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W. W. Smith, Pilgrim of Antioch, California

ON JULY 4, 1851, William. W. Smith held a picnic for the town residents of what was called Smith’s Landing, at Smith’s Point. In memory of his deceased brother, Rev. Joseph Horton Smith, William named the town which he and his brother had settled one year earlier, Antioch, California.

The History of Antioch’s Pilgrims

Born in New Hampshire, the Smith brothers were itinerant ministers. Following the call of gold and intrigued by California, “The Paradise of America, where summer reigns perpetually,” they sailed from Boston, Massachusetts to the San Francisco Bay. They landed on July 6, 1849 and on December 24, 1849, acquired a portion of land for $500 from Dr. John Marsh of Brentwood in return for starting a settlement. They never paid Marsh but settled the area just east of what is now downtown Antioch.

On February 5, 1850 Rev. Joseph H. Smith died of malaria. W. W. Smith moved to higher ground overlooking the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta, to the area which is now First Street.

W. W. Smith chose the name Antioch since it was where “the disciples were first called Christians according to Acts 11:25-26.” The ancient city of Antioch is featured prominently in the Bible and was the third largest city in the Roman Empire following Alexandria and Rome. Previously in Syria, ancient Antioch is now modern day Antakya, Turkey.

A stone monument marks the place where W. W. Smith welcomed a ship of the early settlers to Antioch on September 16, 1850. this monument sits at the foot of Kimball (F) Street. W. W. Smith was the true founder of Antioch. He died in October, 1899.

Dr. Ann Marie Gorczyca, Gorczyca Orthodontics, 5201 Deer Valley Road, Antioch, California www.clubbraces.com

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