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ANTIOCH COLONY, TX

ANTIOCH COLONY, TEXAS. Antioch Colony is a rural African-American community located off Farm roads 967 and 1626 within a mile northwest of Buda in eastern Hays County. On February 1, 1859, Joseph F. Rowley, who had emigrated with his family from California to Texas, purchased 490 acres near Onion Creek. After the Civil War he sold tracts to former slaves for the purpose of establishing a farming settlement. Many of the freedmen came from Missouri. They founded Antioch Colony, named for the Turkish city, in 1870 and 1871. Ten to fifteen families lived in the community, also known as Black Colony, in the early 1870s. Settlers included the Bunton, Champ, Harper, Beard, Taylor, and Kavanaugh families. Farmers raised corn and other grains, cotton, and sugar cane, and mule-powered mills processed corn, bran, and produced sorghum molasses. On July 15, 1874, Elias and Clarisa Bunton donated land for a school. Residents constructed a two-story building that soon served fifty-seven students as part of their own district—Antioch School District 5. The structure also hosted meetings of a Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star. Citizens established the African Methodist Church and the Antioch Cemetery.

Antioch Colony remained an active farming community into the 1930s and 1940s. Social life centered around the school and church, which had some seventy to eighty members. By the mid-1950s, however, most residents had moved away in search of better jobs. Ironically, after this time, Antioch Colony finally received telephone and electrical service. The community became almost a ghost town of ramshackle structures and overgrown homesteads.

In the late 1970s a few former residents returned to the area and bought back the land of their ancestors. Winnie Martha Moyer, a descendant of the Harper family, returned and was soon joined by other family members. This slow rebirth of the colony continued throughout the 1990s. LeeDell Bunton, a great-great grandson of one of the founders, bought back part of his family land. In 1997 residents established the Antioch Community Church, and in 1999 approximately 300 people attended the first Antioch Colony reunion. Local residents continued to maintain Antioch Cemetery located on Old Black Colony Road. By 2000 some twenty people, members of three extended families, lived in Antioch Colony. All were descendants of early settlers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Austin American-Statesman, September 30, 2000. Jo Ann Elam Hearn and Dorothy Wimberley Kerbow, comps., Hays County, Texas Cemetery Inscriptions, Vol. 1 (San Marcos: Hays County Historical Commission, 1990). Frances Stovall et al., Clear Springs and Limestone Ledges: A History of San Marcos and Hays County (San Marcos: Hays County Historical Commission, 1986).

Laurie E. Jasinski

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Laurie E. Jasinski, "ANTIOCH COLONY, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hna60), accessed September 30, 2014. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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