacobson is rather unjust in her estimate of the geographical location
of New York of the Pacific; but this is undoubtedly caused by lack of accurate information as to its correct location.
Excerpts from her article follow:
"The Colonel was now a 'land commissioner.' He was clad in closely buttoned frock coat and military fatigue
cap, a fashion which clung to him till death. The Colonel could never quite live down his military past. And according
to the account of Massett (a young adventurer of argonaut days), no modern method had anything over the Colonel
when it came to disposing of real estate in his 'New York of the Pacific,' which was somewhere in the region of
the mosquito infected, malarial ridden marshes of Sacramento. The dodge was for the forfeiture of the lot if a
house was not erected in thirty days. Lumber was hardly to be had, and the houses purported to be on the way by
the Horn never came. The Colonel, upon finding that Massett had no definite object in coming to California, but
was following his bent of drifting about, suggested that he come the next day to his office, in Montgomery Street,
between Washington and Jackson.
" 'You are just the young man for me,' said the Colonel. 'You, of course, understand drawing deeds, mortgages,
etc.; in fact, the general routine of a lawyer's office. You've been in a good school, and I think we can get along
very well together. I have just purchased a tract of land - am going to build a new city - a second New York, sir!
I'll make you alcalde, sir! Notary public, sir! Mayor of the city, sir! Come and breakfast with me, sir, tomorrow.'
" 'At what time, Colonel ?' asked Massett.
" 'At six o'clock, sir - always rise with the lark,' replied the Colonel. `There's nothing like getting up
early, sir - business man, sir. Go to bed early - keep steady - don't drink, and your fortune's made in no time!'
"The next day, bright and early, Massett went to his office. The walls were adorned with large maps, most
gorgeously got up. . . . On the outside the people were informed that that was 'J. D. Stevenson's Land Office and
Agency of Lots in New York of the Pacific."
Colonel Stevenson's dream of a second New York at this point has not yet been realized, though it is hardly too
much to say that in a measure it may be yet, for Antioch and Pittsburg are now growing by leaps and bounds, and
will ere long be manufacturing and shipping centers of no mean proportions. It is quite evident that the Colonel's
first thought was to make money out of real estate speculation, and it is hardly likely that the future greatness
of his city in reality gave him any serious concern. It is also evident, however, in the light of present conditions,
that he chose better than he knew. It is certain that if he could live again and see the scene of his activities
of those early days, he would observe many things that would cause him the utmost astonishment. It must be remembered
that he never saw a telephone, a phonograph, an electric car or motor, or an automobile. In fact, the railroad
trains of his day were few and far between, and, compared with the palatial systems with which we are all so familiar,
were crude and clumsy affairs. The past sixty years have been years of tremendous progress, and the New York City
of 1850 actually compared quite poorly in all save size with the Antioch and Pittsburg of 1917.
Of the original settlers of Antioch only two are living here today - Edgar H. Kimball and Mrs. Adelia B. Schott,
son and daughter of Captain Kimball, who have many interesting reminiscences to relate of life in Antioch as it
was in the days of the argonauts. Of the buildings which housed these original families, none are now standing
intact, though one, the house now occupied by G. C. Griswold and family, next door to Scout's Hall, is composed
for the most part of the material contained in the original residence of Captain Kimball, some of this material
having been brought from Maine on the initial voyage of the Captain's good ship.
About the year 1859 coal was discovered in several places in the hills south of Antioch and formed the first substantial
industry aside from farming and dairying of the inhabitants of this locality. This new industry resulted in the
founding of the towns of Somersville, Nortonville, and Black Diamond (now Pittsburg), and added greatly to the
importance and prosperity of Antioch. The Empire Coal Company was formed in 1876 by John C. Rouse and George Hawxhurst,
and a railroad built, which passed out of Antioch toward the mines over what is now F (formerly Kimball) Street.
The mine and railroad later passed into the hands of the Belshaw brothers. The mine has long since ceased operation
and the railroad track has been taken up, though the building which served as the Antioch terminus of the road
still stands on the corner of F and Fourth streets, and the grading, trestles, etc., still remain much as they
were in these early days.
In 1863 a great excitement arose over the discovery of copper near Antioch. Smelting works were erected at Antioch,
and from fifteen dollars to twenty five dollars per ton was paid for ore, according to its richness. The bubble
eventually burst, to the discomfiture of all concerned. Petroleum was first bored for near Antioch in 1865, but
oil in paying quantities could not be obtained.
So much for the early days of the town. Antioch was ideally located and grew, developed and prospered much as many
other communities of that period, and in due time churches, fraternal societies, and business enterprises were
founded, many of which remain with us to the present. Mention of the principal ones will be made as we pass along.
The Antioch Ledger was first issued on March 10, 1870, and in all its forty seven years never missed an issue.
A copy of its first number has been framed and hangs over the desk of the present editor. It is five by eight inches
in size, printed on one side only, and its sole news item is a report and editorial comment on a woman's suffrage
meeting which had just been held in the town. This paper was founded by James W. E. Townsend and Harry Waite, and
conducted by them jointly until August, 1870, when Townsend became the sole proprietor. Townsend was a prolific
and versatile writer, and had the reputation of having established more newspapers than any other man in California.
He was a man of strong personality and captivating manner, and a raconteur of rare ability. So numerous and so
wonderful were the anecdotes with which he used to regal his listeners, it is said that they earned for him the
sobriquet of "Lying Jim" Townsend. Paradoxical though it may sound, in some of the works of Bret Harte
he is referred to as "Truthful James." Whether this was satire or an indication of reformation on Townsend's
part cannot be definitely stated now, but it is certain that many of the stories immortalized in the works of Bret
Harte, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), and other Western writers of that period actually originated in the fertile
brain of Townsend, for he was an intimate friend and associate of these writers.
In December, 1870, J. P. Abbott succeeded Townsend as editor and proprietor of the Ledger, and during the eleven
years it was conducted by this able journalist it was an important factor in State and county politics. After some
years Abbott sold the paper to Charles F. Montgomery, who changed its politics from Republican to Democratic. He
was also an able and aggressive writer and took an active part in political matters. Upon his death the management
of the Ledger was taken up by his son, Curtis F. Montgomery, who remained in charge until April 1, 1905, when the
paper was purchased by C. G. McDaniel, the present owner, who changed its politics back to Republican.
In both its news and editorial columns the Ledger has always been progressive but conservative, and has been an
important factor in the development of Antioch and its vicinity, enjoying the friendship and respect of all, even
of those who may not altogether agree with its political policies.
Antioch's pioneer church, the First Congregational, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in September, 1915, with
elaborate exercises, reported in detail in the Ledger of subsequent date. It seems that a church had been founded
prior to 1865 by a young man named Morgan, but was short lived, and it was revived at this time and absorbed by
this Congregational church, which has had a continuous existence from 1865 to the present. A Sunday school, founded
by Miss Adelia Kimball (Mrs. A. B. Schott), was later conducted by the Misses Drusilla Boobar and Annie Morrison
(Mrs. Joseph Galloway) prior to the church organization. This school met in the town hall, which then stood about
where the Kelley undertaking parlor is now located. The Congregational church, however, was the first permanent
religious enterprise established in Antioch. Briefly, the details of its formation are as follows: On June 12,
1865, a meeting of those interested was held in the schoolhouse for the purpose of forming a church. Captain G.
W. Kimball acted as chairman and the Rev. J. H. Warren as secretary. A constitution was adopted which, with slight
changes and amendments, is still in force after more than a half century. As nearly as can be determined the charter
membership consisted of the following persons: Mrs. R. H. Aldon, Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Barrett, Mrs. M. H. Boothby,
G. W. Brown, G. C. Carmen, Miss Ida Fuller, Isaac Hardy, G. W. Kimball, Mrs. J. C. O'Brien, Almon Walton, and S.
S. Woodruff. The first permanent board of trustees consisted of Joseph Galloway, David Woodruff, G. W. Brown, Captain
G. W. Kimball, and William Utter. From this parent organization have sprung the other Protestant denominations
- first, the Advent Christian, later the Methodist Episcopal, and, last of all, the Church of Christ, Scientist.
The Congregational society owns the beautiful church and grounds on the corner of Sixth and F streets, also the
parsonage next door.
The Catholic church has been one of the most important religious institutions of Antioch for the past forty five
years, and the circumstances regarding its institution and development are briefly as follows: In 1872 the Rev.
Father Vincent Vinzes, of Benicia, was called to the Empire Mine, then being operated about six miles south of
Antioch, to attend one of the miners who had been seriously injured. Taking advantage of the occasion, Father Vinzes
called the men of the Catholic faith together and celebrated mass in the home of John Mulhare, located a short
distance southwest of Antioch, near where the high school now stands. Then for more than a year regular services
were held at the Mulhare home. In 1873 the "old" church was built on the block between G and H streets,
on Seventh, this land being donated by Captain George W. Kimball and a Spanish gentleman whose name could not be
obtained by this writer. This building is still standing, and is used as a hall for lodge meetings and other secular
purposes. In 1875 Father Patrick Calahan came to Antioch and became the first resident Priest, and in 188o the
rectory was built for his residence. Father Calahan died in 1902, and was succeeded by Father Antone Riley, and
it was during his ministry, in 1905, that the beautiful new church was erected, on the church property adjoining
the old structure. This building is of white sandstone brick, Romanesque in architecture, and is one of the most
beautiful church buildings in Contra Costa County. The cost was over $25,000. Altogether the church property is
valued at about $40,000, and the location is one of the most attractive in Antioch. Father Riley left Antioch,
and was succeeded by Father J. G. Rourke, formerly of St. Dominic's Church, San Francisco, in 1912, and shortly
afterward Father Rourke was joined by Father E. Lawrence, who came from Benicia to act as his assistant. These
priests are still in charge, and are constantly improving the grounds and buildings, and under their able leadership
the Holy Rosary Church of Antioch is growing and prospering.
The Advent Christian church was organized on September 25, 1877, by Mrs. M. J. Clark, an evangelist of that denomination,
with a charter membership of more than thirty, most of whom were at the time members of the Congregational church.
Prominent among these were John Schott, wife and daughter (Miss Louisa), T. N. Wills, H. F. Beede and wife, S.
P. Joslin and wife, Isaac Hardy and wife, Dr. E. L. Wempler and wife. The evangelist, Mrs. Clark, remained for
some time and served the church in the capacity of pastor. The Rev. W. R. Young was the first resident pastor,
and remained with the church until about 1900, when he removed to Oakland, to assume the editorship of The Messiah's
Advocate. The Adventist church owns its house of worship, located on the corner of Fourth and I streets.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Antioch was organized in September, 1899, the principal figures in the movement
being Judge J. P. Abbott (now deceased) and Doctor W. S. George. The preliminary meeting, at which a temporary
organization was effected, was called by Wesley Dunnigan, L. S. Lafferty, Isaac Lafferty, and Doctor W. S. George
in the old Hamburg Hall, which then stood near the present site of the Santa Fe station. These men secured the
services of the Rev. James Blackledge, who held regular services and assisted in perfecting the organization of
the new church. The State Conference sent the Rev. Dr. Brill late in the fall, and he completed the details of
organization, and the men whose names appear earlier in this paragraph were appointed the first board of trustees.
Doctor Brill at once began a vigorous campaign to raise funds for the purchase of a building site and the erection
thereon of a house of worship. His efforts were successful, and the building now occupied by the church, located
on the corner of Sixth and G streets, was erected in 1890. The church also owns the parsonage property on Sixth
Street, next door to the church.
Early in the year 1910 six Christian Scientists began to read the lesson sermon at the residence of one of their
number, and through the work accomplished by this little company the number gradually increased until in the fall
of 1910 it became necessary to secure larger quarters, and Union Hall was rented for midweek and Sunday meetings.
In July, 1911, a society was organized with a charter membership of fifteen, and in 1912 a church building lot
was purchased on the corner of Fifth and D streets. On March 12, 1915, the temporary chapel now occupied was begun
on the rear of this lot, leaving room for a main church building when such is needed. This chapel was completed
and the first meeting held on April 4th following. The seating capacity is about one hundred. The continued growth
both in regard to attendance and membership attests the permanence of Christian Science in Antioch and its vicinity.
Link to Antioch, California history part 2.