I've posted about the Amish of 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 many.
Above is a home that stood isolated and empty when I visited, an Amish family living there had just moved away. When I visited Beeville 10 years ago I thought that this is an Amish community that I think there's a real question about its long-term viability. Still, the Amish community remains there today. I don't think it's grown much.
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. Eventually, the existing members will need to persuade potential suitors elsewhere to join them, or they'll have to move. So while the settlement is still around, I'd not be shocked in 20 years from now (think, the year 2042...and I'll hopefully still be alive, kicking, and posting daily even then!) it has disbanded. We'll see.
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.
The Combination Shop
The Beeville settlement is stark in its beauty and isolation. Most of the Amish men in the Beeville community are farmers, although the Combination Shop, located at 4029 Bee 190, 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. Gorgeous Texas sunsets lights up the surrounding prairie. To watch a short video tour of Beeville's Amish community, click here.
Yes. There is, of course, the community outside of Beeville. But there is also an Amish-Mennonite settlement near the town of Lott in Central, Texas. This is a conservative community that dresses plainly, but they are not a horse and buggy settlement. There is a conservative Mennonite community near Seminole in the far western part of the state. And there have been halting attempts to start an Amish community near Stephenville, Texas. But there is no Amish presence anymore near Stephenville. There have also been some attempts to start an Amish settlement near Grandview, Texas but I don't think there are any Amish left there.
If you are wanting to visit a traditional Amish settlement with postcard panoramas of well-tended to farms and lush gardens, you might want to look elsewhere. The Amish of Beeville, Texas is a small and foreboding community.
You will see some buggies on the roads and some Amish families sell eggs and produce from their homes, but the Amish here tend to not interact with outsiders as much as you see elsewhere. It kind of, in that way, reminded me of the Amish settlement in DeGraff, Ohio. Here are some more photos from Beeville:
No visit to the Beeville Amish community would be complete without stopping in at the Combination Shop which, as the name implies, is a little bit of everything. Visit on Fridays for some fresh Amish baked goods like doughnuts.
The beautiful Texas prairie grass, though, gives everything here a very "western" feel, different from what you'd find in other Amish communities.
The Texas-Mexico border is about 2 hours south. Some Amish from Beeville do make regular crossings to procure produce and get medical care.