The Nebraska Amish find themselves on the ultraconservative edge of Amish society.
‘Nebraska’ is something of a misnomer, however. This group is found mainly in Mifflin County, PA, in the diverse ‘Big Valley’ region. A second, smaller group is found in northeastern Ohio.
The Nebraska tag comes from the origin of the group’s founding bishop, Yost H. Yoder. Today there are a number of subgroups within the Nebraska Amish affiliation.
John Hostetler’s Amish Society describes some defining cultural characteristics for the Nebraska group.
Men wear ‘William Penn’-style shoulder-length hair, no suspenders or belts, and brown denim pants and vests.
Women wear black head kerchiefs (bonnets are taboo), flat Alsatian-peasant-inspired hats for field work, and the longest dresses of all Amishwomen.
Lawnmowers, window screens, carpets and curtains are off limits.
Hostetler explains that Nebraska barns go unpainted, as do most of the homes.
An old world practice followed by the Nebraskans, also known as the ‘Old School’ Amish, is the funeral custom of sweet bread, wine, and cheese.
Finally, the most easily visible defining characteristic of the group is the transportation. The Nebraska Amish drive the conspicuous white-top buggies, a perennial favorite of photographers of the Amish.