25 responses to The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement
  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 25th, 2011 at 07:39)

    Interesting story Erik and from the sounds of it, this Amish community seems to maybe be on its way out. Maybe the horrible housing market has slowed the buying of land by home builders, and since the land is now worth a little less some Amish maybe holding out to sell. Don’t get me wrong I’m very pro saving farmland, and having a strong farmland saving organization helps in a very big way. So I’m not sure about Delaware’s land savings programs, if they even have anything in place. The state of Pennsylvania does, although that has been effected because of resent budget cuts. Sadly this wont be the first time a Amish community has dissolved, and somehow it becomes a little more sad when it happens right in front of your eyes. Richard. Pennsylvania.

    • *
      Raymond L. Hickman
      Comment on The steadfastness of the Amish in Delaware USA (April 12th, 2013 at 12:16)

      The steadfastness of the Amish in Delaware USA

      This community is not on it’s way out. Pennsylvania Amish will be gone before this community of Amish is gone. They are supported and appreciated by all the “English” among them. They are devout and very much true to their word. They are the stablizer for the communities that surround them.

      • *
        Comment on Amish (August 24th, 2018 at 15:29)


        Here it is 2018 and the Amish are very much apart of our community here in Smyrna and Dover Delaware. Buggies are still trotting along the roads although, I do see some Amish traveling in Ubers or even driving themselves in vehicles on 13. My house backs up to an Amish farm in Kent County, I hope they stay forever.

  • *
    Comment on Delaware Amish population (March 25th, 2011 at 07:58)

    Delaware Amish population

    Richard glad you enjoyed it, I should emphasize here that it is still a sizeable community. My hunch is that there’ll be a Dover Amish community for quite awhile yet, though the departure rate has been pretty rapid for at least the last few years.

    When the new directory comes out we’ll get a better sense of how things stand. For this I had to basically estimate the current population; as of 2011 there are 9 districts. In 2005 there were also 9 districts, but they were pretty large on average (37 households each).

    It’s a good question about the farmland program. I know PA has been pretty aggressive on that front but have no idea of what Delaware might have in place.

    Maybe one of the Delawareans reading this could let us know!

    • *
      Comment on farmland perservations (October 14th, 2012 at 19:54)

      farmland perservations

      I am not aware of any preservation of farmland…I do know that there are several wet-lands perservations. I would think that out west of Dover and off Rt9 in the Kent county area that there are some farmlands that are never going away. We thrive off the farmland. I know that NJ has some type of program. I grew up in Dover…

    • *
      Comment on Land preservation (October 4th, 2017 at 15:06)

      Land preservation

      There is a preservation program here It has been very politically motivated If you are selling home made things from your farm, or you are having people pay for a farm related service called Agri tourism you will not be accepted into the program . The reason given by the Sec of ag here in de is they will lose their federal funding for the program. So far no one has been able to receive that federal funding. There have been several attempts to legislate farm land preservation for farms who do participate in agritorisum. These attempts have failed. The average amount of money that has been paid out to preserve a few farms here in de is about $2000 per acre ,a one time pay out. Those farms received state funding not federal In the time of budget crunches I woul say you won’t see any time soon any farms being preserved here in de The developers seem to have the upper hand.

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 25th, 2011 at 08:57)

    Hi Erik and Richard. I am from Milford, Delaware and raised Mennonite. My mother was raised Amish out in Yoder, KS and moved to Delaware when she was about 12 yrs old, changing over to “conservative” Mennonite.

    Delaware does have a “Farm Preservation” program, but I can’t give you all the particulars.

    For years I have shopped at Byler’s store that sits at the corner of Route 8 and Rose Valley School Road (west of Dover). It just amazes me how going west of Dover the area has grown/expanded with homes, condos, etc. One certainly can’t blame the Amish for leaving that area. The traffic is unreal. Oh, and don’t forget the ones that moved here because they found the area so “quaint”. They loved seeing the buggies, the farmland and such, only to fuss and complain about the horse “manure” on the roads, even taking it as far as complaining to our local paper “The Delaware State News”. Most of us say, you have seen our “manure”, now go home!!!! lol

  • *
    Comment on Visiting the Delaware Amish (March 25th, 2011 at 09:10)

    Visiting the Delaware Amish

    Well put Betsy 🙂 I’ve never gotten the manure complaints by the city transplants. And then to complain in the paper. Mind-numbing.

    I did drop in to Byler’s–mostly English shopping there but there was at least one Amish family.

    I had only scooted through Delaware once before this trip (I’ll be honest–I was traveling around eastern PA and took a wrong turn that led me in to Wilmington) but I enjoyed my first real visit to the state and to the Amish settlement.

    I had always heard of the land pressures for the Dover Amish, but what surprised me most when researching this was that Dover is so small population-wise.

    The Allen County IN community I mentioned in the post is right up against Fort Wayne, which is about 7 times larger, but you don’t hear of the same issues.

    Of course you do have to take the overall population density into account and the fact that land in the East is going to generally be higher than in the Midwest.

    Anyway, great to hear from a native Delawarean, hope we’ll hear more from you Betsy!

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 25th, 2011 at 14:37)

    My understanding is that the Halifax County, Virginia Amish settlement near Nathalie was founded by folks who left the Dover area. I can understand why they left. My father’s family was originally from the Sussex County Delaware area and I am still amazed at the amount of growth there since I was a child.

    • *
      Comment on Nathalie Va Amish Community (November 1st, 2016 at 16:42)

      Nathalie Va Amish Community

      It is true that many of the Amish Families that started the Amish Community here in Nathalie Va.
      Coblitz, Miller, Byler,Swartzentruber.
      All of these Families are a great addition to our Community. At this point they have 2 Churches, 3 Schools and approx 60 families. They have A Store, Harness shop, drygoods store, sewing and sundry store, furniture store and a shed shop.. there are carpenters, Masons, framers, poll building makers. They are now putting up chicken houses to sell Organic Free Range eggs.
      We are blessed to have them as dear friends and Neighbors..

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 25th, 2011 at 15:22)

    hi Betsy. I’m glad that Delaware has a farm preservation program, and even thought that state is facing the same problems that most states are now coming to gripes with, maybe they can stop or slow the Amish from leaving that state. i think there is a double edge sword when land prices become cheaper because of the economy, its more reasonable for developers to buy it, but the folks selling the land receive less than they should for it. I think one of the best ways to save farmland is through easements. Its worked pretty well in Lancaster county, and even though some farmland is being lost at least they are trying to save as much as they can. And i hope Erik is correct that about the time- table of any Amish leaving, because I’m sure what will be replacing those Amish farms will be housing and commercial developments. Richard from Lebanon’s Amish community.

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 25th, 2011 at 16:19)

    I spent about an hour driving thru the Dover countryside last week; my 3rd visit. Stopped at Bylers, Shady Lane Selections (Amish-owned variety store), and another Amish craft/scrapbooking/rubber stamp store. I see Bylers has expanded with a new location further south on Rt 13 in Harrington, near the state fairgrounds. The mid October school benefit auction on Yoder Road is worth attending – basically a “mud sale” with maybe 1500-2000 in attendance.

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 25th, 2011 at 17:07)

    Rick I dropped in to Shady Lane as well, and I bet we were at the same stamp shop (big trampoline out back). As I drove home to NC, I remember passing a Byler’s a good ways out of Dover–maybe that was the one you mean.

    I remember that you sent me the first batch of Dover photos a few years back.

    • *
      Cindy Linthicum
      Comment on Ruber Stamp/Scrapbooking store address?? (February 3rd, 2014 at 15:12)

      Ruber Stamp/Scrapbooking store address??

      Any chance you have the address or location of the rubber stamp/scrapbooking store? I frequent the ones in Lancaster County, PA and would love to check the one out in Dover, DE. Thanks!

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 25th, 2011 at 17:45)

    Thanks so much for the interesting article, Erik!

    As always I enjoyed viewing the pictures – Every picture tells a story!

    I wish I could go to some Amish places to visit and meet the people. Unfortunately, I am unable to do so.
    I have some DVDs about the Amish and some photos of Amish children and barns, love those red barns!
    Keep up the good work; I certainly appreciate your time and effort!

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 25th, 2011 at 22:10)

    Several years ago a young Amish guy was training a couple of my mares to be work horses. I would go down to his place which was about a 3 hour drive from my home and work with him as he used my mares to do his farm work. Often I would stay for several days at the farm of one of my coworkers and this would allow me to work with John for several days at a time. During those days we would literally work together for 6 to 8 hours a day, for multiple days. During those hours working together we would discuss all sorts of things. I was amazed at the understanding that he had of issues that I would have thought he would have known nothing about; such as how diesel fuel is marketed and what affects the price of it, use of futures contracts to hedge the price of it, etc.

    Anyway, at one point we started discussing family and he told me that his wife had grown up in Delaware. We talked about several aspects of this before he made this statement: “You know, all of the Amish in Delaware can only live in three counties”. I was quite taken aback, I could not imagine that any here in this country and in this day & age that anyone could be refused to live where they wanted to live. So I said, somewhat childlike; “That’s not fair! How can they do that?” He started smiling and I knew that I had been had. He said: “Well there are ONLY 3 counties in Delaware”. Then he added; “That’s a little Amish joke we like to tell someone that is not one of our people”. He was absolutely beaming when I told him that he got me; hook, line and sinker.

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 26th, 2011 at 00:26)

    You mentioned that some of those who leave have gone to Virginia. Where else do they go? Some of the previous generations did some long-distance migrations to get to Delaware (from NoDak even!) so I’m curious as to whether there is much long-distance migration away from there.

    (And as a former North Dakotan, I’m curious about where in that state they came from.)

  • *
    Comment on Former North Dakota Amish settlements (March 26th, 2011 at 04:24)

    Former North Dakota Amish settlements

    Spokesrider though there are no North Dakota Amish settlements today, there have been at least 4 in the late 1800s/1st half 1900s.

    The first and as far as I know longest-lived was in Pierce and Rolette Counties. It grew to 2 congregations at one point, went extinct in 1948 (this info is taken from David Luthy’s excellent book Settlements that Failed).

    From what I can tell this is the community which contributed at least one settler household to the Dover community (listed as David H. Yoder in the Dover directory; there is a David Yoder listed at Pierce/Rolette in Luthy’s records).

    As to where Dover exports go, there are a couple of communities in the last paragraph that are Dover-related (in KY and PA) and there are others, including in NY, MI, OH, KY (Steve Scott has a bit on this in Plain Buggies) but I’d have to confirm those to be sure on exact locations. I am curious as well b/c as I was informed it is quite a few different places. Not sure how far west they would go.

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 26th, 2011 at 04:26)

    Oldkat, great story, it rings a bell 🙂

    Heard another one while in PA: Did you know that Amish don’t have to pay to get on the PA turnpike?

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 26th, 2011 at 04:27)

    That’s right, but they have to pay to get off 😉 (money collected on exiting… har har)

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (March 26th, 2011 at 10:35)

    I don’t know if this is the reason they left, but I suspect that by the late 1940s Pierce and Rolett Counties, along with much of the Dakotas, had grown more inhospitable to non-mechanized, large-scale agriculture than many other agricultural regions.

    It’s interesting how the people leaving the Dover settlements are scattering in so many directions. I had always thought of Amish emigrations as a communal activity — maybe not quite like the Hutterite system — but that groups of families would go off to form a new settlement. Each family going its own way seems a bit individualistic for the Amish, but maybe it’s different when they join existing settlements elsewhere.

  • *
    Ms. Nurse
    Comment on Delaware Amish (May 17th, 2011 at 13:59)

    Delaware Amish

    We live in Delaware and have an Amish farmer; we really appreciate the products that we purchase from him and his family. I would like to know if there is a way that I can learn where the different farms, grennhouses and other Amish owned shop are located in order to purchase goods and/or services directly from them. We occasionally shop at Bylers and make purchases at the greenhouse near Bylers. We welcome and appreciate any information that you can provide. Thank you in advance!

  • *
    Michelle Griep
    Comment on picture question (January 31st, 2012 at 08:32)

    picture question

    May I use the to photo to accent a blog post I’m doing? It’s a fantastic shot!

  • *
    Comment on Amish in de (September 15th, 2017 at 22:41)

    Amish in de

    To the question about land preservation in de We farm in new castle co de. We wanted to put our farm in the farm land preservation and were told we can’t because we do what is called agritorusum. The Sec of ag said the state would loose their federal funding if they put us in that program. They buy your development rights and you receive about $2000 per acre You can still sell your farm but the rights still remain on that farm and can’t be sold for development We have made several attempts through legislation to change this to no avail The developers seem to have the upper hand Our farm is surrounded by development here in new castle co and traffic is horrific and machinery must be moved at night I can’t imagine a horse and buggy trying to navigate here Our new neighbors aren’t very tolerable if you have a slow moving vehicle to say the least

  • *
    Comment on The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement (April 22nd, 2018 at 16:01)

    I think there is still plenty of room for the Amish in Delaware, especially Sussex and Kent. Even parts of Southern New Castle County. A lot of the farmland is being eaten away near Dover, Symarna, and especially near Middletown. All three are growing and developing towns with lots of farmland on the outskirts and backroads.

    I drove through Amish areas today, and the extent of the current community stretches from western Dover near Dover HS to east of Hartly, DE. However, both east and west of Hartly is still plenty of farmland. The roads in the Amish community are nowhere near as congested as Lancaster. The Lancaster community is probably more endangered than the Dover community. The farmland around Dover and other areas is very profitable and unlikely to entirely be purchased by developers.

Leave a reply to The Dover, Delaware Amish settlement


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