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“The only one in the area”

Ashley Jewish Cemetery
Reviewed February 6, 2013

There is not another 1 around that i know of the grounds are well kept and the monuments are a work of art

1  Thank willow5211
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 17, 2012

It was a lovely spring day to be exploring cultural sites in McIntosh County, including this cemetery for a Jewish homesteading community of the early 20th century. It's right alongside a paved road just north of Ashley. Also known as Beth Itzchock, the Ashley Jewish Cemetery has some interesting features I am not knowledgeable enough to interpret, and can only report. All the graves in the main cemetery area, which is enclosed by a chain link fence, are aligned east-west and are covered with concrete slabs. The headstones are situated at the west ends of the slabs, but they face east, away from the grave. Interesting, and here's the other intriguing thing. About 60 feet away is a second fenced area, this one containing two infant burials. There are no marked infant burials in the main cemetery. Was it the custom to set aside a separate cemetery or section for infants? The cemetery is situated in the heart of German-Russian Country, which raises all sorts of historical questions about cultural relationships. Louis Rubin, who gave the acreage to establish the cemetery, went on to quite a successful business career in German-Russian communities, at one point heading up a Liberty Bond campaign during the Great War. This site raises more questions than it answers, which is what makes it fascinating.

1  Thank Isern1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2011

December might not be the most ideal time to be visiting an outdoor attraction in southern central North Dakota. But I had been meaning to get out and visit this cemetery I had heard about, a unique attraction to an otherwise predominately Christian area/state. I live in Fargo, and it took 3 hours to travel out there, and I arrived just before sunset. It was cloudy, lucky for me--sometimes that glare of the sun can be annoying for pictures. But maybe the sun would have been welcome on this otherwise wide open...and empty prairie.
This cemetery is about 3 1/2 miles north of Ashley on the main county (paved) road heading north. Please note there is NO sign indicating this is a Jewish cemetery, or cemetery of any sort. Usually I would see some sort of sign that this belonged to some sort of church--most cemeteries do, even if the church is no longer there. There is no sign, the cemetery just sits all by its lonesome. But it's right off the road, you can definitely see it. But it's pretty small, blink and you might still miss is, I almost did.
What's going to be the tell-tale sign that you're there are the grave markers. There are cement blocks over the graves, definitely not a Christian form of cemetery, making it quite unique and clearly it stands out.
There is a fence guarding the cemetery. The gates are locked as well. There are no surrounding farmsteads, no markers to indicate who you would contact to let you in. Maybe you might head into town, see who's around to tell you about the site? I didn't, and wasn't too familiar with Ashley to know where to go. Nor was I sure anyone would talk to an outsider anyways...I am familiar enough with German-Russian culture to know that. The fence is pretty old, and low in some spots. Low enough to possibly climb over...
It is obvious there are family plots, some common names. Not too many, I counted about 4 names that had more than 2 graves with same last name. It seemed there were about 4 definite families that had their own plots, certain designated sections of the cemetery. Some of these graves have pictures of the deceased, many are written in Hebrew. Some of the later tombstones have translations of the language, there are 1 or 2 that do not. The newest graves seems to be from about the 1930s, however I did not view all of the graves, so I may have missed one.
It is strange to note that completely separate from the cemetery, about 150 feet behind the cemetery, is a smaller plot that is also fenced off. There are only two graves there, and from what I could read, were graves of younger people, one for sure a child. There is no marker, I have no idea why they are separate from the rest of the cemetery.
As I looked around, I could not see a single farmstead within the vicinity. As the sun set, and it became dark, I couldn't help but look around at the prairie, and it was utterly silent. A creepy sort of silent, I felt almost swallowed up by the prairie--the cemetery is sort of located in a little valley between some hills, so it literally does feel like you're surrounded. I've never felt this way in North Dakota, even in the most remote parts on the western side of the state. But this felt very different.
It makes for an interesting stop, and it's not far from town. There is a little grassy area to park, which is nice, considering there's not much road to simply pull off of. History buffs would definitely like to check out this site, and I think it makes an interesting landmark in the whole German-Russian culture of south central North Dakota. I found it to be very interesting to look at, I'm always fascinated by older cemeteries. I only give it three stars because I don't think it appeals to a very wide audience, just us history buffs fascinated by North Dakota regional culture.
By the way, with the way this cemetery is located, somewhat buried into the valleys of the hills, I would NOT come out here when there's snow on the ground. Luckily there wasn't when I went, but this is not something you can get to in the wintertime. Save this for a nice summer drive on the back country roads of North Dakota. It's on the way to Lehr, and from there you hop on Highway 13 which will take you back to Edgeley, and Lamoure or Jamestown, whichever of your choosing. I took Highway 11 to get out there, very nice drive, better than a boring Interstate drive.

5  Thank katens27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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