24 responses to 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities
  • *
    Comment on the poisonous fruits of ignorance (February 2nd, 2018 at 10:37)

    the poisonous fruits of ignorance

    It is sad to see the resistance to education, especially science education, leading some Amish to treat their diseases with useless and sometimes dangerous potions and procedures.

    I was in a large Amish store in Michigan last summer, half the display space devoted to clothing and fabric and half to hundreds of quack remedies selling for outrageously high prices, like $30 and $40 for a tiny bottle of this or that kind of herbal concoction.

    I admire the Amish for many things, but not for their determined resistance to knowledge of the natural world.

    • One of the best reviews I’ve seen of the complex Amish approach to health and medicine is the chapter dedicated to that topic in An Amish Paradox. I have noticed the popularity of unconventional treatments as well.

      I think it’s a complex topic as there are a number of different categories of “unconventional” ranging from home remedies to the more dubious solutions (e.g., see the recent case of the Kentucky Amishman selling a homemade salve claiming to be “very good at removing tumors”). And of course plenty of Amish partake of conventional medicine and treatments as well. Personally I generally tend to be skeptical of the efficacy of this broad “unconventional” category but do not rule out beneficial effects completely. It is a sphere where hucksters have long operated and I think you do see that happening in Amish circles.

      I know you noted that your first statement applies to “some” Amish but your final statement I’d say is a bit strong especially given their willingness to participate in research studies and support and use conventional medicine as well. It’s a mixed bag as I stated in the original post.

      • *
        Comment on 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities (February 4th, 2018 at 10:16)

        I shouldn’t have implied that all Amish resist modern medicine. I know very well that many accept it and use it. One Amish deacon, for example, told me last year about an Amish person in his district who ran up a hospital bill of more than $1 million and that it was paid off immediately in cash with the usual appeal to the community for donations. The Amish in this area of northern Indiana and southern Michigan are generally quite affluent.

        What I was thinking of in my earlier comment was their broader resistance to scientific findings such as their belief in creationism.

        • *
          Comment on 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities (July 7th, 2018 at 10:59)

          What a minute, what does their “belief in creationism” have to do with the effectiveness of modern medicine? Is that belief hurting you? And what belief in creationism? I don’t know enough about the Amish to know if the Amish take the first chapter of Genesis literally, but so what if they do? I believe God created the world, but I also believe the 6 days in Genesis are not 24 hour days (why would God need to rest on the seventh day? He’s God). Personally, I think you’re viciously attacking a group your not part of for the sake of attacking that group. I LARGELY disagree with the Amish on many things, but I still have great respect for the vast majority of them

    • *
      Comment on Natural medicine (February 7th, 2018 at 09:25)

      Natural medicine

      Fact is people spend ridiculous amounts of money at hospitals to find themselves still without cures. Hospitals are cold, callous, rotten smelling places that still actually serve terrible food. There is still not a real cure there for cancer,for heart disease, lung disease, arthritis. Either way, from folk medicine or hospitals, people may or may not find cures. Natural medicine does work, yet there is a lot of misinformation. It works for me and I hope I never step in a hospital again.

  • *
    Alte Kaker
    Comment on traits (February 2nd, 2018 at 11:15)


    the beard is from Biblical Law/Commandment, it forbids putting steel to the jaw. (the upper lip & neck are not “jaw”). it also forbids “rounding the corners of the head.” Same with mandating covering the head. The purpose of many of the 613 Commandments was to keep the “people” from looking & acting like the “others” e.g. English or Goyim (gentiles) these same Laws are followed by many practicing Jews. Or any religious person adhering to Biblical Law. Brauche, interesting, I have always pondered its relationship to Hebrew/Biblical & current word in Judaism Baruchu. verbal Blessing of various types. Might be a coincidence but doubt it.

  • *
    Alice Mary
    Comment on 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities (February 2nd, 2018 at 14:43)

    Interesting comments, and I agree about the expensive, very questionable potions.

    I would also equate plain communities with non-rubberized wheels on their buggies.

    But I’ve thought of perhaps having a type of “outhouse” in my back yard—a small shed with a composting toilet, perhaps? Sometimes its a LOOOONG walk (or run) to indoor plumbing, for young and old alike! 😉

    Alice Mary

  • *
    Comment on Textbooks (February 2nd, 2018 at 19:43)


    Re: textbooks, I’m weighing in as the daughter of 2 former educators; I earned a BSE in English so I am certified to teach but have not stepped into the classroom in forever. While some pertinent information may be lost without newer textbooks, I believe that the older textbooks required more from the students than the newer textbooks to achieve a passing grade, etc.

    In the modern American culture, educators and parents have been decrying the newer curriculum labeled “Common Core”. I bet the more conservative Amish communities are, for the most part, educating students better overall.

  • *
    Comment on 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities (February 3rd, 2018 at 17:18)

    You should do the 10 largest Amish populations by % of county.

    Here are the first 5.

    1. Holmes County, Ohio – 45%
    2. LaGrange County, Indiana – 30%
    3. Adams County, Indiana – 25%
    4. Daviess County, Indiana, – 15%
    5. Douglas County, Illinois – 11.5%
    6. Clark County, Wisconsin – 9.9%
    7. Milfflin County, Pennsylvania – 9%
    8. Yates County, NY – 9%
    9. Vernon County, Wisconsin – 8%
    10. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania 7%

    Emerging countries:
    Munfordville County, KY – 5.6%
    Monroe County, Wisconsin – 4.2%
    Medford County, Wisconsin – 3%
    Seneca County, NY – 2.1%
    Lawrence County, TN – 2%

    Most of these emerging counties have very small populations, and so it’s possible that they will one day surpass the more established communities.

    I could be wrong on these numbers. Since they do not ask Amish their background in the Census, I am going by the reported languages spoken in those counties.

    • *
      Comment on 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities (February 3rd, 2018 at 17:24)

      I should have included Moultrie County, Illinois in the list.

    • Nice idea, AJ, thanks. Are those some kind of census numbers, or from somewhere else? A study in 2012 had it at Holmes – 42% and LaGrange – 38%.

      (“The Amish Population: County Estimates and Settlement Patterns of the Old Orders”, by Joseph Donnermeyer, Cory Anderson, and Elizabeth Cooksey)


      • *
        Comment on 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities (February 4th, 2018 at 15:36)

        Hi Erik,

        They’re from this website:

        I do not know how accurate it is, but it seems to match census data I’ve seen. Also, it’s very hard to tell whether all those speakers are Amish or not, since I’m sure there a few non-Amish, such as Mennonites and non-Sectarians, etc, who speak the same language. But, I think it gives us an idea of their population by county.

        • Thanks AJ, yes that might skew it slightly in several places if it’s based off language given the Mennonite presence in some of those places. But looks like a lot of interesting info at that link.

          On a similar note I recently had someone contact me from the Census Bureau asking about a certain East Coast state and wondering about how open the local Amish would be to participating in the census. So I guess they will be gearing up for that large undertaking fairly soon now 🙂

      • *
        Comment on 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities (February 4th, 2018 at 15:41)

        Your statistics are right about LaGrange County, IN.

        My initial post was based on old census data I found on Wikipedia.
        The website has it at 36.9%.

        Holmes County, OH.
        The website has it at 48%.

    • *
      Comment on Statistics on percents - (February 5th, 2018 at 23:59)

      Statistics on percents -

      I beleive it is true that Oh has the largest Amish population. However, PA I beleive is the next one in line, as one talking from an Amish standpoint. Maybe I misunderstood what you’re saying?

      • Hi Esther, it’s true that OH and PA are the top two states by total numbers of Amish – but here we are talking about what % of each individual county’s population is Amish.

        So for example Lancaster County has one of the top largest Amish populations (well over 30,000), but the county itself has over 500,000 people total, so the Amish portion is only around 7 or 8%.

        Holmes County on the other hand also has one of the largest Amish populations by sheer numbers, but the total county population is only around 45,000, so it’s a much more “Amish” county in that sense.

        • *
          Jenifer Margison
          Comment on 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities (March 13th, 2018 at 23:15)

          I was just wondering why there is never any mention of the Amish in the Hardin and Marion Counties of Ohio.. I love going to the little home bakeries in the Kenton, LaRue, and Belfountain areas. You can actually get goods for true wholesale prices in these places because there us no middleman.

  • *
    Dave C
    Comment on 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities (February 10th, 2018 at 09:07)

    Good post Eric. How about 5 Amish strengths for quality of life; high employment & literacy, low poverty, good life expectancy, low crime rates, and generally high rates of life satisfaction. John Booker made the wrong choice in Witness 🙂

  • *
    Ren Semans
    Comment on Outhouses (June 27th, 2018 at 11:48)


    I was raised by my Church of the Brethren grandfather. The house that I grew up in did not have running water until FIVE years after I left!

    Most of my friends were long time friends that an outhouse never really seemed that strange to them, but when my circle of friends increased, it became embarrassing to say the least.

    We had a hand pump on the back porch with a ceramic sink that emptied through a pipe which led to the outside. The foot-wide “stream” flowed downhill to the fields. We had a dirt path to the outhouse and had to check for snakes on occasion.

    When I had my first English Composition class in college, we had to write a descriptive document. I chose writing about our outhouse; got an A! Ours was pretty special as it had a cement floor and an actual toilet seat. Still it was pretty cold in the wintertime!

Leave a reply to 5 Things You’ll Find in the Plainest Amish Communities


Resource List
Reliable information from one of the largest Amish sites on the web.

Join over 15,000 email subscribers to get:
Amish Community Info | Book Giveaways | Amish Writers & non-Amish Experts | More

Get email updates

100% Free | No Spam | Unsubscribe Anytime