Household Items of the Adams County, Indiana Amish

Berne Amish Home Winter
A typical Amish home in Adams County, Indiana

The photos below show some typical items used in the Adams County, Indiana Amish community.  The Amish of Adams County are considered “lower” or more traditional than many other groups.  These photos were taken in a local shop.

This first photo shows a common style of oil lamp, the form of lighting used in this community.  Our contributor notes that pink is also a common color in Adams County Amish homes.

Oil Lamps Amish

These are oil lamp reflectors.  Our photographer shares that aluminum foil is a popular homemade reflector in the community.

Oil Lamp Reflectors

Typical bowls used by Amish in this and other communities.  Wide bowls like these are more practical than plates, containing solids and liquids equally well.  The material here is likely melamine, a durable plastic popular for tableware in the 1950s and 1960s, but which lost popularity due to its tendency to show scratches and stains.

Amish Bowls

Hickory rocker seat cushions and backrests.  You’ll find hard chairs and benches in this community, while in “higher” Amish communities you may sit on La-Z-Boy recliners and upholstered sofas.

Hickory rockers tend to be popular in more traditional communities, and can be seen in this photo from a Swartzentruber Amish home, as well as in this Pennsylvania Swiss Amish home.  In Adams County, “black and blue fabric are the local colors of choice”.

Hickory Rocker Cushions

Black bonnet for sale.  The price tag is a little difficult to make out but looks like it reads $11 or $11-something.  Apparently only black is allowed for head coverings in the Adams County community, no white.

Black Bonnets Amish

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    43 Comments

    1. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      I want my cushions back. When I moved my brother took the cushions that my Dad bought to, well, cushion his behind while sitting on the wood dinning room table’s chair set. I’m doing without right now, but the blue cushion in the pictures reminded me that this is much more comfortable than not. I think my brother probably threw them out on me because his girlfriend didn’t see the niceness in them (they’re practical more than nice).

      In certain re-creationist hobbies I know that you can buy what are known as “mop caps”, literally just a sown and slightly frilled eighteenth and nineteenth century women’s head-covering for about 11 dollars, so this more sturdy bonnet probably is a steal for that price!

      I am looking rather Amish today in my choice of clothes, black pants, black vest (sweater, but whatever), white-ish dress shirt, sans tie, if I put on my black brimmed hat (bought from a bonnet wearing Mennonite) I’d be rather plain, but I’ll save that for the spring maybe, and wear my wool hat instead today to protect me from the cold when I go out this morning.

      1. Damon Hickey

        Mob, not mop, caps

        I believe the correct term for the cap mentioned by Slightly-Handled-Order-Man is “mob cap,” not “mop cap.” It became popular during the French Revolution and was given this nickname because it was worn by so many women in the Paris “mob.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mob_cap

        1. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

          Thanks Damon,
          I didn’t clearly know where those caps came from. Honestly, I have always heard “mop”, but of course given the era that I am interested in, in the British world of the Regency and late-Napoleonic era, it might not have been fashionable to refer to the mobs that took down the Monarchy during the French Revolution, since it was a concern given the grand life of the Prince Regent.
          But thank you for the info on that, we learn something every day, this is why I like Amish America.

      2. Rich

        Kind of odd you’d come here to comment and instantly start complaining to absolutely no one. Hope it made you feel better.

    2. Kevin L.

      Thanks for this. I really enjoy the posts that show the everyday stuff that make up the life of the amish. We have stopped in many of the shops in Amish areas and spent a day at Lehmans in Kidron and have always enjoyed them, plus found things we needed we couldnt fine anywhere else!

    3. Nancy @ A Rural Journal

      Thoroughly enjoyed this post — a glimpse of the everyday items in Amish homes. Thank you!

    4. Christine T

      I would love to visit that store. The lamps are beautiful!

    5. I have a bonnet like that. I don’t wear bonnets here in the city, as they inhibit peripheral vision too much.

    6. Alice Mary

      In some of my “reading”, it states that black bonnets are worn over white prayer kapps, when going “out” (shopping, into town, visiting). I also read that very young girls (preschool?) wear black prayer kapps because they’re easier to keep clean. 😉 The way I understand it, black BONNETS are worn over black or white PRAYER KAPPS (meaning, a double covering), mainly when traveling away from the homestead, as mentioned above.

      I’m guessing it might also be one of those customs that vary from settlement to settlement.

      Could anyone comment more definitively on the subject?

      I never saw reflectors like that, but would like one for my oil lamp which I use every now & then.

      Thanks for the photos!

      Alice Mary

      1. Anna

        Alice Mary, yes, you’re right about bonnets and kapps. I left my comment before I saw your.

    7. Anna

      The bonnets are worn over coverings when ever going to church, visiting, etc. I have never seen a white bonnet, but kapps or prayer coverings are usually white especially for married women. And FYI bonnets aren’t worn inside.

    8. Debbie Halcomb

      Bonnet prices

      I have checked out the bonnet prices online and $11.00 is a steal. I wonder if that store does online sales. Even with shipping that is a great price.

      Alice Mary, I too would like some of those reflectors. Here in Florida we keep oil lamps for hurricanes. When we were hit by three out of four hurricanes a few years back our lights were out two weeks for one storm and five days after the last one. We sure could have used those reflectors then. My husband likes using the lamps occasionally because they remind him of his childhood before they had electric.

      Thanks Eric for posting the pictures. I love seeing the Amish everyday items and homes.

      1. Glad you enjoyed them, of course made possible by one of our appreciated contributors 🙂 Considering the community it is in, I doubt this store does much online.

    9. sharon dixon

      The district I’m with, we wear white prayer kapps. And wear the black ones on church day or traveling when it is cold. The black ones are never worn inside. My district is the most relax. Of the 4 district’s here. When we are at home and doing chores, I don’t wear my white kapp but a lace type one bought though CVS pharmacy.

      1. Interesting Sharon, I think you wrote once you are in a Dunkard Brethren church?

    10. sharon dixon

      Hi Erik. Good jod remembering hope you are doing well. Love Amish America. Keeps me up to date on things.

      1. OldKat

        Erik, Sharon

        Would it be out of line to ask if a thread could be done on the Dunkard Brethern; history, core beliefs etc?

        I was not even aware of this group until a few yeras ago, so finding out that someone that posts on Amish America is a member is not only a surprise, but something of a treat.

        I looked online for information on this group when I first learned of them, but there was very little information to be found there. This has motivated me to search again.

        1. A good idea Oldkat, we haven’t ever touched much on that group. We’ll see what we can come up with.

          1. Trish in Indiana

            Erik, I too would like to hear more about Dunkards. My great-grandparents on my mother’s side were Dunkards. (My grandfather, who died before I was born, did not practice any faith, and married a Catholic who brought up all their children as Catholics.) There is also a small Dunkard church just a few miles from my home, but I think that community is dwindling away. In spite of the family background and the close proximity of a community, I know next to nothing about their ways and how they fit into the overall Anabaptist tapestry.

        2. sharon dixon

          If anyone has dunkard brethren questions they can email me at sharonldixon68@yahoo.com I will try my best to answer what I know.

    11. Donald Curtis

      Bonnets and Prayer Caps

      I asked my son, Mark, about this. He said that all Amish wear prayer caps. The design of the prayer cap designates how conservative or liberal the group is. Usually, the softer the material and the more pleats in the prayer cap, the more conservative the church. I some communities, especially Holmes County, it is traditional for unmarried girls to wear the black prayer cap. At Holmes County, Ohio Amish weddings, the bride and her attendants will wear the black caps to the wedding service. After the service and before the noon meal the bride will go and wear the white prayer cap.

      Bonnets are always black. The larger the bonnet, usually the more conservative the group. Also, usually the more conservative the group the more the bonnets are worn. All Amish groups wear the bonnet to church. But, during the week it depends on the group.

      In Mark’s community at Belle Center, all of the women and girls wear the white prayer caps. The little girls start wearing the cap when they are about one year old or so, especially for church.

      1. Donald Curtis

        Correction

        There I go again, messing up. I meant to say that all Amish women wear prayer caps. Not, all Amish.

    12. Darlene

      When I read the caption I understood it to mean that ALL head coverings for women were black. I believe that this is true in Adams County. The women wear black prayer coverings and the black bonnets in the photo above would be worn over the covering. I did a Google photo search and found a blog where the blogger shared her photos from a visit to Adams County, Indiana. The women and children in the photos are wearing black prayer coverings.

      1. That’s right Darlene, it was meant to mean all head coverings including prayer coverings.

    13. Carol

      Dunkard Cemetery in Central Illinois

      According to “From the Timber to the Prairie,” (Cunningham & Shoaf) the primitive Baptist church or the “Dunkards” held church in the early 1830s in the Samuel Beaver cabin four miles east of Old Homer. By 1833 the church listed 14 families as members. Burials were held under the auspices of the Baptist church. The Dunkard Cemetery, also known as the Old Homer Cemetery, is located north of the village of Homer.

    14. Linda

      Boontonware

      In the fourth photo, you have a good view of Boontonware bowls, in blue, speckled, and white melamine. I can almost hear the plates being scraped clean by spoons at the dinner table. The bowls are used for cereal, soup, salad, or a meal. In a 2010 article, “Boontonware is still popular, even if it’s made in Ohio,” a quote is given that “The Amish in particular like them because of their simplicity,” Juliano said. “They are not real fancy and they can be easily replaced.” Durable Boontonware can become stained or scratched, but does not break easily. The bottom of the plate says “Boonton.” They were originally produced in Boonton, New Jersey.

      http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2010/10/bonntonware_still_popular_even.html

      1. Thanks for putting a name on this tableware Linda. Now I’m going to be checking the bottom of my bowls for Boonton when in Amish homes over the next few weeks.

    15. Melmac

      Mine are Stetson brand Dinnerware from Chicago Ill. in use since the 60’s. They tend to heat up when used in a microwave, more than glass or china, so I avoid that.

    16. Leroy

      10 year old Amish................

      A 10 year-old Amish girl, Sarah Hershberger, is being forced to receive chemotherapy against her parent and

      grandparents wishes. A court order was issued October 7, 2013 at the request of attorneys representing Akron

      Children’s Hospital (ACH) to continue chemotherapy for more than two years. Open the link below to read the full

      story.

      https://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/10-year-old-amish-girl-declared-cancer-free-/145672

      The above link will direct you to a fundraiser website where you can read the full story and also watch the news about Sarah Hershberger.

      1. Leroy, this sounds like old news. The latest we’ve seen (as of news reports mid-February 2014) is that the court has allowed the guardian to drop her attempt to enforce chemo and that Sarah is not receiving chemotherapy and has returned home to Ohio. http://medinagazette.northcoastnow.com/2014/02/14/judge-accepts-guardians-resignation-in-amish-medical-case/

        We have a number of threads related to this story on the site. Just search using the Google search box in the right sidebar. Here are links to two recent ones:

        https://amishamerica.com/guardian-drops-attempt-to-enforce-chemo-on-amish-girl/

        https://amishamerica.com/tiny-houses-loren-beachys-plain-side-and-the-amish-at-oakland-maryland/

    17. DianeB

      Love the bowls

      Does anyone know of an online source where I can purchase similar bowls? Especially love the blue color. The oil lamps are very pretty too.

      1. Linda

        Boonton bowls at Shetler's Wholesale Co.

        Diane, sometimes eBay has Boonton #3308 bowls, but they may be pricey. Many Amish country stores sell Boonton melamine dinnerware, but it’s hard to find the dishes online.

        In the Spring 2014 catalog of Shetler’s Wholesale Company, the 22-oz. Melmac Soup Plates, with 7-3/4 inch diameter, are listed for $2.85 each plus shipping. They have five colors, including Blue and Confetti Blue. You could request a variety merchandise catalog by writing Shetler’s Wholesale Co., PO Box 8, Geneva, IN 46740, or faxing 260-368-9902. They also sell oil lamps. Geneva is in Adams County, Indiana.

    18. Emily

      Road trip!

      Well, I was thinking of a road trip to Adams County today, but it was soooo unseasonably cold that we opted for staying indoors. Maybe a trip next week is in order. I am assuming that businesses will be up and running again after the holiday by at least Tuesday, no?

      Emily

      1. Recommended Adams County, Indiana Amish businesses

        Emily you should be good to go by Tuesday. Easter Monday is observed by some Amish, thought I don’t know the specific custom among the Swiss/Adams County.

        If you go, I recommend the store featured in this post, which is R & E Sales. Here’s another post on it with photos of the exterior too:

        https://amishamerica.com/marketing-amish-recipes/

        Also if you have a sweet tooth you might want to try Jonie and Marie Graber’s Countrylane Bakery. Just got a postcard from them which I think had something about a new location actually in Berne somewhere. More info and photos of pie and monster cookies:

        https://amishamerica.com/adams-county-indiana-amish-bakery/

        R and E Sales address is: 825 E 200 S Monroe, IN 46772

        Countrylane Bakery address is: 4224 S 450 W Berne, Indiana

        1. Emily

          Adams County Businesses

          Thanks, Erik! I figured they would take off at least Monday, but I didn’t know that Swiss Amish did not practice that custom. That is interesting.

          I definitely had both of those on my list, per your prior post about the area. There are some Swiss Amish in Kentucky (Turners Station/Carrollton, KY) that are related to the Berne settlement families. I was hoping to chat with them on my next trip to KY, to see about where they might suggest visiting in Berne. We are definitely open to all suggestions!

          1. Visiting Adams County Amish

            Actually Emily, I hope it wasn’t unclear, but I wrote above that I do not know the specific custom among the Swiss or Adams Co. regarding Easter Monday.

            I do hope you enjoy your visit, it’s a different community than Lagrange/Elkhart Counties. Funny enough, last visit to Countrylane, they actually had a leftover shoofly pie available (they don’t normally make shoofly in that area, was a special order).

            1. Emily

              Thanks, Erik! I actually did misread your statement above, so many thanks for the clarification.

              I am looking forward to it. We’ve spent so much time in the Lagrange area settlements, as well as those in Michigan, that we never seem to drive just a wee bit further to Berne area. So, hopefully this next week!

              Funny about Countrylane. I do recall you mentioning that!

    19. Beverly

      Love the bowls

      Diane, I just found this article and it is Jan 2015.
      I just purchased 3 of these exact blue speckled bowls on e-bay for 18$. Also I have been shopping in my state’s (Washington) Goodwill outlet stores! I got 2 “Dallas Ware” bowls, and 1 Boonton winged sm platter for less than 5$ I used them to feed my cats! Easy to wash dried on food. The bigger ones will be for personal use. So I would submit, second hand is a way to go!

    20. eve perry

      How can you become amish? How do you do it with five children?

      1. Naomi Wilson

        Are you a Bible-believing Christian? That is, have you experienced the new birth? Do you love Jesus more than your own life?

        If so, then go to http://www.beachyam.org to see if there is a Beachy-type Amish Mennonite/conservative Mennonite church anywhere within driving distance of where you live. If there isn’t, check for Amish Mennonite churches that have websites with call-in phone numbers for listening to Sunday morning sermons, or previously recorded sermons.

        This gives you a starting point. Unless you have deep faith, trying to become Amish will only cause you pain down the road.

        The book Called to be Amish is a very good read.

    21. I’d want to thank you for writing such an interesting article on the issue. This has given me a lot to think about, and I’m excited to read more.

    22. I’m certain I’ll be able to apply some of the knowledge you provided in my blog.

    23. Brad

      Contact Info for Store

      I wonder if you happen to have the contact information for this store selling the cushions for the hickory rockers? (Or would know of a place online or elsewhere that would sell them) I Would love to order one…If you have the name and address of the specific store, I’d be glad to write them a letter requesting a price. Thanks!