A full one-third of Delaware’s counties have Amish settlements.
Okay, Delaware only has three counties (yep, that kind of sounds like a joke you’d hear an Amish guy make).
Delaware’s sole Amish settlement nestles against state capital Dover. Amish have been here almost 100 years.
It’s a decent-sized community, actually: 9 church districts, over 1000 people. Amish have been leaving though. Land is expensive next to the capital.
Still, it’s still not as busy a place as, say Lancaster County. I think you can get a sense of that in the photos below. Amish I talked to last February suggested they’d be here a while yet.
Hope you enjoy these 10 photos of the Dover Amish:
For more info and photos from this settlement, see the Dover, Delaware Amish, and for Dover Amish woodworkers: Delaware Amish furniture.
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We had the pleasure of visiting that community when we were in Delaware last fall. We had a very enjoyable time, and met many very friendly people. Thanks for posting it!
The first thing I’m thinking about when I’m looking at these Dover Delaware Amish is “wow”. They look very “brinks truck-like”, and they seem to be just a tad bigger than most of the buggies that I’ve seen. I’ve always liked Delaware for some reason, yet i have never really spent any real quality time there. Richard from Pennsylvania.
My wife’s family moved from West Chester, PA to Dover, DE. Her dad had a dairy, and he also had a regular dairy route where he picked up milk from several Amish farms. I did the route for him one time, so I’ve been to several Amish farms. I don’t recall ever seeing the type of buggy in the picture, but it was a long time ago. He always called them Dunkards. I think Dunkards were a little different in that the head covering was a little different from the typical Amish, and baptism rules may be a little different. Perhaps Erik could enlighten us a little.
Her dad also drove Amish men to Canada for vacation, and often took men to a chiropractor. He said he never took any women even though they worked hard too 🙂
Dover DE plain people
Good question Bob, and sorry I’m a bit under the weather today so I might be shorter and sweeter and slower than normal (maybe that’s a good thing 🙂 )
I’m not sure who they might have been if they were not the Amish group. The Dover Amish buggy style has been the traditional style for a long time but not sure how and how much it has evolved. Maybe someone here with deeper DE knowledge will know.
Kevin glad you enjoyed it. Dover is not so well-known I guess partially due to its location and of course due to Lancaster being relatively nearby. But a pleasant place from what I could tell.
Richard speaking of Brinks trucks, I don’t know if you remember seeing a post a couple months ago also from Dover–of one of the church wagons. Now those are some hefty looking contraptions:
Dover Amish growth rates
I just was reading through an old GAMEO article which mentioned that Dover had 8 church districts…way back in 1984 (around 1,300 people according to the entry).
With Amish populations doubling about every 18-20 years on average, that gives you a sense of how slow or negative-growing this settlement has been. At normal rates you’d expect around 18 or so congregations by now, rather than just the 9 it actually has. Here’s the article:
Also, you can see by the Young Center growth data for 1991-2010 that Delaware (which means Dover alone) was basically the slowest-growing state over the period (not counting Texas, which had a very small population before declining in size to just one district):
I believe your correct Erik, you did do a story on the Dover Amish a little while back. And I’m sure i might have said the same thing about those buggies in Dover. But with their buggies looks can be deceiving as far as appearing safer and stronger than some other Amish buggies, with the main source for its body being only wood. It sure gives me the impression of being stronger just by looking at it though, but i know its only an illusionsillusionsIllusion. Richard from Pennsylvania.
Sorry for the word illusion being repeated 3 times, not sure what happened there.But ill just blame Erik for that one, its easy hes not around right now,lol. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon,Pa
While we were in Dover we did see a variety of buggies. There were the traditional Amish buggies, but we also saw a beautiful farm type open air buggy. I say farm type because buggy was beautifully finished in a natural color. We guessed that it must have been from a different church district then the one we were primarily visiting, Or it may have been a new farm wagon?!?
Hi there, I am a driver for the Dover Amish and just checked my Amish Directory. There are now 9 church districts. Also an off-shoot, if you call it that, is a community by South Boston VA, with one church district, all former Dover Amish. Wish I would check this website more frequently, I love the discussions and topics. I have noticed as I see different Amish communities that they vary quite a bit in how they live, take care of their places etc. Most Dover Amish have very tidy, well maintained homes, indoor plumbing, etc. Just returned from Conewango NY where the Amish live very sparse, most homes don’t have siding, look very poor and no phones, use outhouses. A former driver there told me that they aren’t as poor as they look but rather shun any attempt to live with things a little nicer, as that would be “Putting on airs”. I think in Dover and VA it is sort of the opposite, a desire to keep your place as nice and neat as possible within the limits of the church.