Life in the Bee County, Texas Amish Community

I hadn’t seen today’s video until a few days ago, when Bob Rosier passed along a link.  Author and Amish Cook editor Kevin Williams visited the Beeville (Bee County), Texas Amish community 2 or 3 years ago, and filmed this 8-minute piece giving a window into the settlement and their culinary traditions.

Bee County Texas Amish Life
An Amish home in Bee County, TX. All photos by Bob Rosier

Kevin’s video (now unavailable) takes you inside the community, which at the time of filming had only 9 households, most from the founding Borntrager family.

You see the home of Daniel and Ruth Borntrager which Kevin visited.  He briefly describes the technology allowed, and then takes a look at the local flora, including fig plants grown by one of the Amishmen (citrus and olives also grow in the area).

People have commented on the way families live in the Bee County community, in an environment that is anything but picture perfect compared to the covers of Amish Country tourist pamphlets.

This settlement surprises due to its impoverished appearance, exacerbated by the south Texas terrain.  For me that is neither here nor there, as many Amish, especially in smaller, off-the-beaten path communities, live in harsher economic conditions than say those in the very prosperous community in Lancaster.

Amish Community Bee County TX
A buggy outside a shop in Bee County

Some small Amish communities deal with issues related to their isolation, which can include economic survival and dating prospects for their youth.

Larger communities don’t really have those problems, though they may have challenges on the other end of the spectrum–the perils of economic prosperity and a wider assortment of youth temptations.

As for economics, Kevin gives you a look at the exterior of Borntrager’s Combination Shop, which we’ve seen here in some of Bob’s Bee County photos.

Eggs For Sale Beeville Amish
Eggs for sale. Inside Borntrager’s

Borntrager’s offerings include carriages (made mainly for the non-Amish population), local honey, and baked goods on Fridays.

Kevin also shows you some of his purchases from Borntrager’s, including wild grape jelly and a variety of Mexican squash, “considered a delicacy” locally.  Visitors are welcome; the shop is clearly an important part of the local Amish economy.

The video closes with a bit on where the Bee County community is located (3 hours southwest of Houston; an hour and a half from San Antonio), including a shot of the only sign indicating you’re entering the Amish area.

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    10 Comments

    1. Kathy Rowe

      Bee County, TX

      Interesting video, Erik. Thanks for sharing it. Looks like a place to stop and visit if one is in the area.

    2. Nancy @ A Rural Journal

      I’ve heard of Bontrager, but not Borntrager. Wonder if something was change deliberately there? Anyway, lovely video. Thank you for sharing Erik. xo

      1. Nancy some Amish names have multiple spellings. You also have Borntreger and Bontreger, or to give a few other examples, Stolzfus/Stoltzfoos, Eash/Esh, Hochstetler/Hostetler and others.

        https://amishamerica.com/what-are-common-amish-names/

        https://amishamerica.com/common-amish-surnames/

    3. Alice Mary

      Being born and bred in the Midwest, I’m used to green—grass, trees, etc. To my Midwest eyes, the land in Beeville seems almost barren and desolate, but it’s apparently not. I guess it just takes some getting used to. Interesting about the figs & citrus growing there. I would imagine it’s a challenge (or will be, as the children grow) to find a mate in such a small community. Has there been much interest among other Amish communities to move there? I’d think they’d need more than buggy-building and selling jams, eggs, bakery goods and a little produce to become a thriving community any time soon. I wish them well, and hope they’re still around in 20 years, too.

      Alice Mary

    4. I hope they’re around for a long long time.. South Texas is green during the winter & springs months.. The heat from the summer makes most of the grasses (and everything else) go dormant in the summer.
      Interesting video.. but it would have been nice to have a good look at the fruit trees he was speaking of.. I love love love fresh figs.. but they didnt look very pretty as I know they can be on the video.

    5. Nancy Consolo

      Very Entertaining

      I loved this cooking video AND the ones that followed the main video. I learned a lot. An Amish woman wearing a tattoo is something I have never seen before! But she can cook. Are any of these recipes in print?

    6. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      Nancy Consolo;
      Where did you see the video with the inked Amish Lady? I kind of want to see that.

      1. Nancy Consolo

        Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

        I do think they must have taken it down; it was at the end of the regular Beeville ,Texas video. But it is on YouTube under: Pork Loin Panche and Amish Apple Pot Pie by Our Half Acre Homestead . . . .
        Enjoy

        1. The Mrs Volfie, who’s video you shared here is NOT Amish.. She and her husband live in Canada and they are Homesteaders. They are fantastic folks and yes, that Mrs Volfie can cook and shes one smart gal..(so subscribe to her channel to learn all sorts of awesome stuff) but Amish they arent. 🙂

          http://www.youtube.com/user/TheMrsVolfie/about

          1. Nancy Consolo

            Thanks for that . . .

            I assumed so since it was with the other Amish videos.
            NC