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.
About Kevin Williams
Hi, my name is Kevin Williams and I am owner of Oasis Newsfeatures and editor of The Amish Cook newspaper column.