How The Amish Came To Vermont

A nice article in the Boston Globe on how the Amish came to settle Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Some excerpts:

“They wanted to see a particular place,” Maclure recalled. “I told them it was getting awful dark. Let’s wait until morning. They asked if they might camp in a field or barn.” They’d brought sleeping bags.

Maclure wouldn’t hear of it. “I said, ‘No, you’re not sleeping in a field.’ “

He invited the strangers home. “They seemed nice, decent people. They’d come a long way.”

That was 2013. The next year, Amish bought a couple of properties in Brownington. Barely anyone noticed.

By 2015 — the real “Year of the Amish” for Vermont — some 16 families, usually including a passel of kids and a grandparent or three, had acquired more farmland and moved to Brownington and Barton, an adjoining town, according to a tally of names and real estate records.

This is the state’s sole Amish settlement. Where did they come from?

According to an Amish newspaper, The Diary — which reports on crops, births, deaths, weddings, and migrations in the form of letters from Amish faithful — 16 households have moved to Vermont. About 150 people. All hail from Erie County, Pa., and Ashtabula County, Ohio.

Helping to bring in Christmas trees. Photo: Colin Nickerson/Boston Globe

On helping with the local Christmas tree harvest:

Adam Parke, a non-Amish Christmas tree grower, last year cautiously hired his first crew of Amish to help bring in the annual harvest.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. Now he’s hooked: “They are obliging, diligent folk — a day’s work means a day’s work.”

A pragmatic approach to life:

“A craft must be learned,” said Jacob Kauffman, a cabinet maker who set aside work on a fine hickory piece to talk. In life, he said, Amish “take what is useful. What is not useful, we have no need for.”

A portrait of evening in this community:

Come nightfall, especially during growing seasons, one can see the twinkle of lights dancing like fireflies in fields and barnyards — it’s Amish wearing battery-powered headlamps, a rare concession to modern times. The interiors of their homes are lit by kerosene lanterns. Of a winter evening, after supper, Amish families will gather around the wood stove.

“Perhaps we are reading” stories from the Bible, said a young man who asked that his name not be used. “Perhaps we are talking about the day’s work. Perhaps we are enjoying the silence and the peace.”

Read it in full here.

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    6 Comments

    1. Vermont Amish

      I read the full article & it was very well written. Great to know that the Amish are not only flourishing in Vermont, but substantially helping the state’s farm economy. May they have a long & prosperous life in that beautiful state.

    2. Arthur Mabee Jr

      How the Amish came to Vermont

      Erik,
      This is wonderful story on how the Amish came to Vermont, truly a blessing in every way! I’m glad you share these wonderful and true stories how well the Amish are flourishing. I can’t imagine anyone leaving PA and Ohio, I mean to just pick up and uproot everything to move into another state. I don’t know if you have done a similar story about Ethridge, TN Amish? The Amish in Ethridge, TN are Swartzentruber old order, these people here in Tennessee are some of the most polite and Thoughtful Amish, I guess you could say I’m being impartial since I’m from Tennessee? However, they are very hard working, honest and the most wonderful Amish you would want to talk with, very helpful as well.
      Again, thank you so much for this wonderful story about how the Amish came to Vermont, it’s a blessing and truly shows the loyalty the Amish have in their life. I pray for them to always continue to flourish and grow in all of their communities.
      God Bless!
      Bros. Arthur Mabee Jr

      1. Glad to share it Arthur – and I share your appreciation for the Amish in your state (though I’m only directly familiar with the Ethridge folks). Since that’s an older settlement (started in the 1940s) I have not seen any fresh reporting on how they came about, that would be more at historical account than a news report at this point:) I do have several posts on the community though which you might enjoy. They have ties with Amish in Mississippi as well, a daughter settlement which started in the 1990s.

        https://amishamerica.com/the-amish-of-ethridge-tennessee/
        https://amishamerica.com/baked-goods-mary-mast-ethridge-tennessee/
        https://amishamerica.com/visit-amish-ethridge-tennessee-29-photos/

        https://amishamerica.com/mississippi-randolph-pontotoc-county/

    3. Randy A

      Vermont's Gain

      Erie and Ashtabula’s loss is Vermont’s gain.

      1. And it sounds like they chose a beautiful area of the state. Also with the number of Amish in New York now, and growing population in Maine, I kind of expect to see a community popping up in New Hampshire sooner than later.