On Several Occasions, Amish Have Called Georgia Home
Georgia – along with South Carolina – are two states which people often wonder about, regarding the Amish. Are there any Amish communities in those states?
Maybe it’s because they border other states with Amish, and Amish have been settling in the South in greater numbers over the past decade. However, neither state has an Old Order Amish population today (though both do have Beachy Amish populations).
That noted, Amish have called Georgia home relatively recently. Specifically, the vicinity of Uvalda in Montgomery County, for a relatively brief spell in the 1990s.
I don’t know much about this community, but for a few details I was able to glean from one of David Luthy’s publications on failed settlements, and some comments from a reader of this site, from about a decade back.
From 1990 to 1995, Amish lived near the town of Uvalda. The reader’s comment does not exactly tell you a whole lot, but does confirm that Amish once lived there:
I have a picture of an Amish buggy that I had taken while I was there in 1995, I just have to find it. I had met with a family there because I was looking at that time to buy Amish made crafts for a small sideline business that I had at that time. I heard about it while reading the Budget, so I drove there while I lived in Florida
If he was there in 1995 then that was in the last days of this settlement. No telling what happened to the Amish, where they were from, or where they ended up. Amish settlements fail for a number of common reasons, often but not always economic.
This community does appear in David Luthy’s addendum handbook Why Some Amish Communities Fail: Extinct Settlements, 1961-2011. But unlike in his book The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed, 1840-1960, he only provides histories for a handful of the communities in that one.
Georgia Amish Settlements of Long Ago
If we look into the more distant past, we find that Amish have lived in Georgia on at least two other occasions. Once was in Pulaski County (Hawkinsville) for three years in the 1910s. Issues with farm ownership contributed to that community’s failure. A second settlement, the longest-lived of the bunch, was at Surrency in Appling County.
From 1914 to 1937 Amish called this corner of southeast Georgia (not far from the location of the future Uvalda settlement) home. Apparently, despite the pleasant climate, conditions were not too favorable to raising crops there. One former Amish settler recalled the land as “rough, no man’s land with no clear land for cultivation.” Luthy also describes the area as “backward in regards to raising livestock”, as it lacked fencing laws (see The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed, 1840-1960 by David Luthy, pp. 69-72)
So that’s it, Amish have lived in Georgia in just three instances in their long history in America. Will we see Amish in Georgia again? I’m not sure if there are any external factors preventing them from settling there (eg, local laws that might make operating their schools more difficult or other ordinances). If not, I’d expect it to happen sooner or later.
Amish in Georgia
When my Father was a young boy, his Old Order Amish family moved to Surrency, Georgia, lived and worked there for a number of years, before relocating to Northern Indiana. About fifteen years ago, I took my 90 year old Dad to revisit Surrency. He recognized the landmarks, and we met people who remembered the Amish community. I have photographs of the town, the cemetery with gravestones bearing names of the Amish who lived there, and a conservation area which is still named after the Amish family. He told me many stories about what it was like to live there.
How neat to hear from someone with a connection to this community and learn that there are still markers of the Amish who once lived there. The cemeteries and gravestones are the landmarks which last the longest. Also nice to learn of the conversation area. I bet you heard some interesting reminiscences from your father.
How do I get in contact with you? Here in St Mary’s County, MD, we have several Amish and Mennonite communities about whom most of our residents know very little. Please email me.
My kids were on a trip recently and passed through a rural area somewhere near Cartersville in North Georgia. They saw a buggy road sign and wondered if there were Amish living nearby. I knew there are no Old Order in Georgia…so I suppose it may have been a Beachy or Old Order Mennonite community?
I lived and worked not far from this Georgia Amish community.
During the 90’s my wife and I lived not too far from this area and I worked in Vidalia, which was even closer to them. I remember the Amish couple who lived there. Good story, the first time I saw the Amish, I was going home from work and I saw some Amish kids selling corn along side of the highway. In astonishment, I stopped and asked them where they were from. The kids told me they were from Tennessee. I knew they did not travel down there from Tennessee just to sell corn. I bought some of their corn and less than a mile down the road at the forks of the highway were the men of the family. Also selling produce. I asked at work about the Amish I had seen and I was informed that there was indeed an Amish family living close by. I believe near Long Pond. They came to town frequently and trqded with us in the hardware store I worked at. They did not stay long because they could not get other families to move down. I’m not surprised. We did not have airconditioning but they did not have airconditioning or so much as a box fan. And I will tell you it is hot as hell in that part of Georgia in the summer. As a matter of fact, I was told they put the kitchen stove on the back porch so they could stand to cook in the summer.
I am interested in locating an actual Amish store or market where I can purchase actual Amish products made by the Amish near Charleston, SC.
Where I can perhaps find Fabric and perhaps patterns.
I also wondered if the Amish make and process food products without:
sugar,white flour, potato, corn , peas, artificial sweeteners, cornstarch, I cannot have any of the listed items so it’s tough to find foods I won’t have the burning reaction to. Sugars burn in my body and are painful, thankfully if I drink lots of water, it flushes through but the flushing process takes a while. I thank you for this open option to enquire. Thank you for your time in answering my question, I appreciate it. The above information are valid and accurate, thank you.