Amish in Michigan: 2024 Guide (50+ Communities)

Michigan is home to the sixth-largest Amish population. The state has a long history of Amish settlement, with the first Amish settling in the Great Lakes State in 1895. Today (2024) the Michigan Amish population numbers over 18,000 people.

Michigan’s 146 Amish church districts are scattered across 52 distinct settlements, from Hillsdale and Branch Counties in the south, to several locations in the Upper Peninsula.

Amish men working on the roof of a barn
Amish work on the roof during a barn raising in Gladwin County, Michigan. Photo: Jim Halverson

Amish Communities in Michigan

Two Amish women watch an auctioneer surrounded by a group of Amish men
Women observe the proceedings at an Amish-run auction. Michigan is home to over four dozen Amish communities. Photo: Jim Halverson

The Centreville Amish settlement – Michigan’s oldest and largest

The Amish community at Centreville in St. Joseph County (founded 1910) is the oldest and largest in Michigan.

Consisting of 16 church districts (roughly 2,000 individuals), this settlement has existed for well over 100 years. The Centreville Amish community was founded by families from the Swiss Amish communities in Adams and Allen counties in Indiana.

The Swiss Amish, an Old Order ethnic subgroup, are distinct from Pennsylvania German-ethnicity Amish.

Swiss Amish speak a different German dialect, are typically more conservative when it comes to technology, and tend to marry only within Swiss circles. Many Swiss Amish also practice yodeling, permit only open-top carriages, and mark graves with wooden stakes rather than gravestones.

Later, these Swiss settlers to Centreville were joined by PA German-ethnicity Amish from Lagrange County to the south.  Today’s community is comprised of descendants from these two distinct Amish ethnic groups.

Centreville Amish Today

Today, Centreville has ties with the much larger Amish settlement at LaGrange and Elkhart Counties, just south of the border in Indiana.  Churches in the two communities are in fellowship with one another. Amishmen from the Centreville community travel daily to work in the region’s RV factories, returning home to Michigan at the end of their shifts.

Amish buggies parked outside a store in the Centreville (St. Joseph County) Michigan Amish community. Photo: Jim Halverson

With increasing ties to the world has also come increasing technological change. Karen Johnson-Weiner notes this change in Train Up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools. Amish in the Centreville community have accepted phones to a greater degree, allowing them in phone booths and in some businesses.  Additionally, bicycles have been allowed in some church districts, as well as rubber tires on large wagons.

Johnson-Weiner notes further ties in education between the two communities, with female teachers from Centreville teaching and living in the Elkhart/LaGrange settlement, and returning home for the weekend.

Centreville Amish, in addition to working in the RV factories to the south, contribute to Michigan’s economy as well.  Some Centerville Amish operate dairy farms. Others run small businesses such as furniture, fabric, and vinyl shops (read more about Michigan Amish furniture businesses). As the largest Amish settlement in Michigan, Centreville also has a modest tourist industry.

Branch County: Home to Three Amish Settlements

Branch County in southern Michigan is home to three distinct Amish settlements, including two of the state’s largest, making it one of the most heavily-Amish-settled parts of Michigan. Amish communities can be found at Quincy (1977, 710 Amish), Bronson (1971, 1 district), Reading/Hillsdale (1979, 2 districts), Coldwater/Kinderhook (2004, 250 Amish),  and in California Township (1960, 1,600 Amish). The California Township group is the second-largest community in the state – a very plain settlement known as Swartzentruber Amish.

michigan amish rugs
Amish in Camden produce simple rugs. Photo: Katie Whitney

One of the settlements, that of Quincy, is a Swiss Amish settlement, founded by Amish from Norfolk, New York (with roots in the large Swiss Amish community in Allen County, Indiana).

Another nearby community lying in Hillsdale County in fact has some members in Branch County as well. Hillsdale County for its part has an additional three Amish communities, at Osseo and Pittsford (1997, 95 Amish), and the Swiss-roots settlement at Camden (1956, 655 Amish), and North Adams/Jerome (2010, 125 Amish).

Osceola County: More Amish Settlements Than Any Other Michigan County

Since 1989, Osceola County has attracted numerous Amish communities. The Amish must like something about this county, because a total of six separate Amish settlements exist there today. They can be found at:

  1. Evart (1989, 130 Amish)
  2. Marion (1995, 185 Amish)
  3. LeRoy (2000, 170 Amish)
  4. Hersey (2003, 70 Amish)
  5. Tustin (2012, 115 Amish)
  6. Reed City (2013, 85 Amish)

It is not uncommon for one area to attract multiple Amish groups over the years. If the initial group prospers, it shows other Amish people that the area may be a good one for settlement. This can be due to a number of factors – inexpensive farmland, good relations with non-Amish neighbors, viable markets for their products, and so on.

Clare County

Clare County is home to several Amish settlements, including one of Michigan’s largest. The main settlement, found near the town of Clare, numbers over 1,000 Amish (founded 1980). A second, smaller settlement lies near Harrison (2014, 170 Amish). A third, larger community lies partially in Clare County and in neighboring Gladwin County.

Long laundry line attached to Amish barn silo over a corn field
Laundry flaps in the wind at an Amish farm in Clare County, Michigan. Photo: Jim Halverson

Clare has been the site of previous editions of Horse Progress Days, a horse-drawn equipment showcase which draws Amish people from around the nation.

Mio, site of present and past Amish settlement

One of the older Michigan Amish settlements is found at Mio in Oscoda County. This community of three church districts was founded in 1970. However, Amish had previously lived at Mio for over half a century. The original Amish community at Mio was founded in 1900 by Amish from Geauga County, Ohio.

These pioneer farmers to the region settled on land formerly covered by thick forests. Amish historian David Luthy notes that local land agents attracted both Old Order Amish and more progressive Amish-Mennonites to the region through advertisements in the widely-read Sugarcreek Budget newspaper. Luthy states that their efforts met with great success: “Few, if any settlements grew as rapidly as did the one in Oscoda County” (Settlements that Failed, Luthy, p184).

Mio did in fact grow quickly, with over fifty Old Order Amish families arriving in the first five years, attracted by the inexpensive, unimproved land. To begin farming in this region, farmers had to clear their acres of the many stumps that remained from logging.  But those that did were rewarded, and the inexpensive land prices ($2-5/acre) tempted many to migrate to this heretofore little-settled area of north-central Michigan.

As Mio is located in the upper latitudes of Michigan, the settlement’s farmers dealt with a shorter growing season.  However, Amish settlers saw positives in the extreme winters, Luthy reports. The Mio Amish “preferred this to the constant thawing as was the case in more southern parts of the state. They felt their winter was healthier and nicer, and they enjoyed using a sleigh instead of a buggy” (Settlements that Failed, Luthy, p185). Mio Amish farmers prospered, enjoying bumper crops on the formerly wooded Oscoda County land. Amish raised clover, hay, peas, corn, potatoes, buckwheat, and other crops.

Eventually, the Old Order community began to go into decline. Part of the reason was that Old Order church members began joining the more progressive Amish-Mennonite congregation which had originally accompanied them to the region.

As the competing Mennonite church grew, Old Order Amish moved away or adopted more technological innovations, such as tractors. The Mio community went extinct as an Old Order Amish settlement with the death of the last remaining bishop in 1954.

michigan amish horses
Amish farmers rely on old-fashioned horsepower. Mio, Michigan. Photo: George Thomas

Sixteen years later, a new group of Amish would settle here, founding what is today Michigan’s fourth-oldest Amish community. These settlers, coincidentally, also came from Geauga County, Ohio, and later included Amish from northern Indiana. The present-day Mio community has not seen the same rapid growth of the original one, but has steadily climbed to a population of 585 individuals after 54 years of existence.

The “Michigan Circle” Amish Churches

The Mio area is notable for another reason. This Amish settlement served as the source of an “Amish reformist” movement, beginning in the 1980s, which has grown to include nearly three dozen communities, both within Michigan an in other states.

The Michigan Circle, also known as the Michigan Amish Fellowship, was led by an Amishman named Omar Miller who wished to “establish the Anabaptist vision of a scriptural church promoting true spirituality.” In practice this meant a group of like-minded churches focused on evangelizing and starting up new communities (rather than simply growing a community larger and larger).

The group emphasizes a special understanding of the “new birth”, and believes in “clean” church practices, including clean courtship, and a ban on alcohol and tobacco use. And unlike most Amish churches, the Michigan Circle communities hope to attract “seekers” – outsiders interested in joining the Amish.

Today the circle includes approximately 18 Amish communities in Michigan, and over a dozen more in other states, including Maine, Kentucky, and Montana. Read more about the Michigan Circle Amish, including location maps.

Amish in the Upper Peninsula

Since 2008, an Amish settlement has existed in Mackinac County in the Upper Peninsula. Later, Amish settled in Chippewa County in the Sault Ste. Marie area (2015), followed by a community at Cornell in Delta County (2019).  Today these three are the only Amish communities in the U.P. These settlements are all still a relatively small size.

Interestingly, another Amish settlement existed briefly in the Upper Peninsula, at Newberry in Luce County. This was a very short-lived settlement, lasting only three years (1897-1900).

David Luthy, in The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed 1840-1960 gives the history of this settlement. Amish settlers from Ohio founded this settlement in the waning years of the 19th century. One challenge Amish settlers encountered was the particularly harsh northern Michigan climate.

Harsh winters challenge some Amish settlers. Montcalm County, MI. Photo: Shannon Bromenschenkel

Luthy cites a letter from an early Amish settler who “mentioned that they hadn’t seen any ground since November 22nd and that presently in April there were eighteen inches of snow yet covering the ground” (Settlements that Failed, Luthy, p182).

Since a common reason for Amish migration is a need for suitable farmland, harsher climates can challenge unestablished, fledgling Amish settlements. The letter-writer also noted that the growing season was significantly shorter than that in Ohio.

A total of six Amish families settled this rugged area, with the last settler eventually moving to the new settlement at Mio in southern Michigan’s Oscoda County in 1900.

The modern-day Amish settlers to the Upper Peninsula no doubt face similar climate challenges as did the Luce County group over a century ago. But those Amish who have ventured to settle in the peninsula over the past decade-plus have been able to make a viable living – and the Amish presence in Michigan’s U.P. region has steadily grown since 2008.

Other Michigan Amish settlements

Besides those mentioned above, these are the remaining larger Amish communities in Michigan:

  • The Stanwood/Morley area of Mecosta County (1982, 1,035 Amish)
  • Two in Gladwin County (Beaverton/Gladwin area – 1979, 1,015 Amish and North Gladwin – 1980, 565 Amish)
  • Charlotte/Vermontville in Eaton County (1977, 475 Amish)
  • Marlette/Brown City in Sanilac County (1987, 650 Amish)
  • Six Lakes/Greenville in Montcalm County (1973, 535 Amish)
  • Hastings in Barry County (2006, 415 Amish)
  • Cass City area in three counties – Huron, Sanilac & Tuscola (1993, 905 Amish)
  • Blanchard in Isabella County (1983, 850 Amish)
Green and blue-colored quilts hanging on lines in front of two white Amish homes
Some Michigan Amish produce goods for the tourist industry, such as quilts. Photo: Jim Halverson

In addition to these, across Michigan you’ll also find numerous settlements founded in recent years, numbering anywhere from a handful of families to several hundred individuals. Find a full list of Michigan Amish communities here.

A state of numerous failed Amish settlements

For various reasons, Michigan has been a state that has attracted Amish settlement.  At the same time, numerous Amish settlements in Michigan have failed.  Despite its significant Amish population today, Michigan ranks as the state with the highest number of extinct Amish settlements, with at least 14 in its history.

michigan amish steam engine
Amish watch a steam engine in Mason. Photo: Joe Ross

In addition to the extinct settlements at Mio and Luce County in the Upper Peninsula, Amish settlements have arisen only to later disappear at Spruce in Alpena County (1905-1922); White Cloud in Newaygo County (1895-1935); West Branch in Ogemaw County (1908-1942); and Hope in Midland County (1909-1930).

Michigan Amish settlements have failed in recent years as well, with several going extinct since 2000, including at Hale in Iosco County (1978-2007; a separate Amish settlement was founded here in 2006); Elsie and Ovid in Shiawassee and Clinton Counties (1987-2004); Coral in Montcalm County (1991-2008); and Vestaburg in Montcalm County (1993-2006).

Michigan Amish Continue To Thrive

Despite its history of failed settlements, Michigan remains a state with a significant Amish population. While not nearly as large as that of neighboring Indiana or Ohio, Michigan’s Amish population still ranks as one of the country’s largest, at over 18,000 Amish people.

Michigan has also attracted new Amish settlement, with a dozen new communities being added in the past decade (see Young Center Amish Studies’ Growth of Amish Settlements and Districts, 2014-2023).

For more information, see:

  • Amish in Michigan, Gertrude Enders Huntington
  • The New American Almanac, Raber’s Bookstore (Baltic, Ohio), Ben J. Raber
  • Amish Population, 2023 Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College 
  • “Amish Population in the United States by State, County, and Settlement, 2023” – compiled by Edsel Burdge, Joseph F. Donnermeyer, and Adam Hershberger
  • The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed, 1840-1960, David Luthy
  • Train Up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools, Karen Johnson-Weiner
  • Plain Diversity: Amish Cultures and Identities, Steven M. Nolt and Thomas J. Meyers

Michigan Amish on the Amish America blog

The Amish in Michigan have been covered on numerous occasions on the Amish America blog.  In 2008 a reader shared a dozen photos of a Montcalm County, MI Amish settlement.  Each year a horse and carriage auction takes place, and is highly attended by the area’s Amish, at Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.  A man raised Amish in Michigan discussed Amish life in one news piece.

Michigan Amish Tourism and Business-Looking for a Michigan Amish business? A listing of Amish businesses and tourist information for visitors to the Michigan Amish communities mentioned above.

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    198 Comments

    1. James

      In need of a contractor

      I am in search of someone to rebuild an existiog pole barn and do various remodel projects around my home. I live just south of Lawton, Michigan. Please email to unclejak@aol.com.

    2. Mark Langkamp

      Amish in Mason County Michigan

      Are there any Amish communities in Mason county Michigan?

      1. There are none in that county Mark, unless one has been started in the past half-year or so.

        1. Maureen Franklin

          Sofits facia siding

          Please contact me regarding how I may reach the contractors/carpenters in Cornell Michigan. Do they still have a bakery and greenhouse open on Thursdays

    3. Charlotte

      St Joseph’s Amish

      Do you know if the Amish near Shipshewana sell to the tourist in St Joseph’s County Michigan? I want to venture there.

    4. Adam Christs

      Niggers

      Do you know what a thermal image of filtered four times can reveal from 450 miles away one iCloud device iOS device? I give you a radio tower and you never talk about me you give me 450 miles away from an iOS device and I know everything wrong you’ve ever done and I’m gonna start talking about you only to a schizo which means he communicates to the devil and then repeats with the devil tells him to which is me and then he hears before you do something and tells you to do the wrong thing he does not trust you ever you always will do the wrong thingHe tries to deal himself out of the same hand it’s like blackjack he asked to play I can be the guy telling everybody what to do I’m not to blame he’s not to blame he works for me he’s the only schizo you guys can’t control the only schedule I can I just told you hell

      1. mr. graham "grahambaster" baster

        Adam you going the distance.

    5. Edward Jackson

      Looking for someone who can add on to my house room's

      I’m wanting to add on to my house . and do brush work and put roof on .new metal roof. Thanks for your time I can be reached at my email. Bearjackson1192@gmail.com

    6. Rose

      Looking for An Amish builder In Paradise Mi.

      I am looking for a reputable Amish builder for a small metal home in Paradise up in the UP in the spring 2022.

      My mailing address is POB 143 Paradise 49768 or email northernwildrose@gmail Thank you.

    7. Brandie Jackson

      Puppy

      I am looking for a small puppy near Kalamazoo Shorkie or a Cavapoo. But I want to purchase from a Amish community, to support their family.
      My name Brandie, I can be reached by email.

    8. Step on Guide needed...

      I am taking a group of seniors on a mystery trip to the Coldwater/Quincey area. We are having a meal over there, doing some shopping and would like a narrated drive through the back roads and the downtown areas of the history please.
      This is a paid job. Please contact me asap 248-960-6505.

    9. Tom

      Need Amish connections nearest to Traverse City, Michigan

      Need Amish connections nearest to Traverse City, Michigan for building a pole building with living quarters above.

    10. mark sassak

      looking for a roofer for plymouth, michigan

      needing a full replacement roof asphalt

    11. Carla Groh

      Looking for Someone to Build a Little Library for my Yard

      Hi,
      I currently have a little library but it is falling apart and I would like to replace with a quality product. Is there anyone who would be available and interested in building one? I am happy to send pictures of what I have in mind (nothing fancy or complicated; just a box with a glass door to put books in for my neighbors). Thanks so much. I look forward to hearing from someone. Best Carla

    12. Kevin Lindsey

      UP Amish

      We are camping in Sault st Marie Michigan. Every morning some Amish builders are passing the campground early in a horse and buggy. Is there possibly a new community closer to here than the one in Engadine? I can’t imagine them transporting their horses if they were just on a job. Thanks

    13. Terri

      What michigan laws do Amish have to follow?

      Hello, I lice in central Michigan and have a very large group of Amish in my community. We have dealt with them on numerous projects, outings and community support projects. But one thing I am very curious about, but do not want to ask and come off as judgemental or against their ways so I am here to find out. I understand that michigan has “Cottage Food Laws” and that is what they operate under for their baked goods and things they sell to the “general public”. But I am curious if they must abide by other michigan food laws. For instance the Michigan Food Code laws? Ie. Can one open a butcher shop without being licensed and inspected by the state (even custom exempt butchers require an inspection at LEAST 1x a year, more so if they fail prior inspections. As well as do they have to meet all the same health and safety requirements as those who are NOT within the amish communities, when the products they’re doing are infact for the “general public” and not for their own use?

    14. Danielle

      Amish communities in Michigan

      This must be a very old article. I drive for the Amish in over a dozen Michigan counties that are not listed in this article.

    15. Jeannine Liedel

      clearing and small hunting cabin desired

      I have 13 acres on the west Betsy River in Paradise Michigan, Chippewa County, Whitefish Township. It’s back in off the snowmobile trail and I desire some clearing minimum and a small hunting cabin /shelter to be constructed this summer….. Is there an Amish community close by that I can contact for the help that I need? June 16, 2023

    16. Sandy Johnson

      Need garage built Rapid River area upper mi

      Need a garage built in rapid river please reply 1906 280 9119

    17. tear down/recycle

      We have a small building that we want to change into a storage area/pavillion. We are hoping to recycle the windows, doors, light fixtures, flooring, wall material etc. We are between Gladwin and Prudenville. Please contact us at 989-366-0873. Please leave message if no one answers. Thank you.