Amish in Tennessee: 2024 Guide (14 Communities)

Tennessee is home to one of the largest Amish communities in the South

Mention “Amish”, and most people don’t think of the South. Yet for over 80 years, a now-sizeable Amish settlement has grown and flourished just an hour-and-a-half outside of Nashville, at Ethridge.

  1. The Ethridge Amish Community
  2. Visiting Ethridge
  3. Ethridge Amish Stores
  4. Other TN Amish Communities
  5. Historical Tennessee Communities
  6. Tennessee Amish Today
Amish man and small boy ride on the back of a horse-drawn flat wagon
An Amish man and son at Ethridge, Tennessee. Photo: Adair Faust

And that’s not the only Amish presence in the Volunteer State. Tennessee’s Amish population has rapidly grown. It’s gone from six to 14 communities over the past decade-plus. Tennessee now has the nation’s twelfth-largest Amish population, at over 3,800 Amish (2024).

The Ethridge Amish Community

The Amish settlement at Ethridge, Tennessee is home to around 2,200 Amish people, by far the largest community in the state. This community was founded in 1944 by Amish from an extinct settlement at Lumberton, Mississippi, as well as Amish from Wayne County in Ohio.

The Amish in this settlement are very conservative, belonging to a Swartzentruber affiliation.  The Swartzentruber Amish are among the most traditional and materially plain in Amish society.

Amish farm with windmill and oat shocks
Dozens of traditional Amish farms greet you throughout the Ethridge area. Photo: Don Burke

If you’re most familiar with Amish from communities like Lancaster County, or Shipshewana, Indiana, you’ll definitely notice a difference here. Note: that doesn’t mean they aren’t friendly, however. More on that below.

Like other Swartzentruber Amish, the Amish at Ethridge do not use the Slow-Moving Vehicle triangle, meaning extra caution is required while on the road. Homes are extremely plain, as is the clothing worn by individuals in this settlement. Dairy and produce farming are common ways of making a living for Amish in the Ethridge settlement.

Amish woman walking barefoot down a dirt lane carrying a bag
Plain Swartzentruber customs can be seen in styles of dress and transportation. Photo: Don Burke

Though they may be very conservative, that doesn’t mean they aren’t friendly. If you visit, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with Amish people in this community. Amish people also enjoy visiting with outsiders, and the Amish at Ethridge are no exception. You’ll notice that Amish here have the region’s heavy Southern accent.

Visiting the Ethridge Amish

As one of the oldest and largest Amish settlements in the South, Ethridge features a fairly well-developed tourist industry. An “Amish Welcome Center” (3943 US-43, Ethridge, TN 38456) provides visitors with a map of the area, with Amish businesses and the products they sell clearly marked.

Front of Amish Welcome Center with farm and wagon tour signs
The “Amish Welcome Center” is one of several tourist-oriented businesses in the Ethridge, TN community.

Numerous outlets sell Amish furniture, books, and other Amish memorabilia (read more on Amish furniture in Tennessee). Restaurants, stores, and a number of wagon-ride operations provide visitors with opportunities to experience Amish culture.

Amish indirectly participate in the tourist industry as well. Some Amish sell products directly from locations at the English-run tourist-themed businesses. Others receive tour visitors who buy their products direct from home, or from an adjacent shop on the property.

And what do the Amish think about all the tourist attention? The community is a conservative one – but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate tourism. Many Amish make at least a partial living from selling products from their home shops to visitors.

An Amish boy looks back from guiding a team of two large farm horses
Though the Amish at Ethridge are conservative, they are used to having tourist visitors. Photo: Don Burke

The Ethridge area has a more off-the-beaten-path and rural feel than other Amish communities, but at the same time is one of the more tourist-friendly places you can visit. In large part that’s because of the number of Amish stores, and how the Amish welcome visitors.

Ethridge Amish Stores

So if you visit Ethridge, definitely take the time to stop in at some Amish businesses. They’re easily spotted by the hand-lettered roadside signs advertising goads for sale. You can pick up a handy map of Amish businesses at the Welcome Center in the community, showing locations and what products they sell.

Black and white lettered signs for Amish businesses on a pole
Amish business signs on Amish Lane in the Ethridge community. Yes, that it is the official name of this particular road. Photo: Don Burke

Amish run numerous businesses in the area, often selling products direct from home. The Amish here use very limited technology, restricting the kinds of businesses Ethridge Amish operate. But despite technological limitations, Ethridge Amish run at least 50 businesses in this corner of Tennessee.

Ethridge Amish Business Map

As you can see in the Amish store map below, the Ethridge Amish are highly entrepreneurial people. You can find all sorts of classic Amish-made goods here, and even some surprises.

A map showing Amish-owned businesses in the Ethridge, Tennessee community
It’s a lot of fun to drive the back roads of Ethridge and stop in at the small Amish shops and stands you come across. You can always just “wing it”, or use this map to find specific goods.

Amish businesses include furniture makers, produce growers, candle makers, clock repair, baked goods, crafts, canned goods, candles, baskets, and rugs. You never know what you might find. So if you go, have fun with it. You might want to stop and pick up the latest edition of the map at the Amish Welcome Center or other source.

Amish home businesses might sell certain goods at certain times of the year (seasonal produce, holiday items, etc.) And Amish people do move and/or change their way of making a living. But for the most part the map above is going to be a pretty good guide.

Ethridge Amish produce auction

Another activity you can take part in at Ethridge is an Amish auction (known as the Plowboy Produce Auction). The produce auction is an important part of the local economy, taking place three times per week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, bidding starting at 1pm) in the growing season (April-October).

Long rows of vegetables growing in front of a simple white Amish home
Ethridge Amish grow vegetables for the local produce auction. Photo: Don Burke

Local Amish produce growers bring their goods for sale. Among others, Amish sell peppers, tomatoes, corn, cantaloupes, strawberries, and many other vegetables and fruits.

Produce auctions have become an increasingly popular way for Amish to make a living. Produce requires less capital and land than traditional dairy farming.

A sign for an Amish produce auction in front of a gravel parking lot
The Plowboy Produce Auction at Ethridge. Auctions happen three days per week during the growing season. Photo: Don Burke

Additionally, public interest in “all-natural” and organic products help drive this market. Amish may run a produce business on the side, or even make a full-time living at it.

The auction house is centrally located in the Ethridge community. You’ll find it at 469 S Brace Rd, Ethridge, TN 38456.

Other Tennessee Amish communities

You’ll also find a number of other, smaller communities in the state. After Ethridge, Tennessee has four smaller communities, all roughly the same size.

A parked Amish buggy with an SMV triangle and yellow safety light
Buggy safety markings indicate that the Amish at McKenzie, TN are more progressive than those at Ethridge. Photo: Don Burke

The following Tennessee settlements are all about the same size, at around 250 people each:

  • Deer Lodge in Morgan County (2013)
  • Adamsville/Stantonville in McNairy County (2009)
  • Lawrenceburg in Lawrence County
  • the McMinnville/Morrison area of Warren County (2014)

Amish communities of that size tend to have multiple stores including food and/or variety stores, so it’s a safe bet you’ll find businesses to visit as well in these smaller Amish settlements.

An Amish bulk food store showing pumpkins and autumn flowers outside
A bulk foods store in the Morrison/McMinnville (Warren County) area. This store happens to be operated by Mennonites. Amish living in the area originate from the conservative Ethridge community; their stores have a much plainer appearance. Photo: Michael Pilkinton

Besides these, other Amish communities can be found in Tennessee at:

  • McKenzie in Weakley County (1998; 195 Amish)
  • Huntingdon/Bruceton in Carroll County (1975; 165 Amish)
  • Springville in Henry County (2019; 85 Amish)
  • Buchanan in Henry County (2017; 45 Amish)
  • Summertown in Lewis County (2000; 30 Amish)
  • Dunlap in Sequatchie County (2014; 25 Amish)
  • Hartsville in Trousdale County (2018; 25 Amish)
  • Allardt in Fentress County (2017; 25 Amish)
  • Bradford in Gibson County (2009; 20 Amish)
Sign showing Amish horse business with two buggies in background
An Amish horse training business at McKenzie, Tennessee. Photo: Don Burke

Smaller Amish settlements are less likely to have businesses that you can visit. If you are in Tennessee and wish to make a trip to Amish Country, by far the best choice is Ethridge.

That doesn’t mean that other Tennessee Amish communities aren’t worth a visit. Just try to go to one of the larger ones if you’d like to have a better chance of visiting Amish stores. You may be disappointed at what you find in the smaller communities, some of which have just a handful of Amish households.

Tennessee Amish communities…that came and went

In addition to the present-day communities, Tennessee has a history of Amish settlements that failed as well.

Before the landmark Supreme Court decision of Wisconsin v. Yoder granted Amish the right to remove their children from school after grade eight, Amish often came into conflict with state authorities over the issue of schooling.

Frequently, Amish would move to states where authorities were more accommodating.  Such was the case with the community that once existed at Hohenwald, in Lewis County.

Hohenwald County (1947 – 1955)

The Hohenwald County settlement was founded by Amish from the Swiss Amish settlement at Adams County in Indiana (Swiss Amish are a different ethnic group within Amish society).

Amish from this community chose land in Lewis County, near to the young settlement at Ethridge, which had also recently been established by Amish motivated for reasons of schooling.

Amish began moving to Hohenwald in 1947, but the settlement failed to attract many settlers, and never grew larger than eleven families.  However, at least one interesting story emerged from this little-known TN settlement, when one Amish immigrant, Rudy Wickey, chose a particularly unusual means of making the 550-mile trip to Tennessee.

Amishman operating a piece of farm equipment as two small boys watch
Amish at Ethridge do use limited technology for farming and other work tasks. Photo: Don Burke

Amishman goes by covered wagon from Ohio to Tennessee

Rudy Wickey was an Amishman living in Wayne County, Ohio, who ended up the subject of national attention in the 1940s. Wickey decided to make the trek to join the settlers in Tennessee by covered wagon pulled by two work horses and a pony. Accompanying him were his wife and five children. Wickey left for Tennessee in late 1947.  “Little did they realize,” writes Amish historian David Luthy, “that their pictures would be in newspapers across America” (Settlements that Failed, Luthy, p450).

Wickey was stopped by authorities before leaving Holmes County, due to the overloaded condition of the Amishman’s wagon. Wickey’s wife and children continued on to Tennessee by train, but the Amishman was determined to make the journey by covered wagon.

Luthy reports that Wickey’s picture was taken by newspaper photographers, and that “The Associated Press wire service picked up his story and announced to all America when he had reached his destination, quoting Wickey as having said that he was “happy to be in Tennessee where the people are more lenient toward those of our faith” (Settlements that Failed, Luthy, p 451).

Amish in this corner of Tennessee made a living by raising a variety of crops, including strawberries and tomatoes, and also cut and sold lumber.  Eventually, church ministry moved away from the community. The last families at the Hohenwald TN settlement relocated in 1955.

Amish business signs showing log furniture and fresh produce
Characteristic hand-stenciled signs of the Ethridge Amish community. Photo: Don Burke

Dickson County (1890 – 1899)

A settlement of Amish once existed in the Volunteer State at Dickson County.  This settlement was founded by Amish from Daviess County, Indiana, who settled here in 1890.

David Luthy reports that Amish settlers to the area encountered “rough locals”, with an affinity for moonshine and fighting.   One such fight resulted in a gun and knife battle which left two dead.  Shortly thereafter, some people attempted to set the county seat of Dickson ablaze, destroying 28 buildings.

Other challenges included the climate, which alternated from very wet to very dry.  Farming was difficult as a result.  Farmers raised corn, oats, wheat and hay, and also fruit.  One family operated a sawmill.  Eventually, the challenges of farming, combined with the Panic of 1893 financial depression caused the Dickson County settlers to migrate to more favorable Amish communities, with the last family likely leaving in 1899.

Tennessee Amish today

Amish are currently found in a total of 14 settlements in the Volunteer State, with a total population of over 3,800 people, making Tennessee the number-12 ranked “Amish state” (out of 32).

Ethridge with its eight-decade history is by far the largest and best-known of Tennessee’s communities. Ethridge has also created daughter settlements in Tennessee and other states (including Kentucky and North Carolina).

Though Ethridge gets the lion’s share of attention, Tennessee as a whole has proven attractive to Amish settlers. Over the past decade it has grown to have one of the largest Amish populations of any Southern state. Amish have been attracted to Tennessee by factors including property prices and a generally friendly climate in the state.

The Amish historically have been associated with Pennsylvania and Midwestern states. But as the Amish population continues to expand in the 21st century, expect to see more growth in Amish states like Tennessee and the South as a whole.

For more, see:

Tennessee Amish on the Amish America blog

The Amish of Tennessee have appeared on the Amish America blog  a number of times. The Ethridge Amish community was featured in a post from summer 2010, as was the Ethridge produce auction. Tennessee Amish were discussed in a much-commented post on Amish communities in the South.  Karen Johnson-Weiner discussed Tennessee Amish communities in the context of the Swartzentruber Amish church divisions.

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    1. Trip

      Looking for a fun afternoon in the Amish community. Will be coming from Spring Hill.
      5 cousins, of one of us lives in Spring Hill. Buggy rides, visit a farm, lunch
      Appreciate any info to visit

    2. Wanza


      I want to know when to come buy local produce especially green beans and tomatoes.
      Wanza Taylor

    3. Kendra

      Seeds for planting

      is there a local store (near lincoln county tn) or a website that I can purchase heirloom seeds?