15 responses to Four Holmes County Amish groups
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    Comment on Amish Groups (December 20th, 2011 at 07:32)

    Amish Groups

    Thanks for the explanation of “some” of the many groups of the Amish; I’m wondering what “district”, “settlement”, or “affiliation” are some of the Amish that are seen in the Mitchell, Indiana area (southern part of state)? While visiting our friends there, last year, we were told of them, and saw a few, in buggies, but our friends didn’t know ‘which’ group they might be of. Any ideas?

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      Comment on Four Holmes County Amish groups (December 20th, 2011 at 15:24)

      Hi Sharon, I’m not really familiar with that community–which county is it? District is more a general term for congregation, while settlement would just be any established Amish community. Affiliation is more the “type” of Amish.

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        Comment on Amish groups (December 20th, 2011 at 16:03)

        Amish groups

        Hi, Erik,

        That would be Lawrence County, (Mitchell & Bedford) Indiana. Glad you cleared it up, about which is district, settlement and affiliation. There is so many different ones, it’s hard to know which is what. LOL

        Thanks, SharonR

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          Al in Ky.
          Comment on Four Holmes County Amish groups (December 20th, 2011 at 19:32)

          Sharon and Erik — See my longer reply below. I forgot to
          mention in it that though most of the Swartzentruber Amish in this
          settlement live in Orange County and have Orleans or Paoli
          addresses, several of the families live in Lawrence County
          and have Mitchell addresses.

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    Comment on Four Holmes County Amish groups (December 20th, 2011 at 09:15)

    My father was born Amish in Holmes County but grew up Conservative Mennonite. Interestingly, both him and my uncle refer to Swartzentruber as Old Order and “regular” Amish as just Amish.

    I don’t know if anyone else uses it that way. Could just be an anomaly.

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    Comment on Four Holmes County Amish groups (December 20th, 2011 at 19:01)


    There are so many divisions. Which was the origanal that migrated to America?

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      Comment on Four Holmes County Amish groups (December 21st, 2011 at 00:55)

      There were 2 main migration periods of Amish to North America. The first was in the mid-1700s. They started in the area north of what is now greater Philadelphia, PA(Berks Co). They soon moved to Lancaster Co. and several other places in PA. Later they migrated to OH, IN, and IA. Most of the Amish all across North America are decedent from these original stock. These Amish speak a German dialect from the what was called the Alsace region. It is now called PA Dutch by outsiders and Deitsch by the Amish.

      The second migration was just before the American Civil War and these Amish are all called ‘Swiss’ Amish as they speak a dialect that comes from that region of Europe. They setting in several Mid-west communities, some of which are now extinct. They remain in Adams, Allen, Davies counties of Indiana and Aylmer Ontario. They have several daughter communities too. Most notably Seymour, Mo and Branch and Hillsdale Cos, MI.

      When Swiss Amish meet non-Swiss Amish, they often have to speak English, as the 2 dialects are just too different to communicate.

      If you want more details about Amish coming to America, I suggest ‘A History of the Amish’ by Steven M. Nolt.

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    Al in Ky.
    Comment on Four Holmes County Amish groups (December 20th, 2011 at 19:24)

    I have several Amish friends in that area and visit there often.
    I have heard the settlement called by several different names —
    the “Orleans Settlement”, the “Orange County Settlement” or
    the “Orangeville Settlement”.
    There are three districts in the settlement — Orleans North,
    Orleans South, and Mitchell South. Mitchell South is sometimes
    called the Shetler District, taking the name of their bishop,
    Mose Shetler. Their affiliation is Swartzentruber Amish, one
    of the most conservative Amish affiliations.

    This group is not to be confused with the Amish who live mostly
    east of Paoli. Though the Paoli group is similar to the Orleans
    group in dress,low use of technology, non-use of SMV signs, etc., they are simply considered Old Order Amish and are not of the
    Swartzentruber affiliation.

    If you would stand on the Orange County/Washington County border
    near Livonia, within a twenty mile radius are four different
    Amish groups — Swartzentruber, Old Order near Paoli, Old Order
    near Salem, and New Order. The book Plain Diversity does a good
    job in explaining the differences and similarities between the
    groups. Reminds me a little of the four groups of Holmes County,
    though there are no Andy Weaver Amish in this Indiana area.

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      Comment on Amish Groups (December 20th, 2011 at 20:19)

      Amish Groups

      Thanks AL — for your explanations of the settlements in Lawrence County, Indiana! Will have to look for the book you mentioned — Plain Diversity.
      Thanks, SharonR

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      Comment on Four Holmes County Amish groups (December 21st, 2011 at 00:38)


      In addition to the 4 current communities you mentioned, there are two defunct communities in the same 20 mile radius.

      There was a community north of Salem that was basically just like the main Elkhart/LaGrange/Nappanee Indiana community. It lasted about 10 years and achieved about 20 families in size before drifting apart. The last 2 families moved out about one year ago.

      Also, there was a buggy driving Old Order Mennonite group that was right on the Orange/Washington county line that never had more than 4 families. It lasted only a few years and ended more than a decade ago. They are still fondly remembered in the area.

      There is a non-plain, Holderman Mennonite church in between the Old Order and the New Order that really tried for a while to recruit from all the area Amish. To the best of my knowledge, none ever made the change. Their church is on Hardinsburg-Livonia Rd, just south of Livonia.

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    Comment on Details, details, details (December 20th, 2011 at 22:22)

    Details, details, details

    This is interesting stuff, thanks for elaborating on the who’s who.
    I have a quick question for everyone, by whom or how are district and settlements named? Is it done by the Amish folk gathering there, by the other communities living there, is it based on the nearest English community? How does that element work.

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    Comment on Naming the Community (December 21st, 2011 at 00:26)

    Naming the Community

    Communities are named by Amish that settle them. Divisions among the Amish have created different traditions. It is these traditions that dictate whether a community is named after a town, county, region or state. In other words, there is no set pattern among them, its just whatever they want. Makes studying them more interesting.

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      Comment on Amish district names (December 21st, 2011 at 07:56)

      Amish district names

      I agree with Lance, it is very interesting. If you look in Raber’s Almanac, for instance, basically all of the districts are given geographical names.

      But if you look in individual communities’ church directories, you may see bishops’ names given to identify the district. This is the case with Allen County, Indiana, or New Wilmington, PA, for example–geographical name in Raber’s, bishop’s name in their home directories.

      This may just reflect that Amish know districts better by who the leadership is rather than by a place name or cardinal point.

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    Teresa B.
    Comment on Holmes county history (June 5th, 2012 at 09:42)

    Holmes county history

    Through my genealogy searches, I discovered that my great grandfather (Welch) was born in 1864 in Holmes county, at Holmesville, Ohio. He was of Scotch-Irish descent. Were the Amish located in Holmes county, Ohio during that time period? I have never heard of an Amish affiliation in my family. I do know that his family later traveled by covered wagon to Kansas, where they settled.

    Can you or any of your readers help with an answer to this? Thank you for your time.

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