The Amish of Orange County, Indiana

As of 2024, there are two Amish communities in Orange County, Indiana – both a similar size (500+Amish people). Let’s have a look at a few more of Cindy Seigle’s Orange County, Indiana Amish photos with a few of my own comments attached.

Again, we aren’t 100% sure which of the two Orange County groups each particular picture is from, but there are similarities between the two groups when it comes to dress and technology.

In this photo you can see obvious signs of a lower-order Amish buggy – no SMV triangle, side-view mirrors, or windows.

Indiana_amish_buggy

The father’s bob-style haircut is typical of the Swartzentruber group, but again, as there are similarities in appearance between the two settlements, he could in fact be a member of the Paoli group.

Some Amish children enjoy large playgrounds with softball diamonds.  Others make due with what they have.

Indiana_amish_school

Meyers and Nolt write that Orange County Amish schools are likely the most austere in Indiana. Still looks like a lot of fun.

Love this photo by Cindy. Slowly but surely. By foot is about the simplest way to go.

Amish_women_walking

Some people express surprise at seeing more mainstream Amish in sneakers and tennis shoes.  Though I’m not sure that the lower-order groups in these photos would approve of such footwear, comfortable modern shoes are common in many Amish communities.

In any case, the Amish do not avoid comfort for the sake of suffering. Amish appreciate comfort as much as you and I do. Technological restrictions and dress guidelines help to preserve community by serving as a symbolic separation from the world and hampering destructive outside influences.

Open-front buggies are also a sign of a more conservative Amish group.  Many Amish venture into town quite frequently to do shopping or on general errands.

Indiana amish buggy orange county

Do the Amish ever live in town? In some communities, such as Topeka, Indiana, or Mount Hope, Ohio, a large percentage of a hamlet’s residents are actually Amish. Sometimes elderly Amish will move into town, and some will sell their horse if they become infirm or find they are able to manage without it.

Steel wheels are par for the course for most Amish-owned farm equipment.  Rubber is used in some groups but is less common. Steel wheels work fine in the fields, but are a bit “unhandy” on asphalt, which is the point.

Amish_men_at_work

I remember listening to a steel-wheeled tractor approach on a rural byway near Kalona, Iowa. You could hear it quite a long way off.  Things are not always too quiet and peaceful in Amish America.

Amish_windmill_2

Thanks again to Cindy for the great photos. If you like you can read more about Indiana Amish, or visit the Indiana Amish furniture directory.

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    12 Comments

    1. Emma

      Great pictures!
      we might also note that the ladies wear their bonnets…which tend to “disappear” somewhat in higher groups…

    2. Susie

      Hi Erik!

      Our Estonian “daughter” Ulane, sent us the link to your blog not long ago. I am enjoying it immensely. Am I correct that you are originally from the States but somehow have a connection to the SW Estonian group? Also, I am not sure if you are notified when someone posts comments, but I left a comment on your March 1st post about Late Night Fun. Thanks for the great site!

    3. Penelope Anne

      I am just loving this blog which I found a few weeks back. I love to learn more and more. I have also shared the link with many friends.
      I would love learn even more about the communities in Wisconsin where I live.

    4. That was a very interesting post!

    5. Thanks so much for using some more of my pictures! I’m flattered. I think most of our Amish are some of the strictest around. They use only a small oil lamp and 4 strips of protective tape on their buggies at night. (In the first shot, you can see the strips of tape.) It’s scary to deal with them at night on the roads.

      Most of the Amish around here wear black shoes and a very, very few will wear black sneakers, but mostly they’re tie ups with a high ankle.

      Erik, our Amish never, ever live in town. They are farmers, merchants and craftsmen and come to town to sell wares and buy supplies, but I’ve never known of an Amish person to live in towns, even though our largest town is dinky here.

      Thanks again for using the pics. Keep an eye out, I add pics of them every chance I get to take one. I appreciate the others who’ve commented on the pics also. Thanks everyone!

      Cindy

    6. Thanks Emma for the observation! Thanks Michelle!

      Penelope Anne thanks for reading and sharing the link…I hope we can have more info on Wisconsin Amish in future. There are quite a few communities in that state and it has attracted a lot of Amish in recent years.

    7. Hi Susie, very nice to hear from you–yes I’ve known Ulane for going on five years, in fact I saw her just last month! That’s great to hear she passed the link on to you.

      I am from North Carolina but have lived in Poland since 2001 with extended stays back in the States, mainly in Amish communities. I know a lot of the Estonian folks from SW and have visited Estonia probably a half-dozen times. I wonder if you’ve ever had a chance to go visit?

      Erik

    8. Do Amish live in towns or villages?

      That is interesting Cindy, I did notice the tape–it’s not much, is it?

      I’m not surprised the Amish in Orange County don’t live ‘in town’. Generally the ones I cited and others like Shipshewana, Indiana or Bird-in-Hand, PA are more villages than proper towns, and a lot of them, such as Farmerstown, OH are not much more than a clustering of houses along a county highway. Actually in Lancaster, PA with the high population density at a lot of Amish places you almost feel like you are ‘in town’.

      As for slow moving vehicle triangles and lighting on buggies, this is one area where I feel the lowest-order groups such as the Swartzentrubers do wrong to their neighbors–namely English drivers who may find themselves swerving at the last minute to avoid dimly illuminated buggies in the evening.

      Buggies are usually on the losing end of car-buggy accidents, but at the same time horse-drawn vehicles can and have been the cause of accidents where English drivers have died. In this case the stubborn refusal to bend to accommodate outsiders I feel is not admirable but rather inconsiderate. Higher-order Amish are aware of this and will criticize groups that refuse to use sufficient nighttime illumination.

      Thanks again for the great photos and will check back again.

      Erik

    9. Reid Hochstedler

      Sadly due to flooding Orange County is currently under a state of emergency.

    10. Thanks, Erik.

      The Amish farms around here are clustered, but there are many, many clusters all over the counties that they’re in. Southern Indiana Amish are a lot different than the ones in northern Indiana.

      I agree about the reflecting tape not being enough. The oil lamps are virtually invisible at night until it’s too late. Being a series of two-lane roads, I’m amazed that there aren’t more problems.

      I’ve often wondered why the government doesn’t REQUIRE more safety issues at night for these folks. I don’t get to pick the road laws I want to obey. Personally, I think the wheels should also have tires on them, as they damage the roads very much.

      Off my soapbox now, I will also say that I wouldn’t trade our Amish residents for anything. It’s a nice experience living and doing business with them.

      My latest pics involve a buggy going through floodwater.

      Cindy

    11. Hi Cindy, I took a look at the new photos–very interesting–I assume this is from the recent flooding that Reid was talking about?

    12. Yes, the “crossing” is in regard to the flooding around here. It’s kind of under control for the moment, but we’re supposed to have more rain coming. Let’s just hope it’s not much.

      I had never seen a buggy trying to go through water. Each day is a new experience, that’s for sure.