Lancaster County Buggy In Indiana?

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Each Amish settlement has their unique characteristics, quirks, and customs, whether they be the open buggies of Berne, Indiana or the mustachioed Amish of Maine.  When Amish from a particular settlement move to a new one they generally take their customs with them.  When I was visiting the Amish community around Kingston, Wisconsin last year virtually all of the residents had moved there from northern Indiana.  The dress and buggy styles reflected that, so it was like stepping into Shipshewana even thought we were 700 miles away.  Another illustration of this can be found in eastern Indiana where you have two Amish communities just 45 miles apart geographically,but worlds apart with customs.  The Amish near Fountain City, Indiana arrived from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania shortly around 2005.  Here is a photo of an Amish buggy in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Compare that with a photo of a buggy I took the other day in Fountain City.  They two are practically identical.I had to enlarge the above photo a bit so it is a little out of proportion, but you get the idea.  In addition to buggy styles, the Wayne County, Indiana Amish are observing Ascension Day today (May 17) where the Amish up the road in Berne are not marking the occasion with anything special.  Below is a photo of the common open buggies found just outside of Geneva, Indiana some 40 miles to the north.  The two Amish settlements do not interact on any substantive level.  The ones in Wayne County have much deeper ties to Lancaster County Amish than to closer communities.

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The Discussion


  1. I did notice the horse rigging was different.

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    • Diane, you are correct…You’ll see some minor differences like that, but I’d base that more on availability of items than any reflection of philosophical differences between the communities…

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  2. Sara in IN says:


    Kevin,
    Any thought to doing a “field guide to Amish settlements” ? Setting out your regional difference observations all in one place ? You can really note the differences when you go to Shipshe or big groceries on the east side of Fort Wayne. You might need a spreadsheet to track all the details !

    One style of heart shaped prayer cap seems to be peculiar to the Bluffton, OH area Mennonites, then there’s the black bonnets, many other styles of prayer caps, some differing by generation as well as settlement or settlement origin. Also, the girls who are not yet baptized have their own style of dress – in field guide speak ” juvenile females may exhibit a more colorful plumage and head wear variations which will change once they have become adult church members”.

    You’ve noted the buggy differences. House building patterns are distinct in Indiana : you can look across a landscape and note which houses were built by and for Amish. Adult men’s clothing differences are harder for me to spot, although the young teenage boys in year round watch caps are hard to miss.

    Then there’s German Brethren who also have their own style of Plain. Goodness, this could be a master’s thesis or senior symposium topic for someone in a Mennonite college, ” outward signs of an inward and spiritual grace.”

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  3. Barbara Weber says:


    I’ve said this before, the photos are extraordinary. Who took them?. Make prints. A way to make money. As an artist, who for 35 years, traveled all over, trying to make a living, and failed, I wish I’d had them. There was an artist, Ed Gifford, who sold paintiings of Amish scenes, etc. He did very well. THEN.

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  4. Kevin .. very interesting article .. I will have to ask the local Amish in NC where they migrated from .. and after reading Barbars comment about the pictures .. I remembered that years ago I used to buy a calandar filled with beautiful Amish pictures with the season filling the month .. I sorta remember from the Kidron, Ohio area ..
    anyway, might be a way for you to raise some money ..

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  5. Thora Graybeal says:


    What town does Lovina and Joe live in?

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    • Thora, we don’t give her town location to protect her privacy…she lives in Michigan, though.

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