A Virtual Visit To A Small & Plain Amish Community (35 Photos)

We’ve got a selection of photos from a Swartzentruber Amish settlement in Missouri today. This is Shannon County; this is in the vicinity of Summersville and Hartshorn. The photo collection is by Don Burke, who has passed through this community several times over the years. The community was started in 2006 according to the State & County Amish listing. It’s a single church district.

We don’t have a lot of info beyond that on this community, but the photos as usual are excellent so let’s have a look and see if they have any stories to tell.

First, business signs. We see some simple enterprises typical to plainer communities:

This combo shop has moved.

The new location.


One of the first Amish horse trainers I came across was in Iowa. That was in the Bloomfield community. This is a nice business for some Amishmen. Photographer David Marvitz shared some photos of an Amish friend of his training horses in a post several months back.

Some homes. Swartzentruber Amish seem to build in several styles. Some are these shop style homes in the color red. This in fact may be intended to be a shop at some point. Some Amish, not just Swartzentruber Amish, live in a shop home which is at least partially living quarters, before building a traditional home.

This family must enjoy visits from hummingbirds. It looks like it’s snowing in this photo, but I suppose that is just rain.

This is the more classic style of home among the Swartzentruber Amish. Two story with basement, front porch, metal roof.

Unfinished home showing the origin of some of the building material.

This one also might be a workshop.

This home stands out as unusual. Looks like an English home originally. Amish people purchase and adapt English homes, but you don’t see it as much among Swartzentruber Amish in my experience.

A couple of photos of school buildings in this settlement.

Very plain and rough appearance especially compared to schools in more progressive communities, some of which have fairly elaborate playgrounds (jungle gym, basketball hoops, etc.). Note the bells on the roof of each building.

Horse-drawn transport in the community.

You see the reflective tape strips as the primary attention-getting feature (along with a lantern). No SMV triangle on these buggies, in keeping with Swartzentruber practice.

Odds and ends. Someone likes M&Ms here.

Looks like an outhouse.

On the porch, another sign it was probably raining recently.

Thanks to Don for the great photos of this small Missouri Amish community. You can view more of Don’s Amish photos here.

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    2. Larry Clarence Lewis

      Many Thanks for Great Photos of Lesser Known Community.

      Dear Eric,
      I am a regular follower of Amish America. Thank you for your splendid work. By extension, thank you to Dan Burke for his great photographs. It is clear Dan knows the various Amish communities very well, and so, brings us photographs of details pertaining to each community. I both appreciate and like this detail. Thank you, Eric, for providing a link to Dan’s well-organized archive of photographs of different communities. I plan to work my way through them. Once again, Erirc, thank you for all your good work.

      Larry Clarence Lewis,

      1. Thanks Larry, you’re very kind. I’ll make sure Don sees your comment. He’s been to quite a few communities, and I think you’ll enjoy looking through his archive as I have. He is very good at it. Happy to hear from you!

      2. Larry, I am so glad that you enjoyed my pictures that Erik worked together so well. To be honest, I normally enter into a new community with, at most, a map of the Amish locations, and learn as I go. It’s a bit of a challenge at times driving the Jeep (with 6-speed stick shift) and taking pictures at the same time. (ha) I often just point and click away in the direction of Amish homes, schools, etc., then enlarge it once I get home and load the pics on my computer — and then see what kinds of things I really captured. There have been countless times that I have snapped off a few pics of an Amish home place only to later see children in the enlargements that I didn’t notice earlier.

        Anyway, the point is I’m learning this as I go along. I take a lot of pics, and hope that a handful will be usable, and that maybe I’ll discover something I didn’t expect when I look through them later.

    3. JT


      We recently made acquaintances with a family there, we are wholesale buyers of all things Amish and Old Order Mennonite. We were pleasantly surprised when we found that they were NOT as described in several places as being not being friendly or standoffish. They welcomed us right into their home and shop. They have some great items that we have been purchasing and trip #3 is in a week or so. Hard to communicate as they have NO phones so we write to tell them when we’re coming and Dan gave us the neighbors phone number to relay messages. Have a question of you though. Would they take offense if we brought them a gift? We travel with a cooler full of ice cold bottled water and would more than gladly share with the but don’t want to step on any toes.

      1. JT glad to hear that you know some folks in this little community, and happy to hear you found a warm welcome. I think the impression is that the plainer Amish might be more closed to outsiders, but I’ve met some of the more amiable and talkative Amish people in these Swartzentruber places. In answer to your question I think it should be perfectly fine to bring them a gift, you won’t offend them unless (possibly) it’s something inappropriate but of course common sense dictates that. Offering ice cold water is absolutely not going to offend anyone especially on a hot day! I actually did a couple of posts on gifts for Amish friends which might be of interest here:



        1. JT

          Thanks Eric! We make sure that we try our best to not be offensive to them and they to us. Just don’t want to hurt their feelings as these are some of the poorest people we have met. They are having a hard go of it there as the Ozarks are pretty tough to eek out a living. First Amish man that I have met that seems to have a defeated attitude.

          1. I’m sorry to hear that about him, though Amish support one another of course some communities are poorer than others (sometimes significantly) and Amish are not exempt from worldly concerns. If you want to try to help, maybe you could offer something of value to them, but not necessarily presented as charity? One good example that you might also enjoy providing is to offer yourself as transport to them, a la “Amish taxi”. You could suggest to them that you’d be happy to give them a ride somewhere or to run errands one day – and maybe mention you are also interested in hearing more about the community for example, so that you would enjoy taking them around. If you make that kind of suggestion in a light way they may just take you up on it and it would probably be of much value to them (and I have to say, I really enjoy driving Amish friends places, usually learn something interesting). Just an idea.

    4. Kathy McHargue

      Thanks. Look forward to enjoying communicating.