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Eric Hylden / Forum News Service A monument marks the grave of a Calof family member at the Sons of Jacob Cemetery near Starkweather, N.D. There are 17 marked graves at the prairie cemetery and a marker near the flag pole for the unknown settlers buried here.

Replaying Rachel’s story on the stage; Lake Region State College hosts play based on the life of Jewish homesteader in N.D.

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GARSKE, N.D. — A narrow strip of native prairie stretches eastward down a gentle hill from the Sons of Jacob Cemetery, pointing the way to a shelterbelt about a mile away that marks the original homestead of Rachel Calof, the Jewish pioneer who documented her life of raising a family on the harsh North Dakota Plains during the late 1890s and early 1900s.


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Kevin Bonham
Kevin Bonham covers regional news, mostly from northeast North Dakota, for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for more than 30 years. Find his articles at: He welcomes story ideas via email,, or by phone, (701) 780-1110.  
(701) 780-1110