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2005 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

While most books about the Amish focus on the Pennsylvania settlements or on the religious history of the sect, this book is a cultural history of one Indiana Amish community and its success in resisting assimilation into the larger culture. Amish culture has persisted relatively unchanged primarily because the Amish view the world around them through the prism of their belief in collective salvation based on purity, separation, and perseverance. Would anything new add or detract from the community's long-term purpose? Seen through this prism, most innovation has been found wanting.

Founded in 1841, Shipshewana benefited from LaGrange County's relative isolation. As Dorothy O. Pratt shows, this isolation was key to the community's success. The Amish were able to develop a stable farming economy and a social structure based on their own terms. During the years of crisis, 1917–1945, the Amish worked out ways to protect their boundaries that would not conflict with their basic religious principles. As conscientious objectors, they bore the traumas of World War I, struggled against the Compulsory School Act of 1921, negotiated the labyrinth of New Deal bureaucracy, and labored in Alternative Service during World War II. The story Pratt tells of the postwar years is one of continuing difficulties with federal and state regulations and challenges to the conscientious objector status of the Amish. The necessity of presenting a united front to such intrusions led to the creation of the Amish Steering Committee. Still, Pratt notes that the committee's effect has been limited. Crisis and abuse from the outer world have tended only to confirm the desire of the Amish to remain a people apart, and lends a special poignancy to this engrossing tale of resistance to the modern world.


1. The LaGrange County Settlement
2. Creating Cultural Fencing
3. The Draft and the First World War
4. The Indiana Councils of Defense and the Amish
5. Modernization and the School Issue
6. The Great Depression
7. Civilian Public Service
8. The Home Front in the Second World War
9. Gaining Control, 1946–1975
10. Conclusion

Suggestions for Further Reading



Publié par
Date de parution 19 octobre 2004
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253023568
Langue English

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An Indiana Amish Community
Dorothy O. Pratt
This book is a publication of
Quarry Books
an imprint of Indiana University Press
601 North Morton Street
Bloomington, IN 47404-3797 USA
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2004 by Dorothy O. Pratt
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Pratt, Dorothy O., date
Shipshewana : An Indiana Amish community / Dorothy O. Pratt.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-253-34518-9 (hardcover : alk. paper)
1. Amish-Indiana-Shipshewana-History. 2. Amish-Indiana-Shipshewana-Social conditions. 3. Amish-Indiana-LaGrange County-History. 4. Amish-Indiana-LaGrange County-Social conditions. 5. Shipshewana (Ind.)-History. 6. LaGrange County (Ind.)-History. I. Title.
F534.S54P73 2004
977.2 79-dc22
1 2 3 4 5 09 08 07 06 05 04
To Jack, Jack IV, and Daniel. Thank you .

1. The LaGrange County Settlement
2. Creating Cultural Fencing
3. The Draft and the First World War
4. The Indiana Councils of Defense and the Amish
5. Modernization and the School Issue
6. The Great Depression
7. Civilian Public Service
8. The Home Front in the Second World War
9. Gaining Control, 1946-1975
10. Conclusion

When I first began this project, little did I expect it to take over my life and consume so much of my time and effort. The book began from a simple question: How did the Amish get to LaGrange, and how did they survive? Thence came a dissertation, and from there sprang the beginnings of a book. It has been a long journey, and one that at times I feared would not be completed. The narrative, however, is a compelling one, and I felt some responsibility to those Amish folk who have shared their story and have trusted me to write honestly about their experiences. This book would never have been completed without their help.
In addition, there are others I should thank. The Indiana State Archives, the Indiana Historical Society, the Mennonite Church USA Archives-Goshen at Goshen College, the Mennonite Historical Library, the South Bend Tribune , the LaGrange County Library, the St. Joseph County Library, and the University of Notre Dame Library are amazing organizations that surprisingly work miracles to help a struggling researcher. At the University of Notre Dame, Mark Roche, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters; Hugh Page of the Undergraduate Studies Office; and many in the History Department have offered greatly appreciated help.
Others have read the manuscript and offered suggestions, some anonymously, others well known to me, such as Walter Nugent, Gail Bederman, Phil Gleason, Thomas Blantz, C.S.C., Vincent DeSantis, and Laura Crago. Their comments have been valuable and were treasured. Emily Holmes s editing helped to carve away excess wording that I had been loath to expunge. I also appreciate Indiana University Press, which expressed faith in this project and has helped bring it to fruition.
Mostly, I thank my sons, Jack and Daniel, who have lived through the birth of this book, and especially my husband, Jack, who has overcome the mysteries of formatting that I could never conquer. I am grateful for you all.
Amish Country is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Indiana. Demand for tourist information has increased so much that the Elkhart Visitor s Center sponsors a Heritage Trail Tour, a CD-prompted, self-guided journey through LaGrange, Noble, and Elkhart Counties, which contain the third-largest settlement of Old Order Amish in the world. Here there are no amusement parks, exclusive restaurants, or resorts. The area is not even particularly easy to find, yet the people come.
The attraction of this Amish community, primarily set in LaGrange County, is more complex than it appears. Although academics often worry about the inevitable process of assimilation, every tourist knows that part of the appeal is that the Amish seem to have resisted integration into mainstream society. The public asks: How did this group survive as a cultural and ethnic entity when others did not? How has their culture been robust enough to withstand the onslaughts of materialism, war, economic depression, and technology?
This book is an ethnic case study of one particular Amish settlement; it is not a religious history. It emphasizes how the group has managed not only to survive but also to thrive. 1 Certainly any examination of the Amish must consider their religion, for it would be difficult, if not impossible, to separate questions of ethnicity from religious tradition. 2 The Amish, however, are more than a religious denomination. They are an ethnic group: One is born Amish; evangelism is unknown. By definition, an ethnic group is a biologically and culturally discrete unit. Anthropologist George De Vos defines an ethnic group as a self-perceived group of people who hold in common a set of traditions not shared by the others with whom they are in contact. Such traditions typically include folk religious beliefs and practices, [and] language. De Vos adds that an ethnic group also possesses a sense of historical continuity, and common ancestry or place of origin. . . . [E]ndogamy [marriage within the group] is usual. 3
Examination of the Amish through the lens of ethnicity opens valuable avenues of analysis, particularly regarding their resistance to change. Other ethnic studies focus primarily on Americanization as predestined linear evolution. 4 Cultural change, however, is neither wholesale transformation nor stagnation. All cultural groups negotiate small and large decisions daily, but for some, including the Amish, the possibilities are more narrowly defined. Moreover, nuanced alterations in cultural choices are not the same as substantive transformations in social structure, which can provoke profound reverberations throughout a society. As a case in point, this study concentrates on the Old Order Amish in Shipshewana, LaGrange County, Indiana, a group that settles on the continuum of change far closer to the concept of cultural persistence than most.
Although the general population knows the entire Amish settlement by the town s name of Shipshewana, the name really should not be used to generalize the Amish in the area. The Amish group themselves by settlement; the settlement in northern Indiana is named Elkhart-LaGrange. Each settlement is divided into districts, overseen by bishops. Only one of these districts is known as Shipshewana, and the townspeople are quick to explain that the little village of Shipshewana is composed of more than just Old Order Amish. I have chosen, however, to use the popular term for the area rather than the insider term, because that is what the general population knows. In fact, when referring to the settlement, listeners often correct me to say, Oh, you mean Shipshewana. I have succumbed to the inevitable.
Early Amish History
Religious beliefs define the Old Order Amish worldview and act as a prism through which the Amish interpret their environment. Therefore, to understand the history of the Amish in Indiana during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, one should have a rudimentary understanding of their history prior to 1841, when the Amish arrived in northern Indiana. The Amish trace their origins to the Anabaptist movement during the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Switzerland. These proto-Amish shared the Protestant insistence on the supreme authority of the Bible, but their views differed from those of other reformation movements concerning baptism, separation of church and state, and nonresistance. 5 Anabaptists believed Christianity to be an informed adult decision; therefore, baptism could be performed only on adults, which in turn necessitated the rebaptism of those who had been baptized as infants (hence the name Anabaptist). During the next hundred years, Anabaptists endured much abuse because they were viewed as heretical. This abuse was documented for future generations in the Martyrs Mirror . 6
The result of this persecution was a recommitment to the idea that Anabaptists, or Mennonites as their wing of the movement came to be known, must be a people called by God to be separate from the world. 7 If the surrounding community continued to threaten their self-imposed segregation, the only feasible alternative was to move. Mennonites eventually fled their homes in Switzerland and settled in other parts of Europe, including France, Holland, Alsace, and Russia. In spite of migration and harassment, the Mennonite sect thrived.
A breach developed within the sect in 1693 over the strict interpretation of shunning ( Meidung ) and resulted in the formation of the Amish wing of the Mennonite church. Shunning, a form of social ostracism, was a disciplinary action taken by church members. Those shunned were totally ignored; they could neither participate in social activities nor take part in the life of the family. The purpose was to use societal pressure to induce an errant Amish person to return to the flock. If shunning did not work, the community resorted to excommunication ( bann ) to protect its sanctity. Jakob Amman, from whom the Amish received their name, advocated a strict interpretation of shunning as well as other reforms meant to bring the Mennonites back to their original construct. These reforms included a biannual communion service, a ritual washing of the feet, and faithfulness to plain dress. At this juncture in 1693, the Amish saw themselves as the faithful and true disciples of the Mennonite tradition. 8 Those who remained Mennonite supported the more liberal interpretation of shunning and were also willing to admit that one did not have to be Mennonite to be Christian. Although the division was not amicable, the two wings remained in close proximity.
In the early eighteenth century, Amish folk began their migration to the New World, settling near other plain people in William Penn s Pennsylvania. 9 The exact date of arrival is subject to dispute, but two Amish families certainly arrived in 1737. Although scholars believe that about five hundred Amish came in the first wave of immigration and that most thrived in the New World and produced large families, only a thousand could be counted as Amish in the census of 1800. This low membership number was a direct result of Amish children s failure to stay Amish. Indeed, it is remarkable that the ethnic identity survived at all. Typical of a frontier environment, the eighteenth-century Amish settlements in Pennsylvania were sparsely populated, making a cohesive community difficult to achieve. By necessity, family became the emphasis during these years. The desire to find support in a wider community eventually triggered renewed interest in communication between settlements.
In the early part of the nineteenth century, fresh additions to the Anabaptist population in the United States came as wars broke out in Europe, and pacifist groups sought refuge from the growing use of conscription. Glowing reports of cheap, fertile land enticed more Amish and Mennonites to the New World. This new wave of settlers tended to place themselves near, but not within, other Amish and Mennonite communities. 10 Amish settlements were established in Ohio by the 1820s and across a band of northern and midwestern states as far west as Iowa and as far north as Canada by 1840. Some Mennonites settled in Virginia, but for the most part they avoided areas where slavery was legal. They had no need for slaves, and slave-holding, apart from any other moral questions, represented an ostentatious lifestyle, which was anathema to the conscience of plain people. 11
Both old and new immigrants held to the basic tenets of their faith, as explicitly developed in the Dordrecht Confession of 1632: public confession of faith followed by adult baptism by affusion (the pouring of a cup of water over the head), a life of humility, and a firm belief in nonresistance. 12 The Amish differed from other Anabaptists in their belief that salvation came through the community , rather than the individual. They felt called to be a separate and distinct people. The reason for separation-physical, spiritual, and material-lay in their unique theology of community salvation. 13 Above all, they believed in perseverance as a community to keep pure and spotless, because there was no assurance of salvation until the Judgment Seat at the Second Coming of Christ. Logical consequences of this belief created a need for a strict code of conduct ( Ordnung ) as well as a sense of yieldedness ( Gelassenheit ) by the individual for the good of the whole. It was this belief that made the issue of shunning ( streng Meidung ) so important.
Church districts comprising approximately seventy-five adult communicants, or about twenty to thirty families, bound the family units together. By the time the Amish arrived in northern Indiana, they were forming their conceptions of church organization. A church district needed what was later called a bishop ( Bischof ), usually two preachers ( Lehrer or Diener zum Buch or Diener des Worts ), and deacons ( Diacon or Vollinger Armendiener ). Church leaders were selected by lot. Candidates received nomination from the full church meeting. At the appointed time, each nominee selected a Bible from a table or bench. One Bible contained a slip of paper on which was written a suitable scripture passage. The person choosing that Bible would be the one called to the ministry. The Amish viewed being chosen by lot as being literally elected by God and, therefore, not easily turned down. Church service was an awesome and lifelong responsibility. 14
The migratory nature of all Americans in this period added to the problems these lot-elected church leaders faced as they struggled to determine how to keep together a church composed of remarkably autonomous and geographically separated districts. Although a full investigation of these challenges lies beyond the time period and the scope of this study, it should be noted that before the LaGrange settlement was founded in 1841, Amish were already questioning where their religious, ethnic, and social boundaries were to be drawn and how rigidly they were to be enforced. None of these questions was entirely settled when the Amish arrived in northern Indiana.
Amish Culture
In spite of their questions, the Amish were able to maintain enough boundary definition to create a sense of separateness that was integral to their worldview. In addition, they were successful in creating strong cultural cross-links within the entire Amish community. Cultural standards were shared by all Amish groups and were defined by only slightly varying Ordnungen . Such variations included the styles of plain dress, the use of machines, and the ability to participate in the neighborhoods surrounding them. Yet the core remained the same and was recognizable from district to district.
The relative importance the Amish placed on lifestyle can be understood as a visual reminder of their need for separation from worldly influences. Their plain dress, primarily intended to stave off the degenerate temptations of materialism, kept them an ethnically distinct people. They wore simple, dark clothing with no buttons. Men wore hats and kept a beard with no moustache after they married. Women, whatever their marital status, wore a head covering of some sort after reaching adulthood. Although the principle was consistent, dress patterns varied by location. For example, some groups allowed men to wear suspenders, while others did not; the type of head covering for women also varied by locality. The result, however, was the same. Plain dress reinforced ethnic identity.
Plain dress also reflected a plain life. The Amish eschewed decorations within the home and ostentatious trappings on the horse and buggy. They worshiped in homes rather than in church buildings and chose a rural life to keep them independent, family and church-oriented, and close to the land.
Another way they emphasized segregation from their non-Amish neighbors was to speak a dialect of German difficult for outsiders to follow even if well versed in the language. Although they used Martin Luther s elegant German translation of the Bible in church services and at home, it did not reflect the vernacular of the community. In fact, their language preference and their common Germanic ancestry were not the central features of their ethnic identity. The Amish identified themselves as Amish, not German.
Within their family units the Amish learned their religion, their farming and housekeeping skills, and, for some, their academic lessons. Although other cultures also centered on the family, the Amish viewed the family as the only place to learn these things: not from church hierarchy, missions, Sunday school, or Sunday school teachers. The Amish economy also reflected their family rather than communal emphasis. Unlike the Hutterites, another Anabaptist group who held property communally, the economic and spiritual basis for the Amish was the nuclear family. Individual families bought land and established farms, although they did tend to move with and toward their extensive relations and other Amish families. Likewise, they were known to lend money within the community and to help in raising barns and homes.
Like many of their rural neighbors, Amish families were patriarchal and paternalistic and had gender-specific domains. The father was the head of the household and made the final decisions for the family. He also represented the family in contacts with outsiders. Men were protectors and providers: They farmed and communicated with outsiders. Women, as nurturers, tended to the house, the children, and small concerns such as poultry and vegetable gardening. Women were not docile and could vote in church meetings, but they did not hold church offices. 15
The history of the Amish in Shipshewana is long and complex. The early years (1841-1917) were a time of isolation and stability, years when tensions arose from within. Later years (in the second quarter of the twentieth century) saw the emergence of external threats to the Amish community. These later years, which I have termed the crisis years, are central to the question under consideration, since times of crisis determine a group s strength and resiliency. Arguably, survival is comparatively easy if a culture is not under any stress. Therefore, the central part of this book examines the effects of the two World Wars, the Great Depression, and compulsory school attendance laws on the Amish community. These are the years of crisis when neighbors and strangers took on a meaning far beyond LaGrange County, when outsiders destroyed cultural fencing, and when the Amish had to reconfigure their social structure to survive.
Any crisis period can be a fascinating study, especially when it focuses on a group that endures in the face of great adversity. This persistence is the hallmark of the Old Order Amish settlement in LaGrange. Yet however important the research on these anthropological questions might be, the real interest comes from the simple fact that their history is a fascinating story.
The LaGrange County Settlement
When the Amish arrived in northern Indiana in 1841, they were not so very different from their neighbors. Everyone traveled by foot, by horse, by carriage. No one had electricity. Few received education beyond the eighth grade. Most dressed plainly, although not all by choice. Many groups deviated from the mainstream of religious theology; within LaGrange County itself were Millerites, Mormons, and even a Phalanx. In addition, a surprising number of people in the adjoining counties spoke German, including the Mennonites and many recent German immigrants of different denominations. 1 By 1917, however, the Amish were firmly entrenched in Newbury Township in LaGrange County and were becoming noticeably different from their neighbors.
During the years of relative geographical isolation (1841-1917), the Amish made a concerted effort not to change by clearly drawing their cultural boundaries. Within these boundaries, they created integrated economic and social structures that tied the sect together through a primal network of relationships. 2 This chapter concentrates on the integral structures that allowed the Amish to be dependent on each other and independent from those around them. Chapter 2 addresses boundary formation and construction during these same years as the Amish defined who could be included in membership, who excluded, and how to control the influence of outsiders.
The Amish were able to remain in LaGrange as a distinct ethnic group for two reasons. The first was their superlative skill as farmers; this competence created economic stability for growth and earned grudging respect from their neighbors. A stable economy is central to the survival of any group; from a practical standpoint, little energy can be devoted to the development of a culture if one s energies must be devoted exclusively to sustaining life. Although the economic circumstance of the Amish community in LaGrange was not luxurious by contemporary standards, for the most part it was comfortable. Such economic stability allowed the Amish to nourish order, one of the most fundamental tenets of their culture. This order, or social stability, was the second reason the Amish endured.
Not by chance was the Amish tradition of Christian community life called the Ordnung . As an order of behavior, it created a set of communal expectations and a sense of belonging. During the years of relative isolation, the Amish forged a carefully fabricated, orderly community life. The family was the center of the order, and the life the Amish established in this rural enclave precisely defined how the family lived, worked, and behaved. This story, however, is mostly unexplored. 3
Histories of Indiana largely ignore the northern areas before the Civil War. 4 Indiana became a state in 1816, and by the 1840s it already had a history, albeit a short one, and a tradition of governance. In fact, the state was already past the frontier stage, losing more people than it was gaining. 5 In the early 1800s the land in the northern part of the state was slow to be settled for two reasons. The first was access. Travelers could reach Illinois and Iowa from the Mississippi River or through the Great Lakes. In contrast, newcomers to northern Indiana came by foot or by slow, plodding covered wagon, since most roads tended to bypass the area: the National Road went through Indianapolis to the south, and the old Indian trail from Chicago to Detroit went north of Indiana through Michigan. Much of the northeastern land was swampy and known for its noxious fumes. 6
The second reason for the slow settlement of the northern counties was that this was still Indian country. The sparse settlements in the northern counties were there illegally until the last of the Potowatomis were removed in 1840. 7 One of the natural lakes in the county bore the name Shipshewana, in honor of the last Potowatomi chief in the area; according to legend, he returned there in his final days and was buried on the lakeshore. 8
Fortunately, a contemporaneous account of the settlement of this area gives remarkable insight into the frontier process. In 1907 Hansi Borntrager, an elderly Amish man, wrote a brief history of the LaGrange settlement to help his family remember their heritage. 9 Since Borntrager was only a small child when his family came to Indiana in 1841, he invited comments from many of his friends and fellow pioneers to ensure accuracy. In addition, much of Borntrager s account can be verified through other sources. 10
According to Borntrager, around 1840 four Amish men living in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, began to search for new land for their community. 11 After traveling down the Ohio River, then up the Mississippi, they found acceptable land in Iowa. For their return journey, however, they chose a different route: through Chicago, then along the St. Joseph River and into northern Indiana. Once they left the river, they traveled by foot into what is now Goshen, Indiana. Borntrager does not offer an explanation for this circuitous route, but possibly the men were attracted by other nonresistant settlers already living in the area. Whatever the reason, the men found the Indiana land even more attractive than that in Iowa. As a result, in 1841 four families moved to Indiana from Pennsylvania, taking four weeks for the trip. 12
At first the settlers camped on the Elkhart Prairie near the present-day town of Goshen. To their dismay, they discovered that the choice prairie land was too expensive for their limited means. Just to the east, in Newbury Township in LaGrange County, they found less expensive land that came with a different cost: felling the forests. In the 1840s clearing land of trees could take two or more years; if one had many forested acres as well as marshland, generations might pass before everything was cleared. In short, as one student of the Amish has noted, Buying a quarter section of land-more or less-and clearing it for farming was not for the faint of heart. 13 During the following summer other Amish families arrived in Indiana, some settling in Newbury Township near the present-day town of Shipshewana and some in Clinton Township in adjacent Elkhart County. In the succeeding years the Amish community grew rapidly by natural increase and immigration. 14
In the first year the settlers burned the forest floor, planted small plots, and felled trees to make simple log homes. These rudimentary cabins, constructed from round logs and heavy chinking, had beaten dirt floors, stick chimneys, and greased paper for windowpanes. At the start, a quilt tacked onto the lintel substituted for a door; later a simple entry with a string latch was added. Eventually clapboards could overlay the house, stones would be laid for the chimneys, and floorboards were added. A small cellar under the new flooring sufficed to store potatoes and other root vegetables. The furniture was equally sparse. 15
During the early years of isolation, people survived on what they grew or could forage in the wild. Since fencing would not become common in the township until well into the twentieth century, livestock ran at large, identified only by a mark that was registered with the county recorder. 16 Life was not dull, even in this agricultural backwater of the nation. For example, in the next county to the south, a group of bandits operated in a relatively unpopulated area and made forays into Elkhart, LaGrange, and other counties to rob and murder. Often these raids occurred while people were away from their homes at church. A group of Regulators composed of men from the neighboring counties finally apprehended the bandits in 1858. 17
This frontier stage, however, was short-lived, with change coming faster to northern Indiana than to the southern counties. By 1846 a noticeable exodus of people heading to Oregon outnumbered the fresh immigrants to the county. 18 Yet for those who stayed, cleared trees, drained marshland, and improved roads, a certain amount of prosperity appeared, even among the Amish. Records indicate a new sawmill, a school, and fledgling county government. 19 Amish even served on the school board and in other county offices. 20
In short, between 1841 and 1917 the Amish settled comfortably in LaGrange, earning a reputation as good farmers in this agricultural county. In 1874, almost midway through the period, the Illustrated Historical Atlas of LaGrange County described them as a peculiar class of people . . . found mostly in Newbury and Eden. The rest of the paragraph reflects both respect and some resentment: They believe, however, in gathering together all of Uncle Sam s greenbacks which they can reach, and understand thoroughly how to make money. In addition, the author added, They are good farmers generally, and own some of the best lands in the county. Under the heading for Eden Township, the author refers again to the Amish as generally good farmers, [who] have the faculty, superlatively developed, of accumulating filthy lucre and real estate. 21
These comments about the Amish raise more questions than they answer. Were the Amish, in fact, good farmers? 22 How far did they participate in the market economy? Were they as miserly as the stories suggest? How economically secure were they as a group in Newbury Township? To respond to those questions and to evaluate the economic stability of the Amish during this period, one must analyze their practices as farmers, examine their crop choices, and evaluate the Amish reaction as the state shifted from agricultural to industrial wealth.
Unfortunately, the data for farming practices in the mid-nineteenth century are severely limited. Manuscripts for the Agricultural Census are available only through 1880. In 1890 a fire destroyed national records, and the Bureau of the Census chose not to retain agricultural manuscripts after that year, much to the irritation of historians. Even within the surviving manuscripts, verification as to who was Amish or Mennonite becomes increasingly difficult. 23 For the censuses of 1860 and 1870 it is fairly easy to determine who was Amish or Mennonite by surname identification; during these years agricultural practices also tended to reflect ethnic tradition. After 1870, however, surnames are not reliable, because following the Great Schism of 1857 families split; in-migration of Dunkers and other types of Mennonites introduced new and sometimes similar surnames; and some second-generation communicants converted to noncognizant denominations, such as Methodist or Presbyterian. It is possible to trace some Amish families from present membership, but this is a particularly difficult exercise for the latter part of the nineteenth century because of the extensive migrational shifts of Amish families. 24
In spite of these problems of ethnic identification, some conclusions about Amish farmers are possible. The Amish shared with all farmers the complications endemic to the area. Everyone in Newbury Township had to contend with marshlands and the need for drainage. Although the county is riddled with small creeks and seventy-one natural lakes, they were insufficient to provide natural drainage for large marshes, wetlands, and peat bogs. 25 During the nineteenth century, LaGrange County farmers made a concerted effort to drain these lands. 26 The local newspaper supported these efforts, adding exhortations about keeping hoes sharp and preserving meadows and marshland because of the huckleberry and blackberry crops that came from them. 27 To provide drainage, farmers either bought or produced tile, laid it in the fields, and projected the runoff into local streams. 28 If streams were unavailable, farmers had to agree about ditches or passage to local creeks, streams, and rivers. How this was accomplished in Indiana and particularly LaGrange County is frustratingly undocumented. One possibility was for the county surveyor to arrange for ditch digging, usually along section lines and roads, but surveyors were not always reliable. 29 For example, a newspaper notice of 1905 asked if anyone knew the whereabouts of a George A. Eagleton, formerly county surveyor in LaGrange County, Indiana. Apparently Eagleton collected several thousand dollars of . . . assessments and then fled, the author believed, to the state of Washington. 30 Through its description of Eagleton s actions, this letter from a LaGrange County Amish man directly connects the Amish to marshes, ditch digging, and county organization.
In spite of shared burdens of geography, Amish controlled a substantial percentage of the wealth in the township but accounted for less than 30 percent of its population. More Amish families (95 percent, 41 of 43 families) owned their farms than non-Amish (80 percent, 109 of 135 families). Certainly this correlation between ownership and ethnic identity supports the conclusions in the 1874 Illustrated Atlas . To take this comparison a step further, the Amish owned $129,375 (49 percent) of the $265,800 total value of real estate in the township and controlled $29,822 (42 percent) of the township s personal property, valued at $70,372. The explanation for the lower percentage of personal property was that people who did not own real estate did have some personal property. In spite of these numbers, the Amish did not actually control as much land as one might have expected-only 36 percent of the improved land and 39 percent of the unimproved land. Land records at the county courthouse in LaGrange are difficult to follow, but they show Amish farmers purchasing some land at one time, then buying more several years later, perhaps as neighbors sold out and moved away. 31
How then were the Amish using their land? Using the census of 1860, one sees that the ratio of horses to people in Newbury was the same: The Amish had 28 percent of the population and owned 28 percent of the horses. Amish ownership of all the other livestock, with the exception of sheep, was high, especially the number for swine. One should keep in mind that the raising, use, or slaughtering of animals represented profit for the Amish farmers, since they, for the most part, did not have to pay mortgage or rent. Ownership of animals also indicates that these formerly isolated farmers were entering the market economy. They not only sold but bought as well. One also finds that the Amish were very successful with crops, particularly wheat, which was not easy to grow. 32 In 1859 the Amish managed to produce fully 55 percent of all wheat grown in the township. 33
Analysis also reveals a strong showing in clover production, providing further evidence that the Amish were innovative and astute farmers who knew that their soil needed to be nourished. 34 Clover was but one part of a crop rotation plan, supplemented by liberal applications of marl and manure on the fields. Most farmers ignored this distasteful chore before manure spreaders became common, but the Amish used natural additions to their fields to improve soil condition and therefore productivity. 35
Succeeding censuses are less useful. By 1870 it is no longer possible to identify Amish farmers in particular, but it is possible to classify Amish and Mennonite farmers as a group. 36 Production of clover seed continues to be clearly associated with Anabaptist farming practices, perhaps even more distinctly than in 1860. The census found 154 farms in the township, down from 198 in 1860. Of the 154 farmers, 63 (41 percent) reported clover seed. 37 Of the 63 who grew clover, only 10 cannot be positively identified as Amish or Mennonites. This means that more than 80 percent of those who grew clover were Amish or Mennonite. 38 As to the value of the lands owned by Amish and Mennonites, no real conclusions can be drawn. For the most part, land, production, and livestock values are spread across the spectrum of LaGrange County. Most of the Amish and Mennonite farms seem to be clumped in the middle of the economic scale, but again, the results are not far removed from what one would expect.
The census of 1880 is even less useful. By then it becomes nearly impossible to identify Amish and Mennonites even as a group, and clover seed as a subheading disappears. The census reports a total of 199 farmers, 88 percent of whom owned their lands. The 12 percent (23 farmers) who did not own land paid rent, one by cash and the rest by share of produce. 39 In comparison, the same census reveals a 25 percent tenancy rate in the United States and a rising 20 percent in the Midwest. 40 Such numbers make the 12 percent rate in Newbury Township noteworthy.
If Amish farm ownership was high, their farming practices were apparently progressive, and their neighbors thought them good farmers, it seems likely that the Amish were indeed good farmers. But were they good subsistence farmers, or were they geared toward a market economy? Did they receive cash for their goods, and did the stories of their hoarding of cash have any merit? To answer these questions, one must first identify a cash crop, then pinpoint modes of transportation used for shipping.
Unfortunately, there are few account books of LaGrange County Amish or Mennonite farmers in the Mennonite Church USA Archives in Goshen, Indiana. The information they provide is limited by farmer, time period, and locality. Further information can be gleaned from the Budget , a small Ohio newspaper started in 1890 for a local Amish-Mennonite readership, which grew beyond the editor s wildest imaginings. Amish, Amish-Mennonite, and Mennonite readers from around the country, and eventually foreign countries, subscribed to the Budget to keep in touch with other like communities. Within a short period of time, the newspaper had official scribes from various places who wrote about their local events. These include letters about Newbury Township as well as LaGrange and its neighboring counties. 41
As farmers, the Amish in LaGrange ordered their lives by the seasons. In unison, the Amish plowed their fields, planted seed, kept off weeds, harvested, and threshed or shucked. Wheat, oats, and corn, though typical, were not their only crops. Fruit, whether apples, plums, peaches, strawberries, or huckleberries, was important to the well-being of the community and provided a cash crop. 42 Amish farmers also raised livestock and poultry both to supply their families and to sell. Letters to the Budget provide prices on butter and eggs. 43 As one would expect, however, not all harvests succeeded, no matter how good the farmer. Flies and rust injured the wheat; late frost damaged fruit blossoms; Canadian thistles invaded crops; excessive rain destroyed fields and caused mold to form on stored produce; and, of course, farmers feared drought. 44 In contrast, bumper crop years were long remembered, such as the summer of 1905, when wheat was the best in forty years and plums and peaches were so plentiful that they rotted on the trees. 45

Amish Plow Horses. Photograph courtesy the South Bend Tribune .

Amish at Harvest. Photograph courtesy the South Bend Tribune .
Amish farming efforts had long been directed toward the market, as evidenced by their interest in market prices in the Budget . The western part of the county, particularly Newbury Township, did very well growing peppermint. The crop was well established as early as 1907. 46 By 1931 the region was the second-largest grower and distiller of peppermint in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world. 47 The crop survived a plague of grasshoppers in 1911 to yield $3 a pound for mint oil, a far better return than on many other crops. 48 The crop rebounded three years later, producing a bumper crop, which became the benchmark from which all others were measured. According to a letter from Honeyville in LaGrange County, [S]tilling peppermint is all the go in this neighborhood. The writer reported that Jose M. Bontrager got 200 pounds so far ; with mint oil selling at $2 a pound, it pays to raise mint! 49
The development of peppermint as a cash crop, however, did not happen until after the formation of Shipshewana, a planned village. LaGrange County and Newbury Township in particular were relatively isolated for many years. 50 For the most part, railroads ignored the county, usually heading from Fort Wayne to the southeast and stopping in neighboring Goshen or Elkhart. Roads had always been problematic, partially because of the rotting stumps of felled trees and marshlands, which may also account for the railroads early avoidance of the county. Within the township, the best time to shift heavy goods was in the winter, when the roads froze. 51 A plank road built through the little town of LaGrange from Fort Wayne kept rotting, eventually being even worse than no road at all, and as late as the 1870s the road between Goshen and Warsaw in the next county was served by a stagecoach, since nothing else was available. 52 Merchants in LaGrange, the county seat, realized the need for improved transportation, yet most of the county improvements ignored the very marshy Newbury Township. 53 Eventually the main roads would be macadamized with proper drainage, but until the coming of the railroads, the northern counties were largely isolated. 54
The railroad was important in the nineteenth century, as boosters everywhere knew. It is not surprising, then, that in 1889, when Hezekiah Davis platted some of his land for the town of Shipshewana, he placed it near the new Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. Almost immediately the LaGrange Standard began a new column to chronicle Shipshewana s activity. In January 1889 the paper referred to railroad meetings and the opening of businesses in the area. 55 Shipshewana s first mention in the Budget came on 4 April 1892:
Shipshewana is situated in LaGrange County, Indiana, on the Goshen Battle Creek Railroad. It is a prosperous little village of one thousand inhabitants; has two dry goods stores, two drug stores, two grain elevators, one hotel, three saloons, two saw mills, one planing mill, one flouring mill, two blacksmith shops, two meat markets and one band. 56
What caused this interest in Newbury Township? These businesses did not evolve over time; they erupted into the landscape. The Standard of 1889 mentioned farmers shipping eggs and butter out of the village, but nothing indicates enough traffic to entice both a railroad and several new businesses. 57
The list of new businesses in the area helps explain the near explosion of activity in Newbury Township. The railroads were shipping lumber, although the origin of this lumber is unclear. 58 Certainly the area, described as tall stands of white oak with little underbrush, was heavily forested when the first settlers arrived. Winter was traditionally the time for local farmers to cut wood, but the implications are that the reported lumbering activity consisted of more than a few farmers cutting wood in their slow months. The Standard referred to one company alone as having shipped two million feet of lumber from Shipshewana in 1888. 59 In 1893 a letter to the Budget from Middlebury, just across the county line from Shipshewana, mentioned that a local farmer had sold a tree seven feet in diameter. 60 The cutting continued well into the twentieth century, but there were signs of concern that the boom might be ending. In January 1908 a letter from Shipshewana suggested that the sound of the woodman s ax may be something of the past in ten years hence. 61
Notwithstanding the boom in lumber, Shipshewana lost its early economic boost during the depression of 1893, when cash was hard to come by. As a result, the town was not incorporated until just before World War I. Public sales increased in the area as people left to seek a new start. The village eventually recovered, but when the timber industry left, the success in mint production could not spur continued growth. Mint could be grown by very few farmers, and growing it did not require many employees. Nevertheless, Shipshewana became a central location for trade in the area. Just across the county line, with a similar population mix, Middlebury tried to compete by publishing booster notices in the Budget . It added a new grain elevator and eventually train service of its own. Yet local diaries continued to refer to Shipshewana for market-day shopping and for geographic identification. 62
Although the economy improved after 1900 and agriculture had its best years after the 1893 depression, rural counties in Indiana dropped dramatically behind the industrial ones in economic terms. This does not mean, however, that the inhabitants of rural counties were not comfortable. The Amish spent little of their money on consumer goods; they saved it and used it to reinvest in their business, in the form of land, livestock, seed, and equipment. The Budget often refers to new buildings, homes, concrete barns, buggies, and horses. 63
However important economic stability became to the Amish, its major significance was that it allowed the infrastructure of their society to develop. During the first seventy years of settlement, the community concentrated on building a stable environment. While the rest of the nation struggled to incorporate an enormous influx of immigrants, LaGrange remained native-born. As the nation accelerated its industrialization, LaGrange stayed rural. The nation pressed for a new, progressive vision of itself, and although LaGrange County had its boosters, its branch line on the railroad, and eventually access to some material wealth, the county remained mostly isolated from mainstream thought and development. While the civic leaders of LaGrange felt frustrated in their attempts to improve the county, the Amish remained content with the rural environment. It allowed them to settle firmly into the area and recreate their time-honored family- and church-centered society, structured by a sense of order. This theme repeated itself in their everyday life and language. Letters in the Budget refer to certain duties being the order of the day, carefully delineated by season and gender.
Among Amish women, daily life was defined by the home, the children, and the garden, as well as cooking, cleaning, and sewing garments. 64 Water had to be pumped by hand, brought to the house, and heated for cleaning, laundry, or bathing. 65 All food was prepared without benefit of conveniences or temperature-controlled ovens. In the spring women cleaned, helped with the sugaring, and set out their gardens. 66 In the summer they tended their gardens, picked berries from the marshes, and canned. 67 In the fall they harvested the gardens, gathered nuts, and made apple butter. 68 In the winter they sewed clothing and quilted. 69 Women raised the chickens and tended the coop, until poultry became the central source of income on some farms and moved out of women s purview. In relationship to the men of the family, women were considered to be the weaker vessel; the ever-present head covering indicated a subservient position. Men wore their hats only in public; women always kept their heads covered. This did not mean that women were without influence within their family or that they were not deeply loved and respected. Husbands were admonished that they owed their wives respect and that women had the right to claim protection from their husbands. 70
Season also systematically and specifically defined the roles of Amish men. The farm and contact with the outer world were their territories. Farming without benefit of gasoline or electrically powered machines is labor-intensive and demands considerable physical strength. Handling the farm stock, plowing the fields with large horses, chopping wood, and hauling manure and gravel came under the rubric of man s work. Both the Budget and the Standard are replete with stories of injuries to farmers and farmhands in their day-to-day activities, for farming could be a dangerous occupation. 71 At times women helped handle farm chores that were usually confined to the men. Often, however, these chores required physical strength beyond that possessed by the typical woman. 72 Besides, women had plenty to do in their own domain without invading the men s. The precise division between the roles of women and men behooved both sexes to find a mate for their life s work. Since young Amish risked excommunication for marriage outside the Amish community, courting was a serious business, but one that their elders viewed with some amusement. A cruelly worded letter to the Budget in 1896 from nearby Nappanee states, These girls who were out scouting some time ago put me in mind of some starving cows, which hunger forces to break with their lives to seek some green pastures. 73 As for the men, a letter from neighboring Topeka in 1908 reports that one young man was off to visit Kansas. The writer commented, Clarence has for some time been interested in western affairs, but I don t think it is real estate he is looking after. 74 During this period other Amish communities were concerned with bundling (a courting practice); bishops wanted to forbid it, but it seemed too strongly entrenched. Among the Amish in the LaGrange County area, though, no record of discourse on the subject exists, so it is impossible to determine the presence or pervasiveness of the practice.
After approval, marriage usually took place in a home during the winter months. 75 Weddings themselves were joyous occasions for feasting and, on occasion, too much drinking. One Shipshewana writer to the Budget referred to the events at a local out-of-season wedding in the spring of 1912:
Many a seed was sown on the rock that day as so many of our people drank too much strong drink. . . . I do hope this will be the last time for what will the harvest be? 76
Once a couple married, the community assumed that children would follow quickly and greeted newborns with great joy. Baby boys were often referred to as woodchoppers and girls as dishwashers. 77 Male scribes wrote to the Budget about the joy felt by the new father on the birth of a child; later letters conceded that mom might have taken part in the event! A new father was said to walk on tiptoe or to wear a hat on the side of his head after the birth of his child. 78 One letter even suggested that a farmer was worth $1,000 more since the birth of a baby boy, emphasizing the economic benefits of the birth of a male child. 79
Unfortunately, not all children lived to adulthood. Childhood diseases, so much a part of life for families in this era, were at times fatal. When a child died, the community expressed profound sorrow. Letters, reaffirming a belief in the sovereignty of God and His wisdom, referred to the death angel visiting a certain house and calling for a particular child. 80 Whooping cough hit very small children, and the weak did not survive. 81 Outbreaks of measles, mumps, diphtheria, or scarlet fever closed schools. 82 The inability of some doctors in the community to determine the difference between chickenpox and smallpox seemed more worrisome. As one reads the letters in the Budget from the LaGrange area, the confusion between the two diseases is hard to miss, particularly in 1903 and 1904, when schools were closed and whole families quarantined. Virulent strains provoked attempts at quarantine, but there seemed to be no stopping the spread. Vaccines were not widely disseminated. Instead, the community used smallpox vaccines only when the disease was already identified and only on people who were in danger of exposure. 83 Their environment helped the spread of other diseases, such as typhoid, a product of contaminated water.
Some years after the turn of the century, references to cancer begin to appear, although patent medicine advertisements mentioned cancer at earlier times. Heart trouble, as a broad category, also begins to appear in 1908, but the absence of earlier references is puzzling. These afflictions were either unidentified or uncommon. Neither diet nor lifestyle apparently changed at the time, so the change in reporting is difficult to explain. Neither does tuberculosis appear in letters until some years after the turn of the century. Although the population was somewhat isolated, had well-ventilated homes, and participated in many outdoor activities, it is unlikely that this extremely contagious disease would not have been found in LaGrange County. It is more likely that some change in the availability or use of trained physicians occurred during this time period. 84 Other diseases that appear frequently in early references in the Budget include Bright s disease and other kidney ailments, grippe (probably influenza), and diabetes.
Because the community lacked trained physicians, patent medicines and homemade herb concoctions were popular. 85 Jacob s Oil promised to cure ills of man and beast, and Scott s Emulsion was guaranteed to heal consumption, coughs, colds, weak lungs, and sore throats, to name but a few. Darby s Prophylactic Fluid promised the following: [E]radicates malaria, scarlet fever cured, diphtheria prevented, smallpox prevented, and antidote for poisons. 86 The German Medical Institute in Elkhart offered a more scientific approach, suggesting that if one sent them a list of symptoms, the institute would attempt to treat the writer. Some of its successes were in kidney, head, throat, lung, and nerve ailments. 87 A column in the Herald of Truth , a Mennonite periodical printed in Elkhart and distributed nationally, reported on a remedy for hydrophobia from a mixture of bruised elecampane root boiled in milk and drunk for three days. 88
With this list of ailments and cures, it is remarkable that people survived at all. To believe that one might be cured of cancer without surgery is surely tempting, but when it creates a false alternative and keeps people away from medical intervention, it is dangerous. In spite of the charlatans who were trusted, there were some who were exposed for their true nature. A letter from Middlebury reported that immediately after a patent medicine salesman left town, people noticed chickens missing. 89 In 1904 Manassas Troyer wrote from Goshen to warn others about a quack doctor, a pretty good talker, who sold a patent medicine that did not work. He described the doctor in detail so that others would be fully warned. 90
For those who lived through the diseases, the cycle of life reflected the cycle of the seasons, surrounding an intimate knowledge of nature and the family. As Amish people approached the late autumn of life, the ideal was for the youngest son to inherit the farm and take care of his aging parents, who could no longer run such a physically demanding enterprise. (Older sons received monetary help to purchase their own farms.) Up until World War I, this system did not always work smoothly. Sometimes the younger sons did not stay within the church, or they moved far afield. As a rule, however, one family member did inherit, whether of the immediate family or not. A Grossdaadi Haus was then built on the property, which provided a security system and a certain dignity to the elderly. 91
Staying within the analogy of nature and seasons, just as an orchard cannot survive without cross-pollination, neither could the Amish survive within their small, culturally fenced settlements. They had to reach out to each other both within the immediate church district and also to the other Amish districts in the state and in the country; they knew that this wider community was very important to maintaining Amish identity. As noted earlier, the Amish did not have a church hierarchy that defined appropriate theology, worship format, or even religious instruction. Therefore, contact within and between districts cemented the wider community of believers. Church services were held every other week, but neighboring districts often met on the off week, allowing for cross-church visitation. At times church services had strange preachers from other areas; this reference does not mean peculiar or non-Amish but simply means unknown. 92
Letters to the Budget are frustratingly newsy about who visited whom during the previous weeks, yet they ignore subjects that readers in a different age would wish to know about. Although the visits often involved business or church contacts, they could mean a church party, such as Manassas Bontrager having forty-six for popcorn in 1907. 93 Visitors might come from nearby Michigan or distant Oregon or North Dakota. 94 Young men, in particular, were likely to spend some time away from LaGrange working in another Amish settlement to earn money for their own farms and perhaps finding an appropriate mate. 95 Most Amish families depended on their own children and occasionally their neighbors to harvest and thresh, but in new settlements with few families or families with very small children, extra hands were often required. This visiting among the immediate Amish districts allowed a network of social contacts and expectations to develop. The Ordnung so closely defined the expected behavior of the individual within the community, and these districts became so intertwined with each other, that the success or failure of each district could have significant reverberations within the wider Amish community in northern Indiana. These districts became profoundly dependent upon one another.
By the second decade of the twentieth century, the Amish in LaGrange County were comfortably set in an interconnecting social and economic structure within their cultural boundaries. They farmed to provide for the needs of their families and yet were tied to the market economy through the production of fruit, wheat, eggs, butter, and, most of all, mint. They had access to the outer world and its markets through new railroads and road improvement. The overall picture of their economic situation was one of stability, not luxury, and one of their own choosing, rather than having choices foisted on them. Most importantly, the Amish were able to remain farmers. From their viewpoint, their tie to the land was essential to the well-being and stability of their religious and ethnic identity. Moreover, by remaining farmers they reinforced the idea of order and season in everyday life. The Ordnung , which spelled the path of salvation for the community by its strict code of behavior, made sense in an isolated, agrarian environment.

Map of Indiana, ca. 1850, highlighting Elkhart and LaGrange Counties.
Creating Cultural Fencing
During the years of isolation, 1841-1917, the Amish in LaGrange County built a closely interconnected society. A stable and successful economy allowed them to be farmers, remain tied to the land, establish a life founded on the Ordnung , and maintain a godly community. The emphasis heretofore has been the community itself, yet a sect also exists in a larger society. Therefore, the sect must build boundaries, or fences, to define the limits of membership; outside the fence, an individual is no longer considered a part of the group.
Since the Amish are strict traditionalists who created a wall of virtue to carefully delineate the boundaries of the group, they can be described as an enclave. 1 They intertwined the secular with the sacred, saw modernism as an enemy, and constructed supports and constraints within the group. Yet, by definition, an enclave is not the group itself, but the fluctuating boundary of the group, thus emphasizing boundary formation and maintenance. 2 Although the Amish were not a static group, emphasis on change-even carefully negotiated change-distorts their true characteristic of cultural persistence.
During the years before World War I, the Amish struggled to define their cultural boundaries. They confronted religious dissent, difficulties in maintaining contact between settlements, and intrusion of new technology into their rural environment. Yet each of the challenges to their boundaries was resolved internally. Schism, both local and national, generated a carefully worded response by conservative bishops; those who were willing to place their religious or cultural fencing beyond the traditional mores would no longer be considered Amish. Similarly, problems maintaining communication between far-flung settlements were solved by emphasizing family ties and community correspondence. Finally, technological advances were cautiously evaluated in light of adding any structural benefits to the community as a whole. Understanding the history of the Amish at this juncture necessitates an understanding of how they responded internally to the challenges to their boundaries.
Although family life, the center of Amish community, remained stable in the years before World War I, connection to the church, the next most important part of Amish life, was not so protected. As a result, dissension over the Ordnung posed the most severe challenge to the northern Indiana community. Amish settlers came to Indiana from different parts of Europe and the United States, bringing varying traditions of church and community order. Mild disagreement was to be expected among a group that governed congregationally and left each district to create its own Ordnung; but, for a sect that emphasized community salvation, conflict over boundaries had great import, for this world and for that to come. Each Ordnung tended to derive from an oral heritage, presumably rooted in an ancestral line of understanding. Yet because an oral tradition offered no means of establishing the preeminence of a single lineage, competing Ordnungen caused almost every Amish community to experience a religious schism, known as the Great Schism, during the middle to late nineteenth century. 3 The first evidence of discord appeared in the Elkhart-LaGrange districts as early as 1845. 4 By 1857 the schism was complete.
The Amish view on the Elkhart-LaGrange schism is sparsely represented. Most of the information available comes from Mennonite records. Mennonite interest is understandable, because those who chose the progressive side in the schism formed the Amish-Mennonite Church and eventually became Mennonite. 5 In addition, Mennonite tradition allows for a theological discussion of issues and doctrinal writings, while Amish tradition does not. Paton Yoder s book, Tradition and Transition: Amish Mennonites and Old Order Amish, 1800-1900 , provides a detailed portrait of the issues of the Great Schism and its progression through different Amish settlements during the latter part of the nineteenth century. His study, however, is a national overview of the schism and does not explain why problems arose in LaGrange County. 6 Yet an understanding of the roots of discord is important. Was it an internal or external problem, and how did the Amish react in order to survive?
Only six years after their arrival in 1841, dissension among the LaGrange Amish had become so serious that church leaders called in three Amish bishops from Ohio to smooth the discord. 7 The settlement was supposedly amicable, but the result was the creation of two districts for worship, one in Elkhart County, the other in LaGrange. 8 The line between the districts hardened within the next few years as some of the more conservative Elkhart members moved to LaGrange. 9 These local disputes eventually became part of the larger national discord, but at the time Amish families focused on their immediate neighborhood.
Differences between the bishops of the two districts provided even stronger harbingers of future conflict. Isaac Schmucker of Elkhart and Joseph Miller of LaGrange reflected the differences in the community: Schmucker came from Ohio; Miller, who led the conservative faction, from Pennsylvania. 10 They had been the only men eligible in 1843 when the time came for the new community to choose its bishop, only two years after its origin. The lot fell on Schmucker, though Miller was eventually ordained in 1848. Only seven years after his ordination, Schmucker moved to an Amish settlement in Rock Creek, Illinois. Since ordination as bishop is a lifelong commitment, Schmucker s move suggests that he must have been involved in the continuing dissension. Church officials did move, often to get out of an uncomfortable environment, but Schmucker s choice was all the more surprising since Rock Creek already had a bishop. 11 Some scholars suggest that Schmucker acted precipitously when he ordained new ministers immediately after the 1847 dissension, rather than allowing tempers to cool. 12 While in Illinois, Schmucker demonstrated his inclination toward change and his impatience with tradition by helping to plan a new meetinghouse. In spite of the fact that Schmucker appeared to find success in the Rock Creek community, he returned to Indiana after only two years, supposedly because of family illness. Schmucker, however, did not return to Elkhart; instead, he settled near the present-day town of Topeka in LaGrange County on the edge of Amish country.
It is fair to ask why Schmucker came back to LaGrange County if dissension had played a role in his leaving. As one booklet points out, Schmucker returned just in time to become involved in the schism of 1854-57. 13 What seems likely is that his return emphasizes the centrality of family to Amish life-even though involved in unpleasant disputes within the church, Schmucker was willing to endure disagreements for the sake of his family. What also seems likely is that Schmucker precipitated the Elkhart-LaGrange schism when he ordained Jonas Troyer as a bishop in 1854. 14
Troyer s ordination came at the request of a group in Elkhart who had created their own church and constructed a meetinghouse. 15 Newly arrived from Ohio, Troyer appealed to the same group as Schmucker. Hansi Borntrager, however, saw Troyer as an even greater instigator of trouble than Schmucker. Borntrager described Troyer as quite a talented speaker who exercised strong influence and seduced many away. He denounced Troyer for having given pride the reins, so that in a short time a great change became evident. 16
Change was readily apparent. A meetinghouse was not Troyer s only innovation. He also introduced stream baptism, literally in a river, which he argued was more scriptural. 17 This may have been the catalyst for the schism, for in some communities baptism became the focal point of dissension. 18 Certainly, the rite of baptism is central in Amish tradition. A baptized adult who leaves the community is subject to shunning ( Meidung ). Although baptism is a lifetime commitment and its consequences are permanent and serious, the ceremony is simple. It consists of a deacon and a bishop standing by the new church member. The deacon pours a cup of water into the bishop s hands, who then releases it over the head of the person joining the church. 19
Borntrager s allegation that Troyer had given pride the reins remains perplexing unless one assumes that phrase to be an allusion to the root cause of the split. When writing his account, Borntrager had the benefit of hindsight. He was correct in stating that the split was complete in 1857, when the progressives decided to establish meetinghouses and conduct their own ordinations. Yet at the time everyone was unaware that there was no hope for reconciliation.
Conflict was apparently contagious, for it began to fester in settlements across the country. In response, Amish leaders held a series of annual meetings, called Diener Versammlungen , from 1862 through 1878, to try to heal the wounds and establish unified regulations. 20 Records of varying reliability were kept of these meetings and were printed in German in booklet form in the nineteenth century. Each year the meeting site changed to allow more churches to be represented. Apparently many of the participating men traveled by railroad, when possible, but some from very distant sites were seldom represented; Canadian Amish simply wrote a letter. The agenda at the first meeting, held in Wayne County, Ohio, included the Elkhart-LaGrange schism, with an eye toward healing the breach, but the subject was shelved because not enough districts were represented. Two years later the meeting site was held in Daniel Schrock s home near Goshen, Indiana. Ostensibly it was to discuss the issues in the northern Indiana schism, but once again representation from different districts became an overriding issue. Conservatives objected that they were not properly represented from the Ohio districts, and addressing the Indiana problems was once again delayed until the following year. 21
When the conference returned to Wayne County, Ohio, in 1865, events proved more defining than anyone anticipated or understood at the time. Well-represented, conservatives gathered several days earlier in adjoining Holmes County to prepare a position paper, which they presented at the conference. The particularly striking aspect of this uncompromising paper is its omission of stream baptism and meetinghouses. Most of the conservative concerns had to do with pomp and pride, which lead away from God. In the tradition of the Ordnung , they listed items to be forbidden: overcoats, false shirt bosoms, and speckled, striped, flowered clothing made according to the style of the world. In addition, they identified behaviors that would compromise the strict boundaries of separation between the Amish and the outside world: annual fairs, insurance companies, lightning rods, worldly offices, and merchandising according to the ways of the world. 22 On the final day of the meeting, the conference decided that the position paper did not need to be voted on. This confirmed the conservatives worst fears; they boycotted all future meetings, clutched the Old Order, and eschewed change. In contrast, the progressives continued to meet and only slowly realized that they were no longer Amish. 23
The argument is persuasive, then, that the root cause of the schism was not stream baptism, although it may have contributed to the dissension. If the conservative Amish leaders were the ones drawing the boundaries, beyond which others could no longer be Old Order, then their perception that stream baptism was not central to the dispute carries great weight. Most likely Isaac Schmucker and Jonas Troyer were not the causes of the schism in Indiana but rather its vehicle. Both men certainly led the split and should not be ignored, but accounts of the schism do not pinpoint their involvement to anything larger than a certain amount of influence. Two other possibilities exist. The schism may have been caused by an internal factor, such as conflicting traditions of order, or by an external factor, such as the improving economic conditions in the county, which resulted in growth of material wealth that proved too tempting for some. 24
Conflicting traditions might have originated in different geographical areas-Ohio versus Pennsylvania. If so, confirmation needs to come from determining the birthplaces of the Amish on either side of the schism. According to the census of 1860, in Newbury Township there were seventy Amish from Pennsylvania, twelve from Ohio, one from Germany, and one from Indiana. Of the twelve from Ohio, only four comprised two married couples; the others had spouses from outside the state. Therefore, only two families in Newbury Township could be counted as firmly of Ohio descent. 25
No way yet exists to confirm exactly who went on which side of the split, or the numbers that were involved. Since the Amish did not keep official church records, a good many pieces are missing from the puzzle. We do know, however, the names of some of the leaders on each side. We also know that there were enough people in the split to start an Amish-Mennonite church in Newbury, just as there was one in Clearspring Township and one in Elkhart County. And we know that by the 1880s the Forks Amish-Mennonite Church in LaGrange had 100 members. Although we do not know the number in 1860, enough of them belonged to build a meetinghouse in 1862. It would seem illogical to assume that two married couples from Ohio, neither of which can be confirmed as progressive, would be sufficient to form a congregation. Some from Pennsylvania would have to have joined. Therefore, there does not seem to be a clear correlation between place of birth and inclination toward a liberal interpretation of the Ordnung . The numbers are not available to support the assumption. 26
Borntrager s contention that the problem was material remains the last clue as to the source of the schism. If economic growth underlay the discord, then the conservative bishops were correct in 1865 when they argued that worldly influence was the problem. The progressives wanted to participate in things of this world, including financial benefits; to the dedicated, conservative Amish, this would constitute pride and should be forbidden. Certainly this complaint coincides with Borntrager s account of the fourfold reasons behind the schism:
Looking back over the outcome of the above history, it is quite evident that carnal-mindedness and lust of the eye were the main reasons for discord and division; four things which Christ cannot tolerate in His church are especially noticeable: 1) expensive clothing after the world s fashion; 2) serving in public office; 3) a completely commercial business; 4) the wisdom of this world. 27
The conservative bishops position paper of 1865 included three of Borntrager s reasons for the schism-discord over plain clothing, public office, and commercial business-but did not include the wisdom of this world, Borntrager s fourth reason. Traditionally scholars view this statement as a reference to education, but it is not clear in the Indiana sources that education was a source of controversy in the middle of the nineteenth century. The comment probably encompasses larger issues and may well have referred to the need for a boundary between the world and the Amish as people of God-worldly things and ideas are forbidden. 28
Borntrager s first and third reasons for the schism concern the enticements of material growth within the community. As documented in chapter 1 , the Amish in LaGrange remained visible, successful, well-to-do farmers throughout the nineteenth century because of their excellent farming practices. This appearance of wealth, however, was not reflected in their habits of consumption; the Amish were frugal. It would be presumptuous to assume that material wealth was the only or motivating factor in the split, as theology is paramount in defining the Amish worldview. Yet knowing the amount of real estate wealth that the Amish controlled in the county (49 percent, with only 28 percent of the population) and remembering that Borntrager s account indicates a breakdown of the division between the church and the world, it would be difficult to deny that the growing wealth in the township was not problematic.
Up to this point, this chapter has emphasized reasons why the Elkhart-LaGrange schism happened and to what extent outside forces contributed to it. Thus, most of the arguments have surrounded the progressives and the possible reasons for their dissent. Yet the question has an obverse side: Why did the Amish resist change at this juncture, and if Borntrager is to be believed, why did the conservatives revert to an even stricter definition of their boundaries, particularly with regard to dress and involvement in politics and education? 29
For the Amish, salvation is through the community of believers, which must be presented spotless before God. 30 The schisms involved not only theological questions about humankind s relationship with God, but community questions as well. The Amish did not take the nomenclature of Old Order, or alte Ordnung , by chance. Order was the principle behind their society-the order of the seasons reflected in their farming practices; the order of family life in separate spheres of man and wife as well as the natural order of birth to death; and the carefully regulated order of church life. The Amish understood that to change the Ordnung was to violate the interrelatedness of their society and to put the separation of their people from the outer world at risk.
In contrast, the progressives eventually become Amish-Mennonites, then Mennonites, a distinct religious denomination but not a discrete ethnic group. The Amish-Mennonites continued, for the most part, to live in the same areas as the Old Order Amish, but they began to assimilate into the local population. There is a curious reference in the LaGrange Standard to household moves taking place from the east side of Newbury Township to the west. 31 The exact meaning of this statement is uncertain, but quite possibly it refers to a resettlement of religious enclaves. To outsiders, such as those writing the Standard , these undifferentiated shifts represented additional confusion in identifying varying religious sects, such as Amish, Mennonites, Amish-Mennonites, and Brethren. 32
Careful reading of the Herald of Truth indicates confusion on the Mennonite side as well. Although the publication had Old Order Amish readers and contributors, articles seemed loath to differentiate between the various groups. In 1864 an article refers to a conference meeting in Elkhart, which convened inasmuch as some of our so called omish [ sic ] brethren have expressed a desire to unite. 33 In 1873 another article claimed that the differences between the Amish-Mennonites and the Mennonites shall become entirely obliterated, while altogether ignoring the Old Order Amish. 34 And in 1900 a letter from Ligonier, Indiana, stated that the denominational listings of Amish, Amish-Mennonite, and Mennonite would confuse census takers and suggested that Amish-Mennonites drop the Amish part. According to later editorials, the letter produced an enormous reaction from people who were not yet willing to merge their boundaries into those of the Mennonites. 35
Boundary formation was important not only to those no longer in the group-the Amish-Mennonites-but also as a way of protecting the connecting fibers of the sect and to keep it cohesive. Without a church hierarchy to oversee unity, attachments between the widely separated Amish settlements became strained, for the Amish were as caught up as others were in the nationwide nineteenth-century migration. 36 Just as Amish settlers came to northern Indiana in 1841, Amish families dispersed widely, from Florida to California, around the turn of the twentieth century. 37
Migration in any culture is often a combination of both pushes and pulls. As documented in chapter 1 , the Amish enjoyed a stable rural economy in LaGrange, one that did neither too well nor too poorly. The community prospered but was unable to provide economic opportunity for all its youth, and in times of depression, as in 1893, the Amish were cushioned but not immune from difficulties. As a sign of the times, a front-page article in the Budget in 1893 warned farmers not to get into debt because the credit system makes you a slave. 38 A bank loan was a last resort for any Amish man; he preferred instead to get help from relatives and the church community. Public sales were numerous. 39 Although it was possible to have a public sale for a good reason (one might be retiring from farming), for the most part they indicated trouble. Public sales were usually held in the late winter, when the most cash could be taken from the harvest and farmers had time to leave their fields. Occasionally auctions brought a good price, but more often no one had the money to buy. 40 If someone had to sell his farm and other property, he could rent land and pay shares or migrate. 41 Migration was a popular choice, usually involving small groups of three or more families. The Budget contains a number of references to people holding public sales, loading railroad cars, and migrating to distant parts of the country. 42
What really motivated families to move was the high cost of land in LaGrange (the push) compared with the relatively low cost in the West (the pull). Good, affordable farmland was the backbone for the rural community of the Amish; however, in a prosperous environment, land prices climbed beyond the reach of some farmers. For instance, an advertisement in the Budget in June 1904 priced land in western Canada and Glendive, Montana, for $3.50 to $10 an acre. 43 Similar prices were listed for the Yellowstone Valley Land Company the next year. 44 In contrast, in 1909 a small farm in Shipshewana sold for $140 an acre. 45 To be sure, the farm in LaGrange was developed land and the farm in the West was not, but a limited amount of cash meant that a family had to settle for less.
Both the LaGrange Standard and the Budget ran large advertisements extolling the virtues of land in faraway places. As early as 1884 the Standard ran a large, front-page article describing the Washington Territory and pinpointing its location.

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