Joe Donnermeyer of the Journal of Plain Anabaptist Communities guest posts today with a look at multi-settlement Amish counties across America.

In March I did a list of 10 Amish “supercounties” – which I defined as having at least five settlements (full or partial) within their borders. Joe expands on that list with this guest post. He actually finds 20 counties that qualify under the above definition.

Why the discrepancy? My list was based on the 2020 Amish Settlement List, of which Joe is one of the compilers. Joe’s list here is based on additional research which includes even examples where there might just be a handful of households in one county (though those counties would not have been listed in the Settlement List descriptions, due to there being so few Amish there). 

In addition to the expanded list, Joe also offers some other interesting population facts regarding Amish county locations below.

Amish by the Numbers

There are 3,134 counties and county equivalents in the United States. Fully, 459 of these governmental subdivisions play host to one or more Amish settlements, either completely or shared with at least one other county. Altogether, nearly 600 Amish communities are now spread out over 31 states. As well, 21 Amish settlements can be found in 13 political subdivisions of four Canadian provinces, plus two localities in the South America countries of Argentina and Bolivia.

Getting back to the U.S, 175 counties play host to at least two Amish communities. Perhaps the most unique of these is Williams County, Ohio, which is not really the location of an Amish settlement, but a few families from the Hamilton, Indiana and the Camden, Michigan communities live across the border in this northwestern most county of Ohio. Looking at it from the point of view of a single settlement, it could be argued that the most unique is the community known as Glenwood City, Wisconsin. Families in this tiny community reside at the intersection of four counties (Barren, Dunn, Polk and St. Croix).

Ashland County, Ohio. Photo: Mike Sparks

Thirty-one counties play host to three Amish settlements, either completely or partially. In another seventeen counties are located all or part of four settlements. And then, there are the counties in which at least five Amish settlements are located. Altogether, there are 20 counties that hold this distinction. Here is the list:

Aroostook, Maine: 5
Branch, Michigan: 6
Hillsdale, Michigan: 6
Montcalm, Michigan: 5
Osceola, Michigan: 6
Todd, Minnesota: 5
Macon, Missouri: 5
St. Lawrence, New York: 6
Ashland, Ohio: 5
Ashtabula, Ohio: 7
Coshocton, Ohio: 6
Guernsey, Ohio: 6
Holmes, Ohio: 5
Knox, Ohio: 8
Crawford, Pennsylvania: 8
Mercer, Pennsylvania: 7
Barron, Wisconsin: 5
Clark, Wisconsin: 5
Taylor, Wisconsin: 6
Vernon, Wisconsin: 5

Readers may be surprised by the inclusion of Holmes County, since it is the second largest Amish settlement, now known as the Greater Holmes County community, which itself spreads out into five other counties. Is there room for any other settlement in Holmes County itself? It seems too crowded already! The answer is that there are four others on the north and west sides of Holmes County that it shares with its neighboring counties. These include: Lakeville – shared with Wayne County; both Brinkhaven/Danville and Glenmont/Brinkaven, shared with Coshocton and Knox Counties; and Loudonville/McKay, shared with Ashland County.

Perhaps the most interesting cluster is a three-county area comprising Ashtabula County, Ohio, and Crawford and Mercer Counties, Pennsylvania. Together, they host a full 20 settlements of Amish, including the larger settlements of Spartansburg, PA and New Wilmington, PA. Ashtabula and Crawford Counties share the community of Conneaut/Pierpont and Crawford and Mercer Counties share the Atlantic settlement, or the total would be 22 settlements instead of 20. Likely, no other three-county combination comes close to a total of 20 settlements.

Amish-made cheese

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