1866 - 1868

Antioch was founded in January, 1866, just months after the end of the Civil War. The organizers were John Wheeler, Henry Styles, Edward Smith, Preston Greenhill, Daniel Riley, T. L. Brown, Sandy Parker, Wash Rhodes, Isaac Williams, Rhyna Moore, Margaret Jones and Cynthia Hill. These individuals were assisted by missionaries from the First Baptist Church and the German Baptist Church: Reverend W. C. Crane and Reverend J. B. Link.  Seven months later, Reverend Israel Sydney Campbell, a black minister and missionary, led the church to erect a “brush arbor” on the edge of Buffalo Bayou.

Reverend Campbell and Reverend I. Rhinehart re-organized the church in August, 1866, and gave it the name Antioch Baptist Church.  During the reorganization, Reverend Campbell was called as pastor of the church.  He accepted the call to preach at the church one Sunday each month and appointed Reverend Sandy Parker to preach in his absence.

The following spring, Reverend Campbell conducted a series of revival meetings, and one hundred seventy new members were added to the church.  The increased membership resulted in the construction of a large, box-house-type structure at “Baptist Hill” on the corner of Rusk and Bagby.  Antioch became the site of the first association meeting organized and held among Black Baptists in Texas, in 1868.   Reverend John Henry (Jack) Yates was ordained by this association in the fall of that year.  Shortly thereafter, he was officially elected as the first full-time pastor of Antioch Baptist Church.