A Pioneer Cemetery
List of of All Known Burials

 Farmington Township, Van Buren County, Iowa
Section 12

 Salubria Cemetery is one of the smaller cemeteries not among those indexed by the Van Buren County
Genealogical Society. You will find a listing of their available cemetery books on their
web site.

This cemetery is located in the northeast corner of Section 12, Farmington Township. It was a part of the George Gray farm in 1898. There is an interesting background to this area.

The only "Infidel" colony in Iowa, was a little cluster of farm houses 2 miles south of Farmington.

In January, 1834, Abner Kneeland, a former Orthodox minister, who had become what was termed "an infidel", established himself at the head of a society in Boston, called the" Free Inquirers". This aroused popular resentment, and Kneeland was indicted and tried and found guilty, and was sentenced to three months imprisonment for blasphemy. He began as a Universalist minister but became so liberal that his church cast him out. He styled himself a pantheist, but his enemies called him a pagan. Ralph Waldo Emerson and others protested his imprisonment.

When released, ne formed a colony to find freedom in the west. Van Buren County. The settlement was named Salubria, meaning "health".

In May of 1839, Kneeland arrived at Fort Madison, a white-haired and kindly man of 65. He went to the site of the paper town of Salubria, where he bought a claim, on which he and his stepson built a comfortable two-story house. His wife joined him in July. This home was called the mansion of Salubria..... the grandest house in all Iowa at the time. He lived there the rest of his life. The house was made of beautiful woods, both native and pine brought from Louisiana. The fireplaces were beautiful. In a downstairs room, Kneeland had his library, gave talks, and performed an occasional marriage ceremony.

The leader did little to spread his religious views in the surrounding area. His first wife had died in Vermont. His fourth wife died after his death. By his four wives he had twelve children, with two daughters of the fourth marriage born in Salubria.

Salubria was in the heart of the forest when started, on a level belt of bottom land bounded by the Des Moines River and by deep ravines leading from the hills into the river, about a half mile apart. It was a veritable sugar camp, with its sheets of snow and ice in spring, its tangled growth in autumn, and its solitary bleakness in winter.

Orthodox ministers were excluded from the community. For a time Salubria prospered. Kneeland ran for territorial legislature. Salubria was a regular lithographed town, and was laid out by Mr. Kneeland in Boston, and was mostly owned there. It gradually became a comfortable religious community, with orthodox religious sentiments. It never really took root as a religious community. The children of the "free-thinkers" were eventually absorbed into the surrounding community. Mr. Kneeland died in August of 1844, aged 70, and was buried on his own soil, with his wife beside him. His remains were later moved to Farmington Cemetery. [link]

The small Salubria school house remained just north of Valley Gravel Co., until 1972 when it was moved to the company grounds and used for storage.

To reach the cemetery you drive through the yards of the Valley Limestone and Gravel Company, one mile south of Farmington on the River Road, driving left around the pits as far as the railroad track, where you must leave your car. Then you walk along the track to your right (south) for about ten minutes, until you reach a trestlo over a creek bed. This is the first break in the heavy brush on both sides of the track. At this point the two remaining stones may be seen, to the left, up a hill, across a farm field.

It is necessary to climb down into the dry creek bed and walk across a cornfield on bottom land, up a slight rise, to the burial area, which is on the side of a hill, surrounded by cornfields and wooded pasture.

The stones standing are those of Sarah Smith and Nannie Long there are five isolated bases and five footstones which cannot be associated with any of the stones copied. The detached stones are scattered about, in such a way as to indicate they may have been moved several times. This is a very isolated spot.


Copied in 1964 by Marion Flake McCrary
Craig Armstrong
Typed by Lois U. Senti

SMITH, Sarah W. - May 7, 1803 - March 2, 1886

LONG, Nannie L. - wife of Daniel Long and daughter of Silas
and S. W. Smith died in Neodosha, Kansas, December 13, 1873 in 32nd year

5 bases only

5 foot stones

Small double stone - dates completely broken off:
( Andrew J. SMITH )
( Van Buren SMITH)

WILDER , Albert T. - March 14, 1839 - age 23 years

TWOMBLY, Samuel T. - died 11 September 1842 - age 25 years

small stones, probably children - no dates
Josie GRAY
Eddie GRAY

GRAY, Abbie - August 21, 1836 - June 10, 1885

GRAY, Lillie May - May 1, 1874 - April 27, 1892

One medium sized stone - only figure "5" remains in age section


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