A single Amish settlement was founded in South Dakota in 2010
Amish have attempted to settle in North Dakota on numerous occasions. They’ve paid much less attention to the other Dakota, better known for its communities of Hutterites, Anabaptist cousins to the Amish.
While North Dakota has no existing Amish communities today, a single Amish settlement is now found in South Dakota, started by Wisconsin Amish in 2010.
Amish in South Dakota
In July of 2010, the Yankton Press & Dakotan reported that 5 Wisconsin Amish families (hailing from the Tomah Amish community) had settled the area near the town of Tripp in Hutchinson County in southeastern South Dakota, “with more families expected soon” (‘Elbow Room’, Yankton Press & Dakotan, Randy Dockendorf, July 17, 2010).
The group made news as South Dakota previously had no Amish presence, though numerous Hutterite colonies have long existed in the state (the largest US Hutterite presence is found in South Dakota, with around 60 colonies).
It was also noteworthy in the context of greater Westward migration by Amish to states such as Colorado, Nebraska, and Montana.
New settler Mary Borntreger explained that the group “needed some elbow room” as the Tomah community had gotten too crowded for their liking. Borntreger also described receiving a warm welcome from the local English community.
The Hutchinson County group is a conservative bunch, using buggies with removable storm fronts and relying on neighbors’ phones when needed (‘Elbow Room’). On arrival, the newcomer Amish erected barns and began holding a weekly bake sale (‘Study: Amish expand westward, including South Dakota’, AP/Rapid City Journal, July 28, 2010).
This settlement is very young and it remains to be seen how it will develop, though early reports seem positive that more Amish intend to settle the area.
For further information, see:
“Amish Population by State (2010)” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College(http://www2.etown.edu/amishstudies/Population_by_State_2010.asp)
Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites, Donald B. Kraybill
‘Elbow Room’, Yankton Press & Dakotan, Randy Dockendorf, July 17, 2010
‘Study: Amish expand westward, including South Dakota’, AP/Rapid City Journal, July 28, 2010
The Amish in America: Settlements That Failed 1840-1960, David Luthy
Amish Settlements Across America: 2008, David Luthy
The New American Almanac 2011, Raber’s Bookstore (Baltic, Ohio), Ben J. Raber
Looking for more good reading on the Amish? Check out our list of best Amish books.