By Kevin Williams
I wasn’t expecting to add another Amish settlement to my already record-breaking list, but that is what happened. Last week I found myself in Maine doing journalism work. Those of you that have been coming to this site for awhile know that I am a journalist by trade so I sometimes embark on work that has nothing to do with the Amish. Allows me to earn a little extra and to keep my skills sharp. And that is where I found myself last week in a rural swath of central Maine on my way to an assignment. The Amish were the farthest thing from my mind, but then I saw it: the tell-tale “horse and buggy” highway sign. I was intrigued, but I was also in a rush. I was near the town of Patten, Maine and I was unaware of any Amish communities there. This town affords stunning views of Mt. Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak. Turns out the Amish here are super conservative. I stopped in at one Amish home that was selling eggs and maple syrup and talked to the woman who lived there about her community. The Patten settlement has been there for about 5 years and is a Swartzentruber Amish district of one church district comprised of 23 families. Gingeriches and Millers are common names. Interestingly, they are not far from Smyrna, yet the two groups interact only minimally. Just kind of interesting that with Maine being such a huge state and the two groups don’t interact, yet they settle close.
This Amish settlement is ultra-conservative with buggies that don’t display the orange triangle. I asked the woman how long the community had been here and she replied "about 5 years" and I asked her where she had moved here from and she said the "West Salem" area of Ohio near Ashland. This area of Ohio does have a large Swartzentruber community. I asked the woman how they adjusted to the weather difference and she said the cold was a worthwhile trade for the less crowded roads. I asked her what her biggest snowfall had been and she said "6 or 8 feet". Holy moly! Here are a few scenes from Patten: