Amish teen drowns cutting ice

Over the weekend an Amish teen in Vernon County, Wisconsin died while cutting ice. In light of today’s topic of Amish and self-sufficiency, it seems tragically coincidental to now hear of an accident like this one.

In more conservative communities, Amish use ice houses to keep food cold.  In cold-weather areas Amish harvest their own ice.  In some sense these Amish are further along the self-sufficiency scale compared to the many who rely on some variety of mechanical refrigerator.

This teen’s death is a reminder that directly taking care of more of your own needs can come with physical hazards.  It also brings to mind the question of whether Amish life is more dangerous.  Regardless of the answer to that question, Amish would probably also see this as a reminder that we know not the day nor the hour.

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    17 Comments

    1. Carolyn B

      So sorry to hear that another Amish family has to bury one of their young people. That has got to be an adult’s worst heartache no matter how much their faith plays in their lives.

      Very timely, like you said, Erik.

    2. Valerie

      Very Sad

      This is very hard to hear about, our prayers are with them.
      I do believe we have an appointed time as the Scriptures teaches.
      Just such a hard thought to live with, the way he died.

    3. Jan

      Sad news

      A heartbreaking mishap. A young boy obediently doing the chore he was called to do that day. What a tradegy. If you know these people please tell them we and others are praying for them. Thank you for posting even the grim news. Blessings.

      1. Jan unfortunately there is a good bit of “grim news” involving Amish with buggy accidents and the like, so I don’t know how many of these to post. This accident was a particularly unusual tragedy…I’d guess it has happened before though.

    4. Alice Aber

      Prayers going out to the family. Such sad news. 🙁

    5. Sharon

      So sorry for the loss of the young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

    6. Lattice

      How heartbreaking! It’s true,… We have no promise of tomorrow.

      A few weeks ago in Delano, TN, an OO Mennonite man and his 5 children were canoeing in the flood waters of a creek. It overturned (no lifejackets). The three oldest swam out, but the man and the two youngest drowned. It took several days to find the fist child, another week to find the second, and the father’s body has yet to be located. The man actually joined the Mennonites from society years ago. I did not know him.
      http://www.topix.com/city/delano-tn

      Sometimes I wonder if the Amish have the same (over)concern for safety that most people have these days.

      1. Lattice that is tragic. It reminded me of the buggy crossing drowning of a couple of years back in an Amish settlement in Kentucky.

        https://amishamerica.com/amish-sympathy-cards/

        Reading your comment first quickly I missed the word canoe and thought it was a similar accident. The cold temperature of the water can’t help if you find yourself in such a situation.

    7. Mj grassie

      Amish teen drowns

      My heart goes out to the teens family and community. Please know my prayers ate with all of you. May God Bless all of you and may your belief in him help you all through this time in you life. Gog Bless You All marijane from ny

    8. Alice Mary

      Tragic loss

      What a terrible accident! I hope the family gets some little comfort from knowing how many people are praying for them & are grieving for their loved one.

      I’m not sure if WI had the same crazy weather that we’ve had (IL) over the past couple of weeks—in the 60’s one day, then a spell of days in the single digits. Our local Fire & Police Depts. are constantly warning the public about not using the local ponds & lakes (we have many in the area) due to irregularities in the ice due to the changeable temperatures.

      Over 100 years ago here (my town turned 120 last month), residents cut ice from the Fox River for the same purpose as the Amish. I’ve seen photos from the 1890’s, with large horse-drawn sleds and a dozen or more people out on the river ice. It always seemed a gamble to me, yet it was done yearly, with few mishaps.

      Tragedies like this one help drive home the fact that self sufficiency can be dangerous at times, and we must be careful & ever-vigilant.

      Alice Mary

    9. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      My sympathies, and...

      Let me join with everyone else in expressing my sympathies to the family and his friends.

      On the topic of ice cutting for use, I was not aware that the Amish did that, it makes sense that those who live in a cold winter climate would do such a practice. We English used to do this, sometimes on somewhat industrial scale. I’ve seen images of Hamilton (Ontario’s version Pittsburgh PA) where pre-1920s people would go out on the frozen water and carve out large chunks of ice for household or business use.

      It was more common than many people realize and we take ice for granted these days.

      I think it also makes sense that Amish in northerly areas would do this activity especially if they have a pond or creek on their property, because if you don’t have to go far to get your ice why would you?

      How cooperative are the Amish in sharing resources such as these among themselves?
      Sorry, by the way, that I’ve taken this away from the tragedy of the young Amish lad’s passing.

    10. Tom in KY

      I am sad to read such news, and my prayers are with the family and friends of the young man.

    11. SharonR

      Drowning while cutting ice

      So sad to hear! An awful way to die; Our thoughts and prayers are sent for this family!
      SharonR

    12. Wm Justice

      This news breaks my heart and could possibly be so easily averted.

      As I learned as a Boy Scout, if you fall into water the first thing you should do is rip off you clothing and get to shore. As we all know, the Amish wear a lot of clothing but when your life is on the line the Ordnung is not an issue.

      I remember asking an Amish friend if they learned how to swim and the answer was “No.” I told my friend “Well your people should.”

      God rest this poor boy’s soul.

      1. Wm I have often wondered how it would be to fall into deep water fully clothed, especially wearing heavy winter clothes. I did not know that the protocol was to get out of them. Make sense because you’d be freezing cold in soaked clothes anyway, and your movement would be more restricted. I hope no one reading this has to ever test that maneuver out, and I just feel sorry this boy met his end this way.

        1. Terry

          The death of a child

          A year ago last fall an Amish boy of 12 or 13 was hauling manure and the horses spooked and trampled him to death. This happened in the WI settlement of Blair/Whitehall..(Whitehall is my hometown). The boys father is the Bishop, and the only one of 10 siblings that is still Amish. At a time of sorrow such as this it makes no difference if your family drives a car or a buggy. Family is still family. And the family came together at such a tragic time.

          The Bishop’s parents and siblings left the Amish church about 23 years ago.( He wasn’t the Bishop yet.) His mom has said that her son is happy where he is in his life, and they all respect that. After the years have passed some of the walls have come down. When you still live in the same community only now you’re English, the buggies drove by and didn’t stop. Why would you want to associate with your family members that are going to hell? The Bishop’s family is hoping that he preaches to his congregation with a softer touch than some have. That your family that is now English really isn’t condemned to hell because you drive a car!

    13. Patty Tolliver

      Amish Teen Drowns Cutting Ice

      My heart goes out to the family at this terrible time. I will keep them and their community in my prayers as they go through this phase of mourning.