Sons of Jacob cemetery added to National Register of Historic Places

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal

Sons of Jacob cemetery, the final resting place of many Jewish homesteaders who settled in the Garske area in the the early 1880s, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Ramsey County Commissioner Lucas Wakefield drafted a letter in support of the cemetery’s placement in the national register earlier this year.

According to the Sons of Jacob website, “the earliest Jewish settlers of the Garske Colony were two brothers-in-law, Morris Kohn and Herman Kaufmann, who emigrated from a wine district in Hungary after a plague wiped out their vineyards.”

Though those initial settlers moved from the region, other members of the colony stayed in the region for decades.

The register is the federal government's list of properties it deems worthy of recognition and preservation.

The State Historical Society says the Sons of Jacob Cemetery near Garske is the oldest cemetery for a Jewish agricultural community in North Dakota and is the only site remaining from the Garske Colony.

The cemetery has stones with traditional Jewish funerary symbols and inscriptions, and also uncommon homemade grave markers.

The National Register, established by the Secretary of the Interior under the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, is the official list of the Nation's cultural properties worthy of preservation.

One of the last remaining pieces of native prairie in the region, it allows visitors to view the land in the same way Jewish homesteaders would have over 125 years ago.