Antioch Cemetery, Lamar County, Texas
LOCATION: Antioch Cemetery is located in the southeast quadrant of the county in the Biardstown community in Block 49 of the Lamar County Road Map produced by American Drafting and Services revised December 1993. DIRECTIONS: The cemetery is about 2 miles east of the intersection of Farm Market Road 1497 and Farm Market Road 1184 on County Road 13700. GPS COORDINATES: 33° 32' 48.4282" N, -95° 30' 32.3557" W
(33.546786 Latitude and -95.508988 Longitude)
OLDEST KNOWN BURIAL: The oldest inscribed grave is that of Cora Ann Johnson who died 31 Aug 1872 NUMBER OF GRAVES: There are 584 known graves in the cemetery. (June 2014) SIGNS/MARKERS: There is a state highway marker for the cemetery.
Historic Texas Cemetery: No Texas Historical Commission Marker: Yes(1969)
The following is from the Historical marker outside the cemetery: This church and cemetery dating back to the first years of Texas statehood, were established between 1846 and 1848. The church, first Church of Christ in Lamar Co., was founded by Thomas Barrett of Titus Co. Instrumental in the organization was the pioneer family of Mrs. Rebecca Stone Biard and her 3 sons (whose first names were Andrew Jackson, John Gaines, and William Washington) and her daughter (Minerva B. Stephenson). They came to Texas from Alabama and started the Biardstown community in 1846. All three brothers became noted landowners. William Biard gave his first home, a 20 foot by 20 foot log cabin, for use as a church. It had seats of split logs and an old fashioned "stick and dirt" chimney. At his mother's death, in 1848, he also gave land for the cemetery in which hers is the 1st grave. Some years later, the last church building was erected. In early years, both it and the first log church housed community schools. Although the church disbanded about 1920 due to declining membership, burials in the cemetery are continued today, as of 1969, graves number about 300, including those of the original members and many descendants of the Biard family. (1969)
LAST ENUMERATION: Updates have been provided by Katie Skidmore Allred. ADD'L INFORMATION: The following is the text used to acquire the Texas Historical Marker in the cemetery.
In 1846 the Biards came to Texas from Alabama, namely these three brothers and their mother, Andrew Jackson Biard, John Gaines Biard, and William Washington Biard, and Rebecca Stone Biard. They bought and settled the land around what today is the village of Biardstown. The land was an original land grant that had been surveyed by Robert Wheat, a brother-in-law of the Biard brothers. The land grant was issued [to Wheat] February 5, 1838.
After coming to Texas in 1846, Rebecca Stone Biard died and was buried in 1848. She was the first person buried in the cemetery. The land for the cemetery was donated by her son, William Washington Biard. William Washington's first home was on a plot adjoining the cemetery. Later he moved to another location and gave his home for a church. This structure was a log cabin and later burned, but a new church was built in its place. This was know as the Antioch Church of Christ, and it was also the first Church of Christ in Lamar County. In later years this building was torn down, but the organized church lasted for nearly a hundred years and was also a thriving congregation during its early years. The land for the church and cemetery was all part of the original survey by Robert Wheat, and the land grant was issued one month before the Paris survey.
Rebecca Stone Biard was a descendant of William Stone who was born in England in 1603, came to America and became the third proprietary Governor of Maryland in 1648, and died in Maryland in 1660. Rebecca's father, Ezekiel Stone was a soldier in the American Revolutionary War and was a first cousin to Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Ezekiel was also a cousin of Barton W. Stone, a famous preacher.
Both Andrew Jackson and William Washington Biard were prominent men of Lamar County. Both served several terms as County Commissioners; both had been slave owners, and both married sisters, Delilah Finn was Andrew Jackson's wife and Amanda Finn was William Washington's wife. Both men owned considerable property.
Besides giving the land for Antioch Cemetery and church, William Washington gave the property for the colored church and cemetery. He owned more of the original survey than any of his brothers and that was 532 acres. He also operated the first gin in Biardstown.
Both of these men, their wives and their mother, Rebecca Stone Biard, their sister and husband Minerva Jane Stephenson and another brother, John Gaines Biard are all buried here in this small rural cemetery which is but a small part of our pioneer heritage.
The above history was taken from the following documents:
1. INTERESTING HISTORY OF OLD CHURCH OF CHRIST AT ANTIOCH is Related by E. Couch; Sunday, September 21, 1930; published by THE PARIS NEWS.
2. THE BIARD FAMILY by Maud Biard Smith published by the author.
3. THE STONES OF POYNTON MANOR by Harry Wright Newman published by the author.
4. Deed of Land bought by William Washington Biard recorded in Lamar County Courthouse, Book No. 61, page 378.
5. First Class Head Right Certificate recorded by Robert H. Wheat in Red River County, no. 163 (on record in Lamar County Courthouse).
6. Patent No. 242, Volume no. 3 of the Robert Wheat Survey. (On record at the Land Commissioner's Office in Austin, Texas).
This cemetery photo is used with permission from Mary Hall Ferguson.
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