The Amish of Salem, Arkansas

Amish Buggy Arkansas

Don Burke has been on a tour of Amish settlements in the South and Midwest. These are his photos and account of the small community at Salem, Arkansas (Fulton County), one of only two Amish settlements in the Natural State. You can view more photos at Don’s Arkansas Amish Flickr album.

Nestled in the Ozarks of north-central Arkansas, within a dozen miles of the Missouri state line, is the little community of Salem.

After spending some length of time scouting the northern part of the state with his father and brother (Mose M. and Amos, respectively), Vernon Borntreger moved his family here from McKenzie, TN in December of 2008.

Arkansas Amish Farm

Vernon and family now operate Riverside Produce, seen here:

Amish Produce Arkansas

The next year Mose and Amos also brought their families to the area. The three families each built on 30-50 acre tracts on either side the Southfork Spring River north of Salem.

As you can see, this modest stream plays prominently in the naming of the various Amish home businesses.

Riverview General Store Salem Arkansas

This log-cabin-style house is where Mose and his wife live:

Amish Home Salem Arkansas

Mose has a harness shop (photo below), and it would seem that Mary Ellen runs the Cozy Cabin homemade baked goods store right next to their home.

Amish Harness Shop Arkansas

In 2010 the John Shelter family moved into the community from LaPlata, MO, and started a saw mill business:

Shetler's Custom Sawing

Later that same year the Levi Borntrager family moved in along the river (am I the only one hearing the old song, “Shall We Gather at the River” playing in my head? (ha)), and established a farm and woodworking shop:

Riverbank Woodworks

Levi’s son, LeRoy, lives next to his dad’s place in a combination home/store that serves as the community’s bulk food and variety store. And yes, it too is with a stone’s throw of the river.

Salem Arkansas Amish Bulk Food

This is the phone shanty near the store. As for the canoes, I’m not sure if they are rented them out, or are just for personal use by the family.

Canoes AR

Here are some other pictures taken in this small community of about 10 families (according to the 2012 Central Plains Directory).

Amish Fulton County Arkansas


Clothesline Amish Arkansas


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    1. Katie Troyer

      11 pair s of pants hanging on the wash line.

      1. Yes, Katie — that would be a lot of washing every week. But when you live in a family like this with a dad and four teenage/young adult boys still at home — and maybe some of the married sons/sones-in-law living in the same property — I guess loads like this are to be expected.

    2. Thanks Erik...

      Erik, as always I consider it an honor and privilege to have my pictures included on one of your web pages. I enjoy the opportunity to be able to visit in the various Amish communities, and it just doubles the enjoyment when I can share them with others like this. Thanks.

        1. Michelle Jarrett-Girth

          customer of the Borntreggers

          I have been taking my horses to Amos, Moses son for horseshoeing. He lives just up the road from these pics, north of the bridge and has a beautiful home and barn for his Farrier service and 5 little boys and wife. On the same road as the produce barn. Very saddened to report that Moses passed away this last few months, sorry I do not have the exact date. He passed suddenly while attending a horse sale in a nearby town with a massive heart attack. His work at the saddle and Harness shop in leather and carriage making as well was much appreciated by many all around the area and different states as well….Moses is missed and will be missed by many.. RIP Moses… and God Bless ..

          1. Crystal Bond

            I am looking for a riding and buggy horse

            I live in Malvern at and would like a riding and buggy horse if you have a way you can contact me my no is 5013372107. Maybe you can send me pictures and tell me about horse have had a standbred beforehand uf

    3. Juanita Cook

      Thank you for sharing these pictures. I always enjoy seeing all the Amish pictures and learning more about them.

    4. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man


      I really like the stop sign in the last picture.
      I somehow doubt that that is a county sanctioned road sign, but it really is cute.

      1. No, not county sanctioned....

        No, Slightly, I doubt it’s county sanctioned…., but that’s probably because this is likely not a county road. As best I could tell several of the Amish homes, businesses and even the school (which I did not get to see) are off the county road and require traveling on a private road to get back to. I didn’t notice this at first — the private road is kept up like the county road. But after passing through a couple of times I noticed a gate there at the intersection (where the sign is), so decided that it’s probably private.

    5. Forest Hazel

      Nice photos, Don. I appreciate you posting them. I didn’t get to this community when we went out thru Arkansas this summer, but it looks pleasant. We passed through several areas of North Arkansas/South Missouri that looked made to order for Amish/Mennonite settlements.

    6. I love the “whoa” stop sign.

    7. Anja van der mijle

      Hello i am Anja and i live in Holland (Dutch) and i love to read about the Amish life style.
      I would love to live with THE Amish for an amount of time. Just beginning my search for information.
      Thank you for the marvelous fotos

      1. Diana

        Come visit central Wisconsin

        We have many Amish , German Baptist in our area of central Wisconsin.
        Some of the Amish here are related/friends of the Salem Amish Community!
        We lived in Salem Arkansas for 3 year’s. We go to the General Store and Green House.
        God’s Blessings,
        Diana B

        Hillsboro, Wisconsin

    8. Joyce Bickel

      When is open breackfasts served at Salem Amish community.? I know twice a year have been their but do not remember dates. THANKS

    9. I am trying to find out if the semi-annual pancake breakfast and auction is being held on the amish farm outside of salem on oct 24 of this year

    10. Anita Wertz

      I am trying to plan a trip to Salem and was very interested in visiting with the Amish. Can you tell me currently how many Amish families reside in the Salem area?

      1. Families in Salem, AR

        Anita, please forgive my delay in responding. Seems notifications are not getting to me when new posts are added here.

        According to the 2012 Central Plains [Amish] Directory, there were 9 families listed at that time. I have heard through some contacts that one of the patriarchs (Mose Borntrager) in the settlement has passed away, so the numbers may not still be the same.

        If you wish to visit, I would suggest going by the nursery. I visited with Vernon for a very few minutes while picking up a few items, and he seemed very engaging. Mose’s wife did run a baked goods place that seemed open to the public on select days (it wasn’t open when I was there), but I don’t know if the place is still open with Mose’s passing. There is also a small Amish store, but the lady who seemed to be the owner/operator didn’t strike me as much of the visiting type on the day I went through.

        If you decide to go, I hope you enjoy your visit.

        1. Anita Wertz

          Amish in Arkansas

          Thank you so much for getting back with me. Very helpful information. I do plan on visiting within the month, hopefully, the baked goods place will still be open. I am looking forward to my visit there. Have a great day.

        2. Joan Cole

          I go to the amish store often and I find the lady who runs it very nice and helpful. Recently I needed suspenders fir my nephews to wear in a weddimg. After looking in every store in jonesboro and surrounding areas I went there since I knew they all wore them. She didn’t have any in the store but she happily made me two pair for the boys. And I think the bakery is only open on Friday niw. I talk to the lady who runs the bakery a lot at salem square on sat. Mornings. Never been to bakery but she did tell me it was open on sat. And where it was. They are all very nice people. Also the produce part I went recently and she didn’t have any radishes so she ran to garden and picked them for me.

    11. Mary


      I will be traveling to Arkansas on my way to Branson in October. Do you know if they sale quilts?
      Thanks so much!

    12. Marion Thornberry

      I visit as many Amish settlements as I can and read a lot of Amish fiction and non-fiction.

    13. lisa parks

      i was told about a gentleman from salem who trained horses that was named amos barntrogger does any one know how I could get in touch with him thanks so much for any help lisa

    14. Lela Kirby

      Moving to Salem

      I am interested in moving close to the Amish community. I am not Amish but would like to live by them. Rent a house or apartment in Salem. Could u let me know of homes or apartments to rent by the amish.

    15. Amish House

      I am thinking of Going home to Arkansas to retire. I would like to have a home built by the Amish. Are there any Amish builders there ?

    16. Thomas Walls


      I do know much about the Amish other than the fact that they don’t use electricity but I was wondering what they do for heating

    17. Felecia

      Salem ar

      I absolutely love going thru Salem every other week just to stop at pine creek general store for fresh brown eggs and other items . They have a lot of bulk items along with dried goods .. etc.. down the road I stop for fresh baked goodies . Katie usually has some available on wed , fri and sat . Across the river they have fresh market with veggies , watermelon , pumpkin etc.. , an excellent horseshoeman and if you need hard wood floors layed .. well these are the guys that can do that beautifully too .

    18. Susie


      Please send me an address to your business in salem ar. I would love to visit your stores

    19. Denise Gilmore

      Handmade items

      Do you know if the Amish community has any stores that sell the beautiful hand crafted shelfing units or the wall hanging nick nack units? I had several pieces and lost them to my ex husband.

    20. Ruth verhegghe


      We go to your breakfast in spring and would like to know when chicken dinner is in fall in Salem ar there is 2 girls and little boy I have been reading about Amish and would like to bring them

    21. HD

      I came to this comment thread by way of watching some number of Erik Wesner’s Amish America videos on youtube. Somewhere along the way noting mention of a “once upon a time” Amish settlement in the vicinity of Rector Arkansas which, being as I grew up in Salem before enlisting in the Navy after which time living near 15 years in Branson Missouri making my way of living as a construction electrician I had many opportunities of working with Amish (residential framers) from the Seymour Missouri area, mostly in the Christian county area south of Springfield Missouri. I moved back (retiring) to Salem Arkansas in 2001.

      Couple of links that may be of interest here:

      Vernon’s place is about six miles north and across Southfork (River) of me and is where I buy my springtime garden sets then, into this time of year whatever produce I don’t myself grow but still want in my meals as called for. My closer Amish friend Rueben, four miles away where I do my bulk and hardware purchases.

      The chicken dinner this year was two weeks ago and at Vernon’s place on the river – apologies for not finding this comment thread sooner.

      ( Don, if you are in touch with Mr. Wesner, please – as I do not ‘participate’ on any of the social media connected internet platforms eg geemale, yootoob, linct-en, eff-bee, it’s nigh impossible for me to express a ‘thanks for your service’ & so I’d ask you pass the contents of this comment along to him.

      I’ll bookmark this site, checking in from time to time and, as I may, try to help providing as I can, information to specific questions eg, chicken dinners/pancake breakfasts etc.

      I will not however take part in any passage of/on a private nature – either way.

    22. Melissa

      He helped in construction

      Hello my name is Melissa I do construction and I was wondering if your community has ever did Construction and then tell me about y’all that y’all have done some of his patience if you could contact me at 870-7510127 I would appreciate it thank you

    23. Lottie Doffin

      I’m looking for sprigs of live mistletoe with the beads on it. I’ll need about 25 of them. If you can get it for me. I need to know how much it will cost. Thank you very much. is my email. Thanks again,
      Lottie Doffin