Oswego County, New York Amish

New York Amish have been in the news a lot lately.

We’ve seen stories on vandalism against Amish in Steuben County, new stats showing NY Amish continuing their growth, and of course this week’s tragic accident in which five Amish were killed.

The Amish who died in the van wreck also came from Steuben County–the Jasper/Woodhull settlement.  The Jasper community, founded 1983, predates the recent great wave of migration to New York.  In 2008 it was 4 church districts in size, and looks to have added at least a couple since then.

Leo writes to share a bit about another Empire State Amish community, that of Pulaski in Oswego County.

This is a small group which, as Karen Johnson-Weiner informs us in New York Amish, was founded by “Mose Miller” Swartzentruber Amish in 2006 (the Swartzentruber Amish, while seeming the same to outsiders, are in fact divided into three distinct groups).  Leo shares:

The Mose Miller Swartzentruber Amish community near Pulaski/Williamson New York in Oswego County continues to grow. Two years ago, the settlement had 25 families, mostly from Wayne County, Ohio. Now, there are 36 families, with more being added. They had been homeschooling, but now they have two schoolhouses, with another under construction.

oswego county ny amish pulaski
A horse waits patiently while Amish do business at the Pulaski NY Farmer’s Market

This settlement remains at one district (36 families is a large district by Swartzentruber standards) , but will soon split into two districts. They presently have no bishop; a bishop from Heuvelton in St. Lawrence County has been presiding over this flock. They do have a deacon and other ministers, but have no bishop of their own yet. Much of this information came from an Amish lady who was selling baked goods at the Farmers Market in Pulaski on July 1.

I sometimes get asked if Amish listen to music.  So I enjoyed this account of Leo’s:

I play guitar in a trio, which provided music in the gazebo in South Park in downtown Pulaski. The Farmers Market has been running for a few years and the Amish people have been selling there since they got the OK from the bishop. I was told by the coordinator of the Market that the Amish were at one time forbidden to attend by the bishop because of the music.

The Amish were set up well away from the speakers. I asked the Amish lady if the music bothered her and she indicated that it did not. Two years ago when we played at this event, two Amish ladies were there and I noticed that one of them kept on walking in front of the bandstand. I suspect that she enjoyed the music. We play mostly old Country and Oldies at this event because it seems to be what people in and around Pulaski enjoy.

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    1. Richard

      Before i had left New York state for Florida i had heard about New York having an Amish community, that was in the 1980s so I’m sorry that i didn’t take a trip up to give that Amish settlement a look. From the images that I’ve seen its a very beautiful area as most of upper New York would be. And I’ve read recently that one reason the Amish in New York are growing is the reasonable farmland, for example in Lancaster county an acre of farmland is approximately 15,000 dollars per, while in upper New York state its about 2,000 per acre. Big difference especially if your buying 50 acres or more. Richard from http://www.Amishstorys.com

      1. Andy & Susie Miller purchased Spencer Farm, Pulaski, NY

        N.Y. small dairy farms are selling out to the Amish. The small English farmers can’t compete with larger English farms. The cost of insurance, veterinary services, lack of reliable help, and not enough money paid for milk have contributed to selling out. In our case, we were fourth generation and we suffered sudden loss of life. We had limited farm land that would benefit a hobby farm or the Amish. It’s sad to see the farm today compared to how it once looked and operated. Sometimes going home is no longer an option.

    2. Mark

      Amish in NY - Shakers - northern settlements

      I have always in my mind thought of New York State being Shaker land (I know they are not around any more) and Amish in PA and Ohio. I am glad to read that the Amish keep stretching their reach. NY state has some good land, despite the cool climate. The Amish just love these northern settlements, I have noticed. As other Americans flee south for the sunshine, Amish move north to these very beautiful regions.
      I grew up in New England and yet considering moving to Florida, but in my mind I romantizes about NY and New England.

    3. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Point me in the right direction

      I don’t know New York State as well as my native and neighboring Ontario. Where is Oswego County? I saw St. Lawrence County reference and I presume its on the river of the same name, or close to lake Ontario.

      1. Elinor Homann

        Answer to-- Where in NY are the Amish

        Oswego county NEW YORK ….The Baseball Hall of Fame is in this county which is in Cooperstown, NY…..The Amish are moving into towns called Pittsfield,Edmeston and New Berlin.They are about 25 miles from Cooperstown and within a 5 mile radios of these 3 small towns.Most Englishers are very happy to see them settle here but there are some very uninformed people who find fault,sad to say.I am not one of them.I love the Amish.God Bless their clean living and goodness..

        1. Elinor

          wrong County for Amish

          Sorry I had the wrong county for my answer .It should have been Pittsfield and Edmeston are in OTSEGO County ,New Berlin in Chenango County ,NY…Sorry Otesgo and Oswego sound so much alike.

    4. Oldkat

      Oswego County is...

      on Lake Ontario, sort of middle of the state on an east-west axis. Not sure there are any really major towns in that county, but one county or so south is where the city of Syracuse is located. Interstate Highway 81 runs north and south through Oswego County. It also includes about half of Lake Oneida, if that tells you anything.

      I use to work for a company that had a facility near Syracuse, so got to visit that area quite a bit for a number of years. Always found the area interesting and pretty attractive, if you like rural areas …which I do. Nice folks, too. Absolutely best apples I ever ate came from an orchard in Oswego County.

    5. Dana

      It’s Finger Lakes area, and wine area of NYS.
      Good for them let them grow more and more, their cultivation of farmland and their sense of understanding the nature might be the only source of school how human and nature are connected, because we live the life that disconnects us more and more from nature.
      And this is really really bad for future of human kind.

    6. Richard

      I agree with Dana.......

      And I agree with you Dana about the Amish growing in rural areas, its certainly not a guarantee of preserving farmland at least forever but I too would welcome them if I lived in a community of non-Amish. I’m just lucky to be one of the lucky ones who do. Richard from http://www.Amishstorys.com

    7. Leo

      Oswego County

      Oswego County is also known for its onions, which are grown on the muck (drained swampland)
      Last Thursday, I played in a 5-piece amplified band at the Oswego Farmers Market, There were three Amish vendors at the market selling produce, baked goods, eggs and free range chickens. The Amish selling at this market came from the Romulus, NY area in Seneca County; they had English drivers who transported them in large vans. I have played at this same market for about 3 years in a row, and this is the first Amish presence that i have seen in Oswego. The Amish teen girl who was helping her father at his stand right across from the stage was tapping her feet in time with the music, and she really watched intently whenever I played harmonica. Her brother smiled broadly and watched our female lead vocalist. Their father showed a very positive and vocal response when we played the Hank Williams song “Your Cheatin’ Heart”! I suspect that even though it is not in their tradition, that some Amish people enjoy listening to music if it happens to be around them.

      1. Leo thanks for following up with this addendum. I do enjoy these slices of life. When you wrote

        Their father showed a very positive and vocal response when we played the Hank Williams song “Your Cheatin’ Heart”!

        I had to wonder how vocal his response was. Maybe he could have taken the mic? 😉

      2. Amish in Oswego

        As a “native” Oswegonian I would like to offer this… You’ve been coming to the Farmer’s Market for 3 years, It’s probably been 3 years since I’ve been to it. But when I did go, I went every week. The Amish from Romulus were ALWAYS there selling their vegetables and baked goods. I think we may have a family living here in town now…

    8. Richard

      Id love to receive some images of the Amish community of Oswego New York.

      Nice story Leo and like I’ve said that is really a beautiful part of the country in Oswego County . If you or anyone would have some pictures to send of any Amish farms or buggies id sure love to see them. Richard http://www.Amishstorys.com

      1. Leo


        Richard, I sent you two photos taken on July 1 at the farmers market in Pulaski, New York. The carriage is Swartzentruber style. The Swartzentruber Amish will not have a windshield, any battery powered electric lights or a Slow Moving Vehicle triangle on their buggies.

    9. Richard

      I recieved those images Leo

      I recieved them Leo and i thank you very much for them. Ive also sent you an e-mail back. Another very hot and dry day in the Lancaster area today, i think my grass has been channeling me to somehow put it out of its misery,lol. And if i looked as bad as it does right now id be asking for the same. Richard from http://www.Amishstorys.com

    10. Oldkat

      I’d trade weather with you Richard! Over 20 days of plus 100 temps since mid May, less than 5 under 90 for a high. Less than 10.0″ of rain since last August, should be about 34.0 to 40.0″. Wanna trade?

    11. Richard

      To trade with oldkat

      No sir i wouldn’t want to trade with you, and compared to yourself i am lucky. Here’s hoping we all get some rain, and very soon. Richard http://www.Amishstorys.com

    12. Matthew

      3 Divisions


      I hope you will write more on the 3 Schwartzentruber Church divisions at some point. That would be an interesting read.

      1. Swartzentruber divisions

        Matthew, it is–though I am sure it was a painful division for those that went through it, and probably continues to be so. Karen Johnson-Weiner covers it in New York Amish; she also discusses it in this interview:


    13. Elinor

      This new Amish settlement in Pittsfield area is also close,about 25 to 30 miles to another fairly new Amish settlement in Madison,County.I have been told there are about 16 families there.It is near Lebanon.Earlville ,Sherburne,Hamilton area of NY where you can find Colgate University.

    14. Craig

      I live in upstate New York in Wayne county. Lots of Amish and Mennonites here, as well as Oswego, Yates and Seneca counties. There are bulk food, fabric and Amish furniture stores through 3 or 4 counties. Some mornings I wake up to the clip clop of the horses as the Amish buggies travel throug my tiny village.

      1. Michele

        Bulk food stores in Oswego county

        Craig I will be visiting the area can you give me an idea of where the stores are located in Oswego County

    15. Stephanie


      I have a lot of respect for the amish. I believe they are a part of our community now in Pulaski. They know how to work, and live like our ancestors did. They could teach us a thing or two about hard work.

    16. Roy Terry

      Oswego County Update

      An Amish friend informed me that there are now 40 families in the Oswego County settlement, with two more arriving soon. It is likely that a third district will be formed, as the number of children is large, and not every family can host a church meeting, even now. The addition of a third district will make travel to church easier. I was told that Abe Swartzentruber, who lives in the Richland area, is bishop.

      A number of families have purchased what were abandoned farms in the Fernwood/Mexico area and are improving them. For many reasons, we are thankful for their arrival!

      Abe Miller’s wife operates a small food shop at their farm on Spencer Road. Bulk items, cheeses, some herbal products, etc., are sold, along with a few Amish publications like Raber’s Almanac.

      An Amish woman we know well warns against relying too heavily on some of the books available on Amish culture. She’s right. I can testify that Don Kraybill’s “The Riddle of Amish Culture,” for example, contains much information that while true of the Lancaster County settlement is inaccurate re: the local Swartentruber folk. And some of what is published online about the Swartzentruber Amish (even by former Amish) doesn’t fairly describe life in the local settlement.

      1. Swartzentruber Amish information

        Roy thank you for taking the time to share this update. Sounds like it’s nice to have those neighbors and a growing community there. This seems to be the story for many young Amish communities in NY.

        Your friend’s warning is a good one, and you are right that The Riddle of Amish Culture is not a resource on the Swartzentruber Amish as that’s not what its intended to be. Riddle focuses on the Lancaster County Amish, noted in its preface, along with mention of how practice differs among Amish across America. Even Swartzentruber Amish communities can differ in subtle ways.

        For resources on Swartzentruber Amish I would suggest Karen Johnson-Weiner’s New York Amish which contains quite a bit on Swartzentruber communities, or An Amish Paradox with a lot on the Swartzentruber Amish in Holmes County, OH. Also the new book The Amish by Kraybill, Johnson-Weiner, Nolt is meant to cover a much broader scope including Swartzentruber practices.

      2. peggy

        how to get in touch with Oswego Amish contractors

        we have a garage that caved in during thewinter and we are hoping to have it removed in spring–was thinking maybe some Amish men near us would want the wood, cinder blocks etc–but don’t know how to contact anyone.We live out of state–this is a rental house in albion ny–any info would be great

        1. Roy Terry

          Contact for Amish Contractors in the Altmar Area

          I would suggest you drop by the small store operated by the Miller family, located on Spencer Rd, about a quarter mile north of where it ends at Bull Run Rd. I mentioned it in a previous post. Mrs. Miller is very gracious and she or someone else there can probably suggest who best in the immediate area to talk with.

          The Amish in the area have several small sawmills and may not have any interest in the wood, but one of them likely can use the cinder blocks, assuming they are in good shape.

    17. unfortunately we live in pa.– so i cant do that.But thanks so much for the suggestion

    18. Randie Burrows

      I am looking for either an Amish or Mennonite Builder that would be willing to put a 16 foot by 30 foot addition on to my existing pole barn I live in the town of New Haven on Shore Oaks Drive I can be reached either by the email above or my cell phone which is 315 427 2226