NEWBERN CEMETERY is in the SE 1/4 of the SW 1/4, Section 36 of White Breast Township. It is located two miles south and two and one-quarter miles east of Lacona, Iowa on the county line road. It is at the corner of Warren County where the counties of Warren, Marion and Lucas meet.
Joseph Howard was born March 9, 1796 in Tennessee. His father died before he was born. Joseph and his mother later lived in Illinois, and when he was seventeen, Joseph enlisted in the Illinois Rangers for the War of 1812. He first saw Iowa in 1813 during an expedition up the Mississippi River against the Indians. Joseph vowed if the government ever purchased Iowa from the Indians, he would go there.
Joseph Howard was married to Jennie McLilly on March, 1819. They had seven boys and five girls.
In 1828 Joseph converted and joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He entered the ministry at the age of 21 & was a minister until 1860 when his health failed.
In the spring of 1835, Joseph Howard moved his family to Lee County, Iowa. He purchased 320 acres and they resided there for fifteen years. In 1850 he sold his farm and emigrated to Warren County. He arrived in October and settled in White Breast Township. Over a period of time, he entered 1200 to 1400 acres of land in Warren and Lucas counties.
In February, 1852, he moved onto 120 acres in Section 16 of White Breast. He built his home there and lived there until his death on February 2, 1875.
The town of Newbern was laid out by Ransom Davis in 1851, and he built the first house. In 1853 Joseph Howard was in charge of the first post office which was just over the county line in Lucas County. There were four cabins between Knoxville and Newbern and one between Newbern and Chariton.
Rev. Howard lived west of the south corner of Newbern on the south side of the road toward Lacona. He started holding church meetings in his home, which started the Cumberland Presbyterian Church on October 10, 1853. The church building was erected in 1857.
Legend says Joseph Howard started the Newbern Cemetery when he allowed a traveler to be buried on his land west of Newbern. He had lived three miles west of Newbern before moving to Newbern. In Deed Book 5, page 179, Joseph Howard deeded to the trustees of Newbern Graveyard, the land on September 30, 1871.
An early burial in the cemetery was Peter A. Davis, who died September 30, 1852, at the age of 2 years, 6 months and 29 days. The first death recorded in church records was that of Harvey Willoughby, Jr. He died January 11, 1857 at the age of 1 year, 6 months and 25 days. By October 15, 1899, there had been twenty-five deaths. Graves of members of the Mason and Riggs families were moved to Newbern Cemetery from their orchard.
The first recorded birth at Newbern was Jennett Francis Howard, September, 1854. The first marriage appears to be Rev. Joseph Howard's son James B. Howard marrying Nancy Riggs and Howard's daughter, Martha marrying Luther Riggs. The double ceremony was performed in the Howard home in Lucas County on December 31, 1857.
The first board of ruling elders of Cumberland Presbyterian Church were Joseph H. Stewart, Samuel J. Howard and John T. Howard. The first deacons were A.C. Cunningham and Luther Riggs. Fred Hunerdosse was a ruling Elder for thirty years.
The United Brethren Church was organized on April 23, 1869. The first pastor was R.S. Byrd. On the board were Phillip Newman, John Bonebrake, and Enos C. Gunter.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was incorporated August 9, 1856. On February 29, 1920, the M.E. Church, the U.B. Church and the Presbyterian Church united to become the Federated Church of Newbern. In 1943 the building (formerly used by the Methodist Church) was destroyed by a tornado. The community remodeled it and named it the Newbern Community Church.
Newbern reached it's peak of fifty residents in 1881.
"Please be respectful, do not hunt at night, do not disturb mourners, and leave this peaceful and revered place in good condition. Remember to practice CITO, always. Thank you."
Cemetery and Death Records of Warren County, Iowa, Warren County Genealogical Society, Walsworth Publishing Company, Marceline, Missouri: 1980.