I’ve posted about Beeville, Texas before. It’s home to one of the smallest, most isolated Amish settlements that I’ve been to and I’ve been to a lot. Above is a home that stood isolated and empty when I visited, an Amish family living there had just moved away. This is an Amish community that I think there’s real question about it’s long-term viability. Most of the residents – if not all – belong to one extended family and that usually doesn’t bode well for the long-term prospects, especially since it is so far removed from other Amish communities. The closest Old Order Amish settlements are at least 12 hours away by car in neighboring Oklahoma or Arkansas. The Beeville settlement is ideologically conservative, with 1 being the most conservative and 10 being the most liberal, I’d put Beeville at about a 3. Since they are located only about 3 hours from the border with Mexico, there is some cross-border produce trade and the Amish in this community do have photo IDs so that they can make the crossing.
There are some very conservative and well-established Amish-Mennonite communities near Lott and Seminole, Texas. There was a plain settlement near Grandview, Texas and I have heard from second-hand sources that one Amish family still lives there. But Texas’s large size, arid farmland, and distance from other Amish communities works against it in attracting a large Amish community.
The Beeville settlement is stark in its beauty and isolation. We have a while section of photos, recipes, and interviews from the Beeville community in our upcoming book Amish Cooks Across America. So stay tuned!:) Meanwhile, here are a few more glimpses from the settlement. Most of the Amish men in the Beeville community are farmers, although the Combination Shop is sort of the “commercial hub” of the community selling – as the name implies – a whole assortment of odds and ends. The baked goods on Friday are popular among townsfolk. And while the community is known as the “Beeville settlement”, it’s located a good 10 miles outside of town. And below a gorgeous Texas sunset lights up the surrounding prairie. To watch a short video tour of Beeville’s Amish community, click here. (all photos, copyright protected, Rachel Diver Williams)