Sappington Cemetery State Historic Site

Sappington Cemetery State Historic Site in Saline County, Missouri, is maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as a state historic site.

Not far from historic Arrow Rock, Missouri, the cemetery holds the gravesite of Dr. John Sappington (1776–1856), a prominent early physician and businessman in Missouri. Dr. Sappington was a proponent of using quinine in the treatment of malaria, and at the time was the largest importer of the drug in America. Dr. Sappington is also responsible for writing the first medical book published west of the Mississippi River.

Sappington and his family were heavily involved in antebellum Missouri Democratic politics. Two son-in-laws, Meredith Miles Marmaduke and Claiborne Fox Jackson, would become Governors of Missouri. Grandson John Sappington Marmaduke was a noted Confederate General in the American Civil War as well as a Missouri Governor in later years. After a long illness, Dr. Sappington died on September 7, 1856. In addition to Dr. Sappington, the cemetery holds the graves of several of his children and Governors Fox and Meredith Marmaduke.

Established by Dr. Sappington himself in 1831, the two-acre cemetery holds 111 headstones and grave markers. Sappington Cemetery became a part of the Missouri State Park system in 1967 by act of the Missouri General Assembly. The site has not been modified for ADA accessibility in order to preserve its historic nature and appearance. No restrooms or other facilities are provided. The site is open sunrise to sunset year-round.

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    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

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    According to legend, Dr. Sappington purchased his coffin several years before his death and kept it under his bed, with apples and nuts in it for his visiting grandchildren.
    —Administration in the State of Miss, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)

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    Mary Elizabeth Baker, U.S. cemetery committee head. As quoted in Newsweek magazine, p. 15 (June 13, 1988)

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