On Thursday, June 16, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources approved a historical highway marker for Antioch Baptist Church in Saluda. Located in the recently designated Saluda Historic District, Antioch Baptist Church was established in 1866 and is the oldest African-American church in Middlesex County.
The text of the marker is as follows:
Antioch Baptist Church
Antioch Baptist Church, the oldest black church in Middlesex County, was formed in 1866 by black members of white-led Clark’s Neck (later Saluda) Baptist Church. They acquired an acre of land just north of here in 1867 and added two more acres in 1881. Civil War soldiers are buried there. Antioch was one of four founding churches of the Southside Rappahannock Baptist Association and hosted its first meeting in 1877. An early black public school, Antioch School, was adjacent to the church. Two Antioch pastors, the Revs. R. E. Berkley and C. R. Towles, were founders of Baptist-run Rappahannock Industrial Academy in 1902; buildings there were named for them. Four churches came out of Antioch.
The Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society is the sponsor of the marker. The marker will be partially funded through an African-American history restricted fund that was given to the museum by Mary Wakefield Buxton. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources will order the marker and schedule its installation. The marker will be unveiled at a public dedication ceremony in 2023.