Jewish agricultural colonies
in the United States merited
an entry in the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. (Read
it here.) They were supported by Jewish
philanthropists who hoped to see Jews
return to the land, and not all settle in the crowded cities.
Maurice de Hirsch, who had made his fortune with the Orient Express, was the
Starting before World War I, Jewish farmers came to three Northeast Ohio counties: Ashtabula, Lake, and Geauga. Their center was in Geneva Ohio, about 50 miles east of Cleveland. This group of farmers, now gone, is known by two names: Northeast Ohio Jewish farmers and Geneva Jewish Farmers. Concord grapes, shown above, were a major crop. Today Geneva Ohio is the home of the Ohio Wine Producers.
Medina Ohio interurban car about 1910
Interurban lines ran electric powered streetcars, modified to serve far outside city limits. As shown in the 1910 photo of a Medina interurban, they could be equipped to move obstacles and animals off the track. Many had wider doors and space inside for freight. Geneva was a stop on the interurban when they were important in the 1920s. On them people, produce, even chickens, could move from farm to town or city.
Farm families could shop in Cleveland; on a large purchase the merchant might pay the cost of the trip. With the great increase of car ownership in the 1920s and building of public highways, interurbans soon went out of business. A note to historically-minded Clevelanders: when you get on a light rail line such as the Shaker Rapid or a "rapid" from downtown to the airport, remember the interurbans.
Jewish families came to Northeast Ohio,
buying farm land with financing backed by Jewish
The picnics of 1928 and 1929
Today we would call the 1928 "banquet" held at the
farm of Meyer and Slova Flock on
Labor Day, Monday September 3, 1928 the
"kick off" event in a fund-raising campaign.
Jewish Agricultural Society (JAS) officials were there.
Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of The Temple was
the honored guest.
Today we would call the 1928 "banquet" held at the farm of Meyer and Slova Flock on Labor Day, Monday September 3, 1928 the "kick off" event in a fund-raising campaign. Jewish Agricultural Society (JAS) officials were there. Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of The Temple was the honored guest.
The "second annual picnic" was also on the Flock farm, but it was moved to Independence Day, Thursday, July 4, 1929. It included a bazaar that ran through Sunday July 7. Rabbi Barnett Brickner of the Euclid Avenue Temple spoke.
page on both picnics.
After the 1929 picnic publications say little about the Jewish farmers. In 1932 they hired an Orthodox rabbi for part-time teaching and to lead High Holy Day services. This may have used funds raised at the picnics.
There is no further mention of the Farmers Association or its campaign. It may have been a casualty of the Depression and a sign of community decline as its children departed for college and many families left for city life.
After World War II Cleveland's Jewish newspapers carry reports of life cycle events of the children of the Jewish farmers and the accomplishments of some of them.
There are no stories of an active community, only tales looking back. In 1990 and 1992 we have reports of reunions organized by the children of these Jewish farming families.
The list below shows only the farmers in Harpersfield whose mortgages
were financed by the JAIS. There were other Jewish farmers
in Ashtabula and adjacent counties. Thank you Edward Bolte.
Farmers Mortgages in Harpersfield Township, Ohio
Through Jewish Agricultural & Industrial Aid Society New York
From Ashtabula County Mortgage Index Harpersfield Township
1908 - 1931 Volume 3 pp 195-197
Complied by Edward Bolte July 2017
|M & W Atkin||October 29, 1908||121,122,123|
|Emil Roth||March 17, 1909||126,127,128|
|A & J Trenish||July 2,1909||139, 155,156|
|A Cohn||July 22, 1909||36,20|
|M & Charles Efros||August 30, 1909||143|
|Moses Pollock||March 30, 1910||46,47,48|
|Morris Metz||February 8, 1913||N/A|
|Joseph Golomb||May 13, 1913||139,155,156|
|Isadore E Roth||September 24, 1913||126,127,110|
|Sam & Bessie Samaler||March 30, 1915||143|
|Elias & Eleanor Landskroner||December 17, 1915||112, 128|
|Ben & Sonia Goldenberg||January 27, 1916||57, 56|
|Meyer & Slova Flock||July 13, 1917||73|
|Charles & Dora Goldstein||December 26, 1916||159,160|
|Ike & Lena Gittlin||April 28, 1917||157|
|A.H S S & Bessie Katz||June 4, 1917||157|
|A & Hattie Sherman||January 24, 1918||31|
|B. & Eva Williams||June 21, 1918||57, 56|
|B & Rosa Volk||August 6, 1918||72, 88|
|M & Dora Klein||August 28, 1918||139, 140|
|Samuel Kroner||December 31, 1918||47, 48|
|A H & Felicia Simonelli||October 8, 1919||57, 56|
|Marian Pressman||October 11, 1920||57, 56|
|J E & Rose Rose||October 26, 1920||51|
|Lena & David Brown||October 31, 1921||14|
|P & Liba Edelberg||January 2, 1922||22|
|Harry Goldberg||April 26, 1922||131|
|Sam & Jennie Eisenberg||November 9, 1922||14|
|Louis Anna & Morris Brody||December 18, 1923||47, 48|
|Lillie & H. Charkoff||December 14, 1926||145,146,147|
|W H & Carrie Walker||December 14, 1926||156|
|Esther Garschuster||June 2, 1927||32|
|Jacob Wyman||August 30, 1927||73, 89|