Antioch Pioneer Cemetery, est. 1872

This is an archived index from the Digital Cemetery. See the Digital Cemetery for searchable photo-index and updated entries.

Autumn in Antioch Pioneer Cemetery

7500 Antioch Road
Merriam, KS

GPS Location
38° 59' 38" N, 94° 41' 12" W
38.9939, -94.6867

Legal Location
Section 24, Township 12S, Range 24E  

About the 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.

Antioch Pioneer Cemetery Chapel

Land Ownership

Lewis Dougherty, Shawnee Indian, held the first land patent to acreage that included the church and cemetery land in the late 1850s.

On 22 Sept 1870, Marion, Mary, Edward, James, and Lucy, Dougherty, heirs of Lewis, sold a portion of their land containing the church and cemetery to William G. Steen and was approved on 12 May 1871.

On 8 Jan 1873, Wm. G. and Susannah Steen sold 2 acres of their land for $100 to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Only the church is designated on the 1874 atlas with Steen as owner, and the 1886 atlas with C F Mulburn owner.

The Antioch Cemetery Association was formed 1930 to care for the deteriorating cemetery after the church closed.

Elijah Cornell Chace (Chase), grandson of the founder of Cornell University, taught agriculture at the nearby Quaker Mission, and donated a portion of his land to Abraham Ensor for an addition to the Antioch Cemetery. Both Chace and Ensor are interred in this cemetery.


Photographed and transcribed by: Linda K Lewis, 29 May 2005. This is a complete transcription by reading and photographing the gravestones.


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