This article in USA Today looks at Amish growth in Tennessee. As of 2012, the Young Center lists the number of Amish settlements in Tennessee at 6. UPDATE: As of 2014, the Tennessee Amish population has grown to 8 communities and a population of over 2,300.
As the largest in the state, the Ethridge Amish settlement is the focus of the news piece. Nothing is happening at Ethridge that isn’t happening elsewhere: Amish are having big families, land is getting scarce (or it feels that way, at least), some people are thinking of relocating.
And some have. The article describes how about 100 Amish from Ethridge have settled near the town of Stantonville, about 80 miles west of the Ethridge community. Stantonville is just a few hundred people in size; nearby Adamsville provides the Amish with grocery stores and other businesses to patronize.
The area is adjusting to the Amish. The Adamsville mayor notes that manure on the roads is the biggest problem. Amish will either pick it up, or it will go to fertilize the town’s flower beds.
Buggies, however, still might not be a sight all are used to seeing in the Stantonville area. Here’s a note from a Stantonville-area scribe from a recent issue of The Diary:
Three of my well known shop customers (non-Amish) were driving horse & buggies got hit from a car, demolished 2 buggies, damaged the 3rd. one. Several people got hurt but none very serious. The think the driver was on drugs. Have a good month.
Growing across the nation
The practice of Amish founding new communities near a small town, in sometimes rather remote places, is common. Amish America readers have observed similar migration across the country. A reader from Labette/Neosho Counties in Kansas:
The folks here started moving in about the time we arrived, first ones getting here in 2006/2007 I believe. They come from Seymour MO, which came from Indiana. These are conservative Swiss Amish. Seymour has begun to get too crowded and expensive – become kind of an outlying suburb area for the Branson area.
Other, more controversial factors may influence the decision to move. A reader in Marathon, NY:
We have a new Amish community here in Marathon,NY (Cortland County. They hail from the Punxatawney/Smicksburg, PA area). And I drove a couple over to another community about and hour and a half east of here today…
One more reason for them to move here: natural resources! This community seems to come from an area where natural gas drilling is established. That was one of the deciding factors for establishing this community. The land prices were cheap because gas exploration was in it’s early stages. And most land didn’t have a gas lease yet. From what I’ve seen… almost every new Amish family signs a gas lease as soon as possible after they have purchased the property.
Are Amish branching out in your state? Any idea where, and why?
One effect of Amish growth is greater availability of Amish products such as furniture. Read more about Amish Furniture in Nashville.