The Beeville,Texas Amish Community (23 Photos)
Today we have some photos courtesy of Bob Rosier, taken in the sole Amish community in Texas (in Bee County, about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio).
We’ve featured posts on this community before (see Bee County, Texas Amish), as well as on now-defunct Texas Amish settlements (see Amish in Texas), if you’d like to catch up on the story of the Amish in the Lone Star State.
The photos below were taken in various places throughout the settlement, as well as inside Borntrager’s Combination Shop. Borntrager’s provides, among other things, custom horse-drawn vehicles (see the eye-catching buggy below).
The Beeville/Bee County community reminds us that Amish really live all over the map. It’s not at all what people think of when they imagine “Amish Country”.
As you can see, these photos give the impression of a hardscrabble place, a far cry from Dairyland USA (though come to think of it, maybe a camel-milking operation would do nicely here…).
Bob also posted a comment a few days ago describing his visit, including a conversation he had with the settlement’s bishop.
One horse’s futility
To me, the ninth picture of the little horse and the antique looking piece of equipment looks funny, humorous, like the little hoarse it looking at it like “I appreciate this for art’s sake, but, really, no hands! I can’t hook myself up!”
What is the affiliation of this Amish settlement?
Don’t know offhand but I think there may be some discussion of that in the comments of one of the previous posts.
The Beeville,Texas Amish Community
What language does The Beeville,Texas Amish Community speak- Low German or Pennsylvania German (Deitsh)? Thanks.
I lived in Indiana and became good friends with a family there as I drove for them. So we talked alot while driving and I know they have their own religous book.But they also use the Bible. The Amish originated from the Anti Babtist movement in the 1500’s
I think there may be some confusion here. It’s actually Anabaptist, not Anti Baptist. There a difference! 🙂 I am wondering what religious book you are referring to. The Bible is the main book. There are other books often found on Amish book shelves, like “the Martyr’s Mirror,” for example, but nothing that would be more important than the Bible. I don’t like to sound picky, but saying “they also use the Bible” made it sound like there may be another book of more importance.
I am curious about the Anababtists as my friend never spoke of this. I do not know what the other book was that they used. All i know is the one he had was very old and was written in german he did tell me the name but I have forgotten. As far as the Antibabtists I am positive that was what I was told, because we discussed it to some length,it was not something I just heard somewhere. I drove for the amish for several years. I Have slept in their homes I knew these well and never heard of the Anababtists. Can you tell me where to find this info?
It looks as if I must have miss understood his pronunciation, I googled the two and it was the Anababtists as you stated. It seems as though what he told was true his history was correct.
I was guessing it was just a misunderstanding. The two sound so much like alike. I’ve heard other people talk about “antibaptists” before. 🙂
I researched them both and could not find anything on Antibabtist, bit when looking at the Anababtist it was the same history that my friend, Had told me. I am glad I found this out,so I do not make ignorant statements. THANKS
You’re welcome. 🙂 Hey, we all learn from each other and we all make mistakes, so it’s all good. Plus, that’s a VERY easy mistake to make. I’ve made far worse mistakes!
Some times their speech is so thick with a german accent that they can be hard to understand. They may not all be this way but the ones in the are I lived in were all german decent. They spoke german among themselves and only used english when speaking to us. They referred to us as the english.
It’s also Anabaptist, not Anabaptist.
Sorry, supposed to be Anabaptist, not ” anababtist”
WOW those pictures look so unlike the clean, kept up, green Amish farms up here in Michigan.
Looks hot and deserted. I bet most of the want to be Amish would change their minds if these pictures were the main ones used to depict their lifestyle.
These pics say to me, what on earth do they and how can they grow crops, well anything for that matter.
Those horses looked so miserable, everything looks so bleak even the wee store, or am i to fussy been spoilt by all the usual lush green Amish farms and lands, guess its a hard life there. Everyone have a great and blessed weekend. 🙂
Let’s not forget NO A/C. Yikes! I don’t see how they do it.
I would imagine that the terrible drought in Texas for the last few years has made life awfully difficult for them.
The drought in Texas has been on.going for at least 10 years, many of our lakes and rivers are dry. I admire these folks tremendously for sticking with the land. It will come back!
South Texas is hot, barren, fire-ant-infested, miserable country. “Hardscrabble” is certainly an accurate description of this community. I hope the folks who live there are handling it okay — just the climate alone is pretty awful!
I really don’t think some of you know what you are talking about. Texas in general is pretty prosperous, thanks very much. Certainly we’ve been hurt by the drought, no doubt about that. It’s been rough in that regard, but we’re not bleak and we’re certainly not miserable. (Okay, hot, maybe, in the summer.) Why this particular property looks a bit unkempt, I really couldn’t say.
In addition ...
it depends on what PART of Texas you are talking about; as there several distinct native habitats in the state …though NONE have a cold climate. Some are lush – East Texas Piney woods, some are arid – Trans Pecos & the South Plains, some hilly – west of I-35 and some are coastal prairie … which is where Beeville is. The western end of the coastal prairie is low rainfall, but still humid due to the proximity to the Gulf. The eastern end is usually damp and VERY humid in the summer. The coastal prairie is fairly fertile farmland; IF you can get rainfall, which has been fairly scarce in the past 15 to 16 years.
Obviously not a Texan.
What are those red/rust-colored marks on the houses? Is that the foam board insulation w/out any siding?
That looks like a young horse looking suspiciously at that farming implement. They can be pretty silly about things like that.
Maybe Bob knows Lattice but that is what it seemed to be to me…also see Mary Yoder’s comment below for possibly related info.
It looks like rusty tin siding to me.
My understanding is paint and asphalt shingles don’t last long in the Texas sun.
I agree with Wenddie May…..why don’t they cut weeds and keep yard and surrounding area more clean ?
Keeping your grass cut and weeds gone,and trash picked up makes your home look 100 % better…..
It may not be green, but there is no excuse for yards not being cut and weeds trimed , etc….to me when I see this, I think some lazy peoply sure live here….but I have always thought Amish are not lazy….I always wonder if you let your outside go, then what must the inside of your home look like !!!!! just sayin………….
I don’t know what sect of Amish these particular Amish are affiliated with, but some sects, like the Schwartzentruber Amish, “discourage interest in outward appearance, as such an interest could promote vanity and pride.” And that includes such things as buttons, Velcro, bicycles, and well-kept farms and yards. “Their farms can be identified by dirt drives and surrounding roads, while most roads of the Old Order contain either gravel or paving to keep out the mud. The roofs of the houses and outbuildings are often made of tin.” Seeing a lot of tin on their barns and houses in these pictures makes me think perhaps they are affiliated with the Schwartzentruber Amish.
(Both quotes are taken from the Wikipedia article “Subgroups of Amish”.
beeville texas community
I have been there and inside Amish homes. They have cheaper taxes if they don’t have nice siding, I was told.
The people were very friendly and hungry for company. I do not understand either and these pictures are not exaggerated at all. They truly do live the simple life, but I will keep my northern Indiana any day!!
Mary I can’t blame you for that 🙂
Thanks again for sharing! Very interesting to see different settlements in other parts of the state.
A week ago I met a young Amish couple in WY. I don’t think they were on a honeymoon cause the man’s beard was pretty filled in. I asked what order they were. They told me they were Old Amish and had a driver taking them around.
Right away I was almost certain the young lady was Amish from her dress. But her scarf threw me. It was just a normal everyday scarf. And I didn’t see a prayer kapp.
I’m certain that these folks could manage tears in their clothing but it sure would have been nice if they could wear modest shorts on hikes. Some of the trails are pretty steep and hiking poles are great. But it’s also quite hot. I guess I just couldn’t imagine hiking in a long dress.
They seemed very nice if a little withdrawn. The man did all the talking. I’m certain that’s it was difficult for them being in a touristy area, being asked questions and all the million of things rattling around in their heads. In retrospect I wish I had been able to know what they were interested in seeing cause I’ve been to that part of WY and might have been able to help.
At least I didn’t have my camera slung around my neck to worry them that I might want a picture. How nice that I knew better. As a matter of fact I didn’t have my camera with me when we saw bison. They were so close! Not even 15 ft! They were right alongside the road! I just soaked it all in. Pictures are a great reminder but they don’t do justice for the majesty right in front of you. There’s no way to capture the magic.
Not sure they’ll ever be able to manage to move to CA. It’s just so darn expensive here. Land prices are outrageous. And people can be awful cruel (my upstairs neighbor is a fine example). But I’d welcomed them with open arms should they choose to move near me. I’d hope that we could become friends within reasonable bounds–basic beliefs would undoubtedly cause friction.
I wonder who are we to judge another? Are our ways any more correct than there’s? The Bible tells us not to judge. So for me it comes back to the Golden Rule. Do unto others…
Interesting meeting Margaret, possible they were on a honeymoon despite the beard because different communities have different customs on that. I’m just writing about this for an upcoming book so your comment caught my eye 🙂
I have not been here but I’d like to go. I live in Texas. Some parts are more green than others. The Amish live as they do because of their religious convictions, not to give us outsiders something nice to look at.
Erik, I am so impressed with the photo series. I loved the two story plain white house until I saw the one story white house with a makeshift ramp on the side. Now I’m totally in serious Like with it.
Catching sight of some wooden crutches in the photo before the men’s hats made me giggle and think Ouch. I wonder if any Amish use, make, or sell what used to be called Canadian crutches, those which gripped its user by the wrist.
Thanks for sharing Mr Rosier’s photos with us.
All credit to Bob. I noticed the crutches too. I don’t believe I’ve seen a barrel full of crutches before. I guess they’re trying to be ready for all types of broken-legged customers, the short and tall and medium folks alike.
I have been to this community and these pictures make it look better than it is! It is truly awful looking and not a typical Amish settlement. Compared to others In Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania it is disgraceful! I really was sorry I wasted my time tracking it down thinking there were “Amish” in Texas. I don’t know why they don’t take more pride in their surroundings and their animals. I doubt that any other true Amish people would approve of them. Really sad,
Lou there could probably be a pretty long discussion had on the question, “Who are the true Amish?” 🙂
It’s also possible these Amish would have something to say about the material wealth of the more attractive, well-off Amish places in the Midwest. I try to stay out of that one though and try to appreciate the different ways of being Amish for what they are.
Some sects of Amish, like the Schwartzentruber Amish, eschew things that might draw one into pride and vanity, and, to their way of thinking, that includes well-kept farms and yards, as a well-kept farm or yard might tempt one to become prideful or vain about it. So their farms and yards and roads are pretty unkempt. It doesn’t mean they’re not Amish, just a different type of Amish.
The unkempt appearance probably has more to do with breaking the land with zero labor saving devices.
This looks like what I see in my mind’s eye when I read stories/articles about the “Old West”—dry fields, dusty roads, lots of open space…but some greenery here & there (like a little bit of “hope”).
I was especially drawn to the “general store”. It reminded me of our old corner store where I grew up in Chicago—“just enough” stuff (of all kinds) to keep you going. The hand-lettered sign seemed familiar, too. I’m sure I’d find something to buy there (and it looked a lot friendlier than the outsides of the buildings shown in the photos).
That buggy—Amish? Not Amish? Red wheels & stars sure seem unusual for Amish, but I have no idea what their local Ordnung allows. I could see why they’re wanting company…wish I could provide some, though I don’t know how long I’d be willing to stay (brings to mind the “dust bowl” years, almost).
To each his own. I wish them well! (Maybe next year it’ll be floods—who can tell?)
Oldkat on this odd buggy/shop
Alice Mary I’m pretty sure that’s just an example of the custom buggies that this shop makes, an attention-getter perhaps, sitting outside the shop.
I remembered there was a discussion of what had to have been this place on a 2008 post, courtesy of one of our favorite readers/commenters, Oldkat:
They’ve also got what sounds like a bustling combination general store, tack and carriage shop. They sell produce, shoe some of the area’s many horses, and makes buggies for non-Amish as well.
OldKat shares that these buggies even come in non-standard colors, though you’d best pay heed when ordering one in an unusual hue.
Apparently they’ll make it, but as OldKat relates with a wink, the uglier the colors you choose, the bigger the deposit they require. And the Amish who run the place have a sense of humor. A recent request for an orange-and-white contraption supposedly required special conditions. “Better make that paid in full, right up front! Couldn’t sell a surrey painted up like that if we had to,” said one of the men. Apparently these Amish are neither Texas Longhorn fans nor followers of Sam Houston State, as OldKat found out.
In fact, when I asked Bishop Borntrager how they came to live in such an unlikely locale he told me that their biggest source of income was from building buggies, carriages, wagons, etc. for the “English”. When they realized that the vast majority of customers for these vehicles were from Texas they decided to relocate to Texas to be closer to their customers & save on shipping costs.
They chose Beeville because he had hired truckers to haul buggies to Texas and on the backhaul they went to the Texas Valley to buy citrus fruit to sell in Tennessee. They had noticed that cropland around Beeville and when they investigated the community was very receptive to them relocating there. Of course, back then it use to RAIN a lot more than it does now so they might not would make the same decision today that they made in 1999. They managed to move down there just about the time the rains virtually stopped.
Interesting back story Oldkat, I don’t believe I’d ever heard any of that. Super comments here and below, thanks for sharing all this, read with much interest.
My Gallant Husband
This has nothing to do with the Amish, but something to do with Beeville, TX. We live in Maryland. At church, years and years ago, we met an older woman named “Bea” who said she was from Beeville. My husband asked, “What did they call it before?” “Before what?” she asked. “Before they named the town after you,” he said. She smiled and laughed. I suppose an Amish person would be baffled at his remark, because they don’t believe in being singled out, but Bea appreciated my husband’s sense of humor.
As to the unkept appearance, I immediately thought Schwartzentruber based on photos I’ve seen…and given they’re from Tennessee and I believe the largest Tennessee settlement (Etheridge) is Schwartzentruber, plus they seem to really value being away from richer, more populated settlements…it all seems to fit.
Being neat, at least among some of the Schwartzentruber photos I’ve seen, seems to be considered too prideful to them.
I think it’s the 10th photo, there appears to be a large garden doing very well. Probably anything you irrigate does quite well.
Of the topic of Amish, I have been to San Antonio, and I was pleasantly surprised by how neat and well kept the small towns I did pass through were — other than the smell of money (crude oil from the wells), they were every bit up to New England standards I’m used to. I’ve seen plenty of other areas with similar socio-economic conditions that took no pride in their towns — and I’m sure without a philosophical excuse for it that at least the Swartzentrubers can cite.
when I first visited the Amishdown in Beeville I was fairly sure they were Schwartzentruber, too. They are not. After I got to know Bishop Borntrager better I asked him what affliation they were and he said “Old Order”. He said he grew up in the midwest, Missouri I think. He said he had lived in several midwestern communities, in addition to Tennessee and now Texas.
I once overheard several of the boys talking among themselves and I asked what language they were speaking, as it sounded similar to the Alsatian that my mother’s family spoke. They replied “Swabish, though we call it Swiss”. I googled it and Swabish and Alsatian are very closely related. There was a discussion about language on AA a year or two and some European gents seemed to be saying that they thought some Amish groups were speaking a form of Alsatian & I have to agree that what I heard was very similar.
For those not familiar, many of the early Alsatians actually descended from people in the German speaking (though not standard German)areas of Switzerland before settling in the Alsace. That is exactly what my mothers family did in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.
BTW: I noticed a mix of hard topper and open buggies being used in Beeville, which would also point to at least some Swiss Amish influence.
If the Amish homes in the photos seem a bit bedraggled, consider the temperature and humidity of southern TX: the FEBRUARY we left Bellville, TX (85 miles west of Houston & 100+ miles east of Austin), outside temps at NIGHT were over 85 degrees with 90+% humidity….VERY uncomfortable to say the least! Summers were even hotter and more humid. Working under such conditions without a/c must be tortuous. Also, the area looks pretty dusty, too. With water at a premium, it would be very difficult to keep things clean and green.
As I don’t equate Amish with riches…not to say there aren’t wealthy Amish, just that it’s not the norm…and these people look like they’re just subsisting, I think they’re doing about the best they can.
A thought: the houses built in TX by many of the pioneers who settled the area were generally of a dog trot plan, which allowed for the use of natural ventilation to help keep the homes cooler, especially at night. As these farms have no shade whatsoever, it may have been better to use the dog trot style as a model for home building instead of what is more common in the areas of the mid-west or east more populated by Amish.
And, I guess that brings up a question…do Amish try to build according to “tradition” within the Amish community no matter the geography & climate, or do they adapt plans used to better accommodate local conditions??
@ Sandra Kathleen
Hey Sandra Kathleen: if you don’t mind my asking; did you live in BELLVILLE or were you visiting? Because those are some VERY non-typical temps for BELLVILLE, TX in February. (I have lived here for 28 years + just across the Brazos River on a farm for 11 years before that) Typical February low temps here are in the low 40’s, highs in the low 60’s. Like other many other parts of the country the humidity swings with the wind direction; lower after a front and with a north wind, higher after the wind turns back out of the south, but 90% is pretty non-typical for February or at least at normal temps the humidity isn’t very noticeable.
You are dead on correct about the summers though. They are just TERRIBLE. I call summer here “100 Days of Hades”, but from mid-October through late April or even into mid-May (early June this year) the weather is very often FABOULUS. That is why in a few years we plan on being “up-North” for the period from late spring through early fall and back down in Texas for the rest of the year.
Note: I put the name in all caps to distinguish it from Beeville which is nearly 200 miles away. It is amazing how often people confuse the two. Even people from Houston, San Antonio or Austin … who you would think would know better get the two mixed up. VERY different communities, habitat, geography, topography, socio economic make up etc.
The February I was talking about was in 1999. And, yes, at that time we lived in Bellville. 🙂
It may have been atypical for the area, having lived there only 18 months, I had not become familiar with “usual” temps! All I know is I had decided to tile the counters and backsplash of the kitchen & laundry room to ready the house for sale, and couldn’t believe the thermometer read 81 degrees at a 2 AM break!
Imagine our surprise when we left 80-90 degree weather in TX on the morning of March 1st and arrived at our new home in Georgetown, KY with snow on on the ground!
There seems to be a bit of harsh judgment going on here occasionally! I’ve been hearing on the news that the northeastern cities have been putting out warnings not to go outside unless necessary because the temperature is up in the mid-nineties. These people are doing manual labor all day outside in higher temperatures (sometimes the LOW at night can be over 90), with no air-conditioning to retreat to, and are trying to maintain farms and gardens in those temperatures, and in drought conditions, with no running water. No doubt, keeping things looking picturesque for photos is not on the priority list.
We have a winner!
"Average" Beeville, TX temps
I once asked Bishop Borntrager how his community was able to deal with the temperature down there and he said; “The temperature doesn’t bother us too much. What we can’t get use to is the extremes in rainfall; either way too much … or none for months at at time”
These are the so called “averages” for Beeville according to Weather.com Like where I live the temps seem to be about right for an average, but the rainfall is far more erratic than what is depected here.
I can well believe that about the rainfall. I live “next door” – in Louisiana – and for the last few years we have seen lots of large Texas trucks traveling hundreds of miles to get hay for their animals for the winter because there was absolutely none for them anywhere near home; everything had just dried up (it seems that this year is a bit better – i hope..??). But then, are these Amish near enough to the coast to be inundated by a passing hurricane? Did Hurricane Rita flood them?
very surprised to see the land and their store the way it is. In Lancaster their farms are so well kept and their stands are amazing, organized and clean. You always see someone with a broom or something cleaning
I thought the photos were interesting. I was especially fascinated by the L-shaped house in one photo and the young foal staring at the farm equipment. Maybe the L-shape was due to a dawdihaus because of the 2 doorways? My first thought was that this was a Schwartztruber settlement._ I didn’t see curtains at windows on the homes but that might have been the angle the photo was taken.
Just thinking about living and working (inside and out) in such high heat and humidity makes me feel physically ill. I would imagine these folks are doing what needs done the best they can under such conditions and with no running water or electricity. What strong faith they must have!
That was meant to be Harsh Conditions (oops)
Also, I loved seeing the inside of the store!
Part 1 of 2
As some of you might have gathered by now; I’ve visited this community a bunch of times. In fact, quite by accident really, I actually visited the same community when it was located in Tennessee. Just stumbled onto that community in route to a meeting at nearby facility owned by the company I worked for at the time.
The pictures posted here fairly well depict what I’ve seen when I’ve been there to the Beeville community and like I said I’ve been there numerous times; though not in the past several years.
One of the young men in that small community trained my team of driving mares. He farmed with them one fall / winter and into the late spring. I would go every few weeks and work with him as he was training them. A friend of mine has a farm near Beeville and he would allow me to stay there while I was visiting the young man that was doing the training. He did a fantastic job with my girls, by the way.
I saw this post as soon as Erik posted it, but I purposely waited until a bunch of people posted their comments before sharing some insight that I have. I wanted to see the reaction of the people to the conditions there. The comments were about what I expected. Let me add a little insight that I gained from hours and hours of conversation that I had while working with the young man in question.
First off, I am not sure why they seem so unconcerned with the outward appearance of their community. I kind of wondered about that myself, quite frankly. What I do know is that virtually ALL of the building material they have used to build their homes, barns, shops etc. is used material that they have salvaged from buildings being torn down, etc. May explain why the building material they used looks so rusty and old … it already was before they got it!
Part 2 of 2
Probably the one part of the community that is much more “Amish-like” Bob didn’t get to visit, or if he did, he didn’t post any pictures of it when he posted the others. Bob: I’m talking about the private road or lane where Bishop (Truman) Borntrager lives. It is basically a dead end road that starts near the Combination Shop. This lane takes off from the main road that runs through the community. Truman’s house is near the very end. I think the road may continue on past his place, but it is entirely on private (non-Amish) property from that point.
I wouldn’t say that his place looks like some of the pictures I have seen of Lancaster County, PA Amish properties. Though I would say it is fairly comparable to what I have seen posted on Amish America of some Amish places in Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, etc. It reminded me of the Amish places I had seen in western Pennsylvania years ago. Of course, when I was going to Beeville regularly the drought was not quite as severe as it has been for the past several years. Most any place will look worse when all the vegetation has died due to drought. BTW: I would have never driven my vehicle down there because there is a sign posted at the start of the road that says “Private Road”. I drove an Amish buggy belonging to the trainer I mentioned above, being pulled by my mare Rachel. I was delivering something to Truman’s house that they needed to process a whole cattle trailer load of chickens that they were processing for some non-Amish in the area. It was probably a 2.5 to 3 mile round trip and was the first time I had ever driven Rachel without one of his horses with her. First time to drive her by myself, too, so I was excited. Not so excited that I couldn’t take note of the nicer home and nice, large horse barn. I got a tour of the horse barn and it was comparable to Amish horse barns I have been in western Pa, but more open sided. When you are not protecting your stock from harsh, cold winters you don’t need or want your barn to be closed up tightly. The Percheron horses he had in the barn were as nice as any I have seen on any Amish place, easily nicer than mine. I did not get an opportunity to actually go inside of his home, nor did I expect to. It was white; large, clean and appeared to be well built but clearly plain. It was NOT built from used material.
Now let me tell you the rest of the story. One day we out doing “road work” with a team of horses; one of mine and one of his. When we came to an intersection he nodded his head and said; “See this property? We tried to buy it, but the deal fell through”. I’m not going to talk specifics here, but it was hundreds and hundreds of acres … closer to a thousand than to five hundred. The total price was closer to a million dollars than to a half million; MUCH closer. So I asked how the deal was going to have been structured and he said; “We have the finances to have done it”.
I am a VERY direct person. I always strive to be tactful. That said I have no problem asking probing questions if I am comfortable with someone and them with me, so I asked; “What happened to the deal?” He said it fell through literally at the closing when the family selling it started arguing amongst themselves.
Now I am not suggesting that they have that kind of money sitting around in those bedraggled looking houses, but they had access to it so don’t judge a book by its cover. I know few English, including yours truly, that could do a deal like that on what was probably a cash basis. Despite outward appearances, financially they are doing okay at the very least.
Thanks very much for your information; it perfectly complemented the photos!
How fascinating, OldKat! Thanks for the input. I wish I’d known you the short time we spent in Bellville…coming from Oregon by way of first northern then southern California, getting used to Texas was sometimes a “bit o’ a bit.”
Our property (5 acres on Sikes Road) was largely sand-based soil and lots of Hickory and Oak, which suffered deeply from drought. The trees were also deeply affected by leaf wilt oak disease: it required the felling of some 2-3 trees per week at times, the last 5 to 6 months we were there.
Thanks for all the great information OldKat and I’ll look for that road you mentioned on my next trip. Such a good description of the area.
These pictures made me very sad. The Amish around the Buffalo NY area don’t look like this. These people look really poor. I wonder how they get a long for money etc… farming doesnt look look like an option here.
Denise, you didn’t read the comments about their possible financial situation above? People expect the coastal plains of Texas to look like Pennsylvania? I’m in Texas and it’s a lot hotter here than it is even in Beeville. It’s just more humid there which yes is tortuous. Which should explain why aesthetics aren’t on the top of their list. When in Rome…..and maybe some should get out more often to the real world that these people live in.
We have visited Amish homes in Indiana, Pa, and Wisconsin for research for my books. Soon we will go to Oklahoma. It.s interesting that the Amish communities do vary so much …. Wisconsin reminds me a bit of these pictures. Where ever we have gone, the Amish folk have been kind to us and of course hard workers. It.s a lifestyle I admire, regardless of how it looks from the outside.
Having lived in south Texas nearly all my life, and having spent a lot of time in the area near beeville, I have to say that I don’t really understand the negative reactions to these pictures. North of us in San Antonio they have been under water restrictions for several years now and here south of beeville we have had restrictions off and on for several years. During the drought conditions you are hard pressed to find a green landscape that isn’t someone’s yard that’s been watered on the one day a week that we are allowed to. Yet the land in south Texas has produced quite a bit of our nations cotton along with other crops. My guess would be that rather than waste their water on making unused fields and yards green they save it for their crops.
As to the buildings, they look no different than most old barns and sheds here, most metal buildings of a certain age are going to be rusted if they have not been made with a protective coating of some sort.
As for the temps, well they are consistently around 100 during certain parts of the summer, you get used to it. My daughter works at a summer camp not far from beeville and there is no a/c to speak of. People lived and worked and thrived in this area for over a hundred years before central heat and air were developed.
I think it’s unreasonable to compare farms here to farms in the east when the climate is so different.
Amish in Beeville
I’m from San Antonio, but have lived several years in western PA and go often to visit friends in nearby Amish communities. I found all the postings interesting! What I was waiting to read was WHAT this community is doing to make a living. That was interesting that they are making the buggies and selling the citrus fruit. I WISH they would get their carpenters down south in Texas! They make the BEST furniture and it would fit in sooooooooooo well in Texas! I saw a sign for rockers, but do they do anything else? OldKat you ought to bring that up to the community down there…they would make a mint if they got their carpenters to build furniture, but come to think of it…I guess it might be hard because their are different trees down south. I know around western PA they just go and chop down the trees and build awesome things…. there is not much forest in Beeville I suppose:( So OldKat do they sell any jams or homemade things in their shop? I’d be curious about that…they could also make Amish butter. That’s really good too. Also, OldKat…I lived in Germany for 10 years and my husband is from Germany. We have spoken German with our Amish friends in western PA and we spoke about the dialects of Pennsylvania Dutch, which has nothing to do with Holland of course… The older order we know from Western PA said that they don’t speak swiss/german. It’s funny to hear that they call Swabish-Swiss German because when I think of Swabish I think of Baden-Württemberg, but of course that is above Switzerland and to the right of France and the borders were different when they moved over, but maybe what they refer to as swiss german is actually the area of Baden-Württemberg. Anyway…will be asking my Amish friend next time about who he knows in Beeville. He told me last time they have relatives or friends down there!!! small world!
As I mentioned in one of the posts above, I haven’t actually been down to Beeville in several years; though I did talk to Truman on the phone a couple of years ago. Best I could tell they had all survived the devastating drought of 2011, which is why I had called him.
As far as I know, they do NOT make any furniture other than the rockers that you mentioned. Yes, they would be hard pressed to find any furniture grade lumber in the Beeville area to make furniture from. There are some awesome mesquite trees nearby if they wished to make some Texas rustic or even outdoor furniture.
If you are from San Antonio, you may be familiar with the Alsatian people around Lacoste & Castroville / Medina Valley area. I think the language their ancestors spoke, Alsatian, was similar to Swabish. Though I don’t know how many people in that area can still speak it.
I’ve been meaning to contact the Beeville Amish to see how they are doing. I think your post has inspired me to do so next chance I get. Do your currently live in western PA? If so; whereabouts do you live?
Pittsburgh, where do you live?
Hi all, does anyone happen to know the phone number for the Amish store?
Hi all, does anyone happen to know the phone number for the Amish store in Be ville texas? Thanks!
To those that criticized Texas so harshly. I’ve lived in in South Texas a long time ( about 3 hours away from Bee County) in Nueces county and have moved up north a couple of times but always came back. There is no better place to live then Texas. People don’t go up north to retire. They come down here for a reason. Also we have a lot of snowbirds…also for a reason.
Anabaptist comes from a Greek root-word and means to be baptized again. The original Anabaptists had been baptized in the State Church as infants and were rebaptized as adults. Anabaptist and Antibaptist does sound a lot alike, but it would be incorrect, as someone who is “anti baptist” would be against baptism. Is it possible he was saying Anabaptist and it sounded like anti-baptist? Or your friends were mispronouncing it? I am guessing the book may have been “The Martyr’s Mirror. In German it’s the Martyrspiegel) but there are many books written in German that could be found in Amish homes.
Try looking up “Anabaptist” on-line. I found many listings, with Wikipedia giving a good definition.
First and foremost, the new Amish community now a new Order. They elect to ride in Cadillacs and have adjusted to TV and open several famous Bbq places in Houston as of 2000.
Some like it hot
I’d guess a big reason people live in southern places is because they prefer hotter weather. I personally love it and I hate air conditioning. Is freezing weather more pleasing than hot and humid weather? Pennsylvania and the Midwest for examples are much different climate zones with different soil and more rain. Is it intelligent to waste precious water on flowers to impress visitors? It doesn’t seem they moved there to grow crops. Many “Englischers” live in less attractive homes because they find worth in other aspects of life besides the look of their home being good enough for Better Homes and Gardens. Many amish homes are quite fancy to my eye, but they claim to eschew pride and live plainly. Does it matter either way if they are not hurting anyone? Seeing the skinny horse in the picture is disconcerting. I don’t know why they’d have a million dollars lying around, but they moved to follow money, I bet they are frugal, and they might have sold large plots of land in another state. Hopefully they will provide their horses the nourishment they need! If the dumpiness is a reflection of ingratitude, perhaps they need to check themselves.
will you accept pretty much anyone who wants to join your amish place. thanks for replying. use email please to reply.
Comparing Amish in TX & PA
Only saw buggy’s when I visited the Bishop in Beeville. Their places were not kept neat. The Pennsylvania Amish keep their homes neat & have lots of flowers & plants and always take pride in their home. The Texas Amish could learn from them. Also, a little cold weather never hurt…gets much too hot in southern Texas for most humans. Since I live in both Texas & Pennsylvania & know Amish in both states, I can make an honest comparison.
Our visit to Beeville.
We wintered several winters in Rockport, Tx. and very often would he’d out in a different direction to visit some places we had not been to before..Beeville being one of them. As we drove into the center of town we noticed hitching posts at all the businesses along the main street.so we figured that there might be an Amish community there or nearby.
We spent good part of one day there & returned a couple of more times to visit but only once did we actually see someone we believed to be Amish….we did note the properties looked much different then those we had visited back east but the heat is a factor for sure. Come about mid-March I am ready to head east but many hearty folk stay into April..we did not & could not tolerate the heat which I do believe accounts for what has been described of these Amish..it’s a life with very extreme weather conditions. To us being “winter Texans” was all we needed.
I come from an Amish background in that my mother grew up Amish, and spoke Dutch with me until I started school. I’ve spent my entire life in close contact with my Amish cousins, visiting our family farm in Holmes County Ohio for weeks at a time more times than I can count, as well as extended family in Lancaster PA and Sarasota Fla. where many of my Mennonite and Amish family members also live.
For the past 18 years I’ve lived in Austin Texas, which is about 2.5 hrs North of Beeville. Austin is typically green and lush 8 to 9 months of the year, and sometimes all year long. But some summers can be extremely hot and dry if you’re used to east coast weather especially, it will seem unbearable, but you get used to it and by now it feels completely normal.
I’ve been to Beeville only once, and when I was there it looked nothing like the photos posted here, which I’m guessing were taken during the dog-days of July or August, and probably in a year when there was severe drought. It does look like a rough existence when compared to the lush green fields and farms in PA and Ohio.
I grew up on the east coast of Virginia and I do miss the constant rain and green, but at the same time I have to defend Texas a little bit. As I usually say, Texas is half green and half brown. A field or woods in Eastern Texas looks very similar to those in PA and Ohio, albeit flatter, but just as green, just as lush etc. The Western half of the state is dry, hot and mostly brown, and seems to be what everyone from the East thinks of when they think Texas.
I’ll end this by saying, Texas we have found is a great place to live and the people overall are friendly and genuine. I noticed immediately the difference when I go back home where people are more reserved and seem more easily provoked, be it in traffic or in the grocery store.
Texas is a huge state, so next time you find yourself here and are tempted to think “this is Texas”, I can promise you, there is always a whole ‘nother Texas out there for you to discover.
Come down, drive around and enjoy the diversity.
Some of these post are very wrong, I was Amish until I was 18 in Indiana, I could not read anymore but y’all don’t know hard work and love for family and god. Sometimes I wish I would have went back to that life it was so much simpler.
Aaron, I like to hear that you have regrets, and don’t you forget that you can still live simple, go back, work hard & Love God, do not stay away from your family! They would still wish and welcome you back! I know cause I am Amish.
A simpler life
Love of family and God is, or should be, the number 1 thing in ones life. My Amish friends are hard working and family oriented, but when I observed a church service, I found it far from simple. That is one of the differences of the Amish and Quakers, and that’s OK. We should all learn that when something is different from what we know, it is not wrong….it is merely different.
Our church service (called Meetings) is simple and usually in silence. With the belief that there is a part of God in everyone, we believe that each and every one of us can communicate directly with God.
We like Texas having lived here for several years, however, we still miss the 4 seasons we remember from when we lived in North Carolina, and we don’t own a pickup truck or a gun, so we never really fully fit into the Texas culture 🙂
Business in beeville
I worked for a brewery that would get the honey used in a beer from this community. I’d go to the house next to the combination shop and buy 20 gallons at a time. I figured that’s why it was called beeville right?
Very nice people
I visit the combination shop every couple of weeks to buy honey. The pictures are accurate, it looks run down and not very well taken care of. The shop workers seem friendly and up for conversation. I always enjoy my visit, so do my three girls enjoy seeing the horses and puppies if they have them for sale.