14 responses to Visiting The Amish of Big Valley – Part 1: The Belleville Market & Auction
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    Mark — Holmes Co.
    Comment on Visiting The Amish of Big Valley – Part 1: The Belleville Market & Auction (May 3rd, 2016 at 09:58)

    Interesting! A few notes… The single suspender is also worn by the two Amish groups that drive yellow buggies. (And yes, there are two separate groups.) There are no Old Order Mennonites in Big Valley. The black buckboards are driven by black & yellow top Amish; the brown version without a dashboard is used by the Nebraska Amish.
    There are 5 groups of Nebraska Amish. As far as I know, the Zook group is the only one to use battery lights on buggies, though I may be mistaken. Another group might possibly have adapted them as well, as we heard they were considering it after one of their members had not one but two bad buggy wrecks in less than a year’s time. Note also that black & yellow buggies have only one headlight, while the Nebraska group immediately adapted two. 🙂 They also use rear-view mirrors, which are not found on other Nebraska buggies.
    An interesting post!

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    Mark — Holmes Co.
    Comment on Visiting The Amish of Big Valley – Part 1: The Belleville Market & Auction (May 3rd, 2016 at 10:35)

    The battery lights are fairly recent. About 5 years ago I had heard some had started using them, but I got the impression it was something that was mostly among the youth. A year ago when we visited relatives in Big Valley, we saw several of the Zook group with lights and were told they had now allowed them. That particular group is not very big and is scattered around the lower end of the Valley, so a visitor might not see a lot of them. Before they got the lights, that group had adapted colored reflectors as long as 20 years ago and some buggies were really souped up with reflectors.

  • Are there other groups of Amish in the Big Valley that are not Nebraska Amish?

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    Mark — Holmes Co.
    Comment on Visiting The Amish of Big Valley – Part 1: The Belleville Market & Auction (May 3rd, 2016 at 16:08)

    There are 8 groups of Amish in Big Valley — 5 Nebraska groups (white tops), 2 Byler groups (yellow-tops) and the Renno group (some might call them the Peachey group) with black-tops. So, yes, there are.

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    Bill Rushby
    Comment on Another Group in Big Valley (May 3rd, 2016 at 17:20)

    Another Group in Big Valley

    There were formerly New Order Amish in Big Valley too, but they had some church trouble, and disbanded. Some moved to Ohio, and some joined the Holdeman Mennonites.

  • This is fascinating! I was aware of the Nebraska Amish and other Amish in Big Valley, but I had no idea there were five different groups of Nebraska Amish. Do you know how long this has been true, Mark, and/or when the first split occurred? “The Amish of Big Valley” would be an interesting book, it sounds like.

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    Comment on Living in the Valley (May 4th, 2016 at 07:12)

    Living in the Valley

    I live here and didn’t realize there were 5 groups just within the Nebraska Amish. In the valley we refer to the 3 groups as white toppers, yellow toppers or black toppers, noted by the color of their buggies. While they are alike in common ways, they are very different in other ways. Still all are very interesting and unique, and amazing how they have kept rooted in their traditions, even though they have adapted some modern conveniences like use of cellphones and battery operated tools, etc. Eric, you must stop by again! Last time I was working, but now my husband and I are retired, except for still running our bed and breakfast. Hope to see you on your next trip to the valley!!

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      Comment on 5 Nebraska Amish groups (May 4th, 2016 at 07:22)

      5 Nebraska Amish groups

      That’s something I didn’t know at first but learned some time ago, and became evident to me when I spent some time with cell-phone using members of a Nebraska church. In the past, Nebraska Amish have been described as among the most conservative, but that description may no longer be true or require more nuance than at one time. I have a similar question to Emily above, not sure when the splits originated. I do know someone who keeps close track of these things and maybe he could lend some insight.

      I’d love to drop in again, last time I was in Big Valley with a friend from Lancaster and we missed catching you in Claudia. Will be sure to try again on my next visit, I did enjoy seeing the B and B, it’s in a lovely location!

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    Mark — Holmes Co.
    Comment on Visiting The Amish of Big Valley – Part 1: The Belleville Market & Auction (May 4th, 2016 at 08:07)

    The Nebraska Amish formed in 1881 (splitting away from what is now the Byler Amish, or yellow toppers). In 1933 the Nebraska Amish split again. The next divisions were in my lifetime, but I don’t have the dates. (I looked up the dates I put in here.) Both of the two older Nebraska groups had a split, bringing the total of Nebraska groups in Big Valley to four. Within the last 15 years, one of those groups had another division. This does not include the OTHER Nebraska subgroups in Winfield, PA. They have communities in McClure, Winfiend, Penns Valley, and also Andover, OH, and a new community in NY (I believe it’s called Hammondsport, but please excuse me if I have that name wrong.)
    Adding to the “variety” is the fact some members living in one community might actually have their church membership in a separate community. There are a few families in McClure who do not belong to either of the two groups there, so they make the 25 or so miles trip to Big Valley for church every other week.
    The Nebraska Amish are often called the most conservative of all, and two of the groups are very conservative, but a few are surprisingly progressive in material things, like the cell phones Erik mentioned and also gas fridges, freezers, lighting, and solar panels. Compared to the Swartzentrubers, all of the Nebraskas might be considered a bit more advanced in most areas. The conservative Nebraskas may not mow lawn, for example, but do hired drivers and work in pallet shops, swamills, and the like.
    I don’t know if I can/ should do this, but if you want to see nice photos of Nebraska Amish, check out Bill Coleman’s Gallery website.

  • A very educational post, and I always appreciate your first person info, Mark!

    Would you or Erik have an idea of how many Amish (altogether) inhabit the Big Valley area? It SOUNDS well-populated!

    Thank you!

    Alice Mary

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    Mark — Holmes Co.
    Comment on Visiting The Amish of Big Valley – Part 1: The Belleville Market & Auction (May 4th, 2016 at 13:55)

    I do not have a current directory, but based on what I do know, I am going to say there are at least 28 and possibly as many as 30 church districts of Amish living in Big Valley. (That includes everyone no matter which Amish group they belong to.) This does not include neighboring valleys or communities, just Big Valley.

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    Robert W. Pappenfort
    Comment on Roofs for Amish Carriages (May 5th, 2016 at 09:13)

    Roofs for Amish Carriages

    As a chemical engineer I would recommend that all Amish carriages be structural modified with sturdy metal roofs; such that they can withstand Baseball size hailstones as these types of storms are occurring more frequently. Strong Metal roofs of different colors screwed to the top may be need as we are experiencing a 200 year weather cycle which can be deadly so be PREPARED FOR THE WORST> Over the past five years throughout the world the weather is changing due to a meteor that hit Siberia a few years ago and caused the jet streams to move differently and on top of that many drivers are DRUNK on the highways and are not Paying ATTENTION TO ANYTHING. SAFETY FIRST!!! Remember when George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776 there was a little ICE AGE. When Man was not on this EARTH, Dinosaurs roamed The North Pole and Alaska.

    Robert W. Pappenfort
    Founder and President
    Pappenfort Oil Co.
    Little Rock, Arkansas
    Greenfield, Iowa

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