The Amish of Garnett, Kansas
Earlier this year Tom Geist shared his visits to Amish communities in Plains States, including Chouteau, Oklahoma, Hutchinson County, South Dakota, four Nebraska communities, and Yoder, Kansas.
The Amish have a scattered presence across the Great Plains, which you can see in this map taken from a directory dedicated to those states (photo by Janar S).
Today Tom gives us a look at another Kansas Amish community, at Garnett in the eastern end of the state (Anderson County).
When it comes to age, Kansas only has two types of settlements: the very old (100+ years) and the young (founded since 2000).
Garnett belongs to the former group, having been founded in 1903 by Amish from Reno County, and boosted the following year by arrivals from Mississippi.
Like other Kansas settlements, the Garnett group is small in size (no Kansas settlement is larger than 3 churches).
Garnett Amish on NatGeo
You can catch a video glimpse of the Garnett community thanks to the National Geographic special “Amish at the Altar“.
A few years ago Amish from the Garnett settlement (a young man and his fiancee, along with his parents) appeared on camera for the program.
In the clip below, “elder” Laverne Keim discusses his community’s views on premarital sex, starting at about the 2:15 mark.
Tom’s visit to the Amish o f Anderson County, KS
Garnett, Kansas has a population around 3,325. The Amish population is around 47 families, which encompasses 3 church districts.
I was struck by the lack of Amish stores here given the size of the community.
I was told that the Amish do not have a school just for their own kids either, but rather have a school that is paid for by public funds, but only has a couple of English families that attend it.
The community has some benefits/fund raisers, but usually only to help pay medical bills. They do allow English to attend these.
I met Mrs Harley C Yoder (Ruth Ann) who writes for “The Budget,” an Amish newspaper. No one in the area writes for the Die Botschaft.
Here is a Amish farm in Garnett on a somewhat rainy day.
Schmucker’s Store. Elmer and Katie run this store at 19777 NW 1700 Rd-Garnett,KS.
They sell herbs, vitamins some books and a few other staple items.
This seemed to be the only Amish store in Garnett, now that an Amish grocery store closed down this spring in Welda, KS. (about 9 miles from Garnett).
Read more on the Amish at Garnett, KS.
Very interesting. I didn’t know there was more than one Amish community in Kansas. I will have to check these out some time when I am in Kansas to visit family.
There are several Amish communities in Kansas. If you go to Garnett you might as well go to Fort Scott and also Chetopa Kansas as well. In Parsons Kansas you have the hardcore Swiss Amish which are growing very fast. When I was there a few months ago they had 79 families. They are an off branch of the Swiss from Seymour Missouri… which were from Berne, Indiana.
I am not sure which place you were aware of in Kansas… maybe Yoder. There is also a community in the Marysville Kansas area, though they are small.
Tom in Lincoln
Sometimes its annoying living in Australia.
I never get to see the great videos that you post.
I’m sorry to hear that Julie. I know you’ve had that issue before. Do they block everything from Youtube? When I’m in Poland I can usually always view videos on that site, however I think some other services like Hulu don’t work there.
Thanks Tom and Erik.
Perhaps that Amish grocery store closing would be a good opportunity for the Schmuckers to expand to serve their community. I hope the community survives & prospers. It does seem odd that there aren’t many stores there…or is that one way to keep pesky tourists away? 😉
Tom, interesting to hear about that Swiss Amish group expanding so quickly! I wonder why they chose Kansas? I’ll make a mental note to keep tabs on them!
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The Amish restaurant in Garnett is absolutely amazing !
The food was some of the best I’ve had, and our server was one of the most polite and humble.
Look forward to eating their again .
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