On November 17, 2015, the United States Department of the Interior officially named this site to the National Register of Historic Places. From the 1880s through the 1930s, 1200 Jewish farmers lived on over 250 homesteads in North Dakota - the fourth largest number of Jewish homesteaders in any state. Here, among the swaying Dakota prairie grasses and under the infinite sky, the largest Jewish agricultural settlement in North or South Dakota thrived. The Beth Itzchock (House of Isaac) Cemetery, the final resting place for at least 28 Jewish immigrants, is the only permanent physical reminder of this community.
Over 400 Russian and Romanian Jewish homesteaders escaped persecution due to their faith (including the prohibition against Jews owning land for farming) and pogroms (organized mass killings of Jews endorsed by the Czarist regime) and settled on around 85 farms in McIntosh County beginning in 1905. After clearing rocks and boulders, growing wheat and flax, raising cattle and chickens, and selling cream from their sod houses, most were successful enough to own their land after the requisite five years under the Homestead Act or to purchase it sooner.
With appreciation for the generous contributions and guidance of:
The Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation
the descendants of the Jewish homesteaders
the citizens of Ashley, North Dakota
those who have cared for and restored this cemetery, and
the State Historical Society of North Dakota