Differences

Amish fiction, Pebble Creek Series, Shipshewana Series Comments: 45

wisconsin farmAll Things Amish – Differences

One of my readers asked that I talk about the differences in Amish communities. Of course I haven’t been to all the Amish communities, but I do know 2 fairly well. Indiana is where my Shipshewana series is set, and Wisconsin is where my Pebble Creek Series is set. From the weeks I spent there, I can tell you a few of the differences and similarities, though I’m sure there are more. Today we’ll discuss differences, and next Saturday I’ll address similarities.

Differences

  1. In Indiana the Amish homes usually have gas stoves and refrigerators. In Wisconsin, there aren’t gas appliances. In fact, they still cut the ice out of the river, pack it in saw dust and use it in their “ice boxes” all year.
  2. Outhouses! The communities we visited in Wisconsin still used outhouses. In Indiana, the bathrooms were very similar to ours, though when you turned on the water at the sink the flow was very low (no electricity to pump it!).
  3. In Indiana you will find more Amish tourism–especially in the Shipshewana, Goshen, Middlebury area. In Wisconsin, you won’t find this at all. At least I couldn’t find it!
  4. In Indiana the farms seem to be closer together, and they branch out from the towns. In Wisconsin, the farms are a bit hard to find. You have to be willing to drive the back roads.
  5. In Indiana the farms, houses and barns look very well-kept. In Wisconsin, some of the barns are falling in on themselves. This is because many of the large dairies left the state. The Amish are coming in, buying those farms, and repairing what was broken. But this takes time.
  6. In Indiana you’ll see Amish folk riding bikes. I didn’t see any of this in Wisconsin, but that may be because the distances between places were farther apart.

I’m sure there are more differences, but these are the ones that stand out in my memory clearly. What about you? Have you noticed differences in Amish communities?

By the way, I wanted to invite you to join me over at Amish Living. There are a lot of great authors there, and it’s a fun way to learn about different Amish communities.


Visit Amish Living

Blessings,

V

 

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45 thoughts on “Differences

  1. Judy B

    Very interesting post Vannetta. I didn’t realize that there were so many differences between the Amish in Wisconsin and the Amish in Indiana. I must say, if I were to be Amish…I’d want to be Amish in Indiana! 🙂

    Blessings!
    Judy

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Judy, that was my first response too, but honestly there are wonderful things in both communities. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Nancee

    Thanks for the comparisons between Indiana and Wisconsin Amish, Vannetta. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Shipshewana/Middlebury area over the past 25 years, but I’ve never been to the WI community. There is a very small community in MN that we discovered when I was at the Mayo Clinic a couple of years ago, but it’s much like what you describe the WI community. Thanks for the comparison!

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Nancee, aren’t you the lucky girl? I would love to be close to Shipshe. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

      Reply
  3. Brenda Nixon

    Grateful that you took time to read my recent blog post & left a comment, and appreciate you sharing differences (which are so many) among Amish. Different Orders, different sects, differences in each community. One size never fits all in this complex culture. Helping readers learn is why I write non-fiction. Blessings on you and your writings.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Thanks for stopping by, Brenda. I like how you point out they are a “complex” culture. Aren’t we all? But it becomes more obvious when we take a close look. Blessings~

      Reply
  4. Sharon Orshaw

    The Amish order in Indiana that you are referring to sounds much like the ones in Lancaster, PA. I worked for an Amish man and ate at his house several times in Lancaster. Their bathrooms were just like ours and they had a refrigerator and stove that operated off their gas run generator (he was a shed builder so had a huge generator for his business right next door). One thing I have noticed is that the Amish in Lancaster are allowed to ride scooters, pushing along with one foot, but they are not allowed to ride bikes. They do ride bikes in Indiana? That I’ve never seen.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Hi Sharon. Yes, lots of bikes in Indiana. And I just saw a picture Sherry Gore posted where the Amish in Sarasota, FL are riding those 3 wheeler bikes. It’s just different from one district to another. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  5. George Ogan

    We go to Shipshewana often and just love that area. Hope to go to the Lancaster area next. We were having lunch one day in Shipshewana and had to laugh when an older Amish man stopped to show us the photo on his cel phone of his new bike. I do not even have a cel phone so he was ahead of me on that one! (I am retired, I do not want a cel phone) We look forward to our trips to the peace and quiet of Amish country and love your books!

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      It sounds like you’ve had some interesting experiences, George. What is the lesson here? Do NOT stereotype people, or something like that … Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  6. Maxie Lloyd-Hamilton Anderson

    Hello Vannetta. Glad you wrote this post. Knew there was differences in the books I read. I would love to be able to visit a Amish community in Wis. other than just on a bus going down the road. I’ve lived thru the outhouse and drawing water from a well, and blocks of ice in our ice box era. 🙂 Even in the 80’s in KS., when my brother-in-law still had a outhouse only. (Can’t say I liked it. BUT, If I were going to live among them guess I’d have to pick Indiana. LOL So wish I could visit some of their places in several states, but will never have the chance to do that. Take care, Maxie

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Maxie, that’s what my mom says … “I’ve lived through that!” It’s refreshing to me, to know some things remain the same. Hugs,

      Reply
  7. Maxie Lloyd-Hamilton Anderson

    Oh yes, Vannetta, and taking baths in wash tubs, laundry by hand in tubs, and using lamps. And, wood burning heaters and stoves for cooking. Do I sound old? LOL So glad I saw that Amish book in a friend’s car when I was visiting a sister in MO. it was :the Shunning” by Beverly Lewis. Added another part (or however I should say it) to my life. That was in 200, and I’ve been addicted to anything Amish, especially books ever since.
    Maxie

    Reply
  8. Geri Kelley

    What an intereting article thanks for the education and sharing with us hope your week is blessed big ((( hugsss ))) to you my friend joy to you 🙂

    Geri Kelley

    Reply
  9. nana62552

    I learned something about our local Amish here in Ky. I had always heard that they did not pay taxes. But when my husband and I went to the CPA last Friday, we we waiting for them to finish up with a couple before our turn. Was I surprised to see an Amish couple come out of their office. When we were asked to go back to the office, that was my first question. I made the remark, I didn’t think Amish paid taxes.”. Their reply was, “That is a huge misconception of the English” around here. They do file taxes, but they don’t pay FICA or Medicare–therefore, thy do not draw from those. Interesting!!! I am a life-long learner in various subjects.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Nana, you are absolutely correct. The Amish pay all the taxes we do (property, federal, etc.). They do not pay into Social Security, because they do not participate. They don’t take anything out! This was approved by the U.S. Congress.

      Reply
  10. Kate Kleinert

    In Lancaster County, PA, many Amish youngsters and women ride scooters. The scooters almost look like a converted bicycle – two bike tires and handle bars. There is a metal piece that connects with the tires and it is only about 5 inches from the ground – about 8 inches wide and maybe 4 feet long. They can move on these things but it takes lots of leg power!

    Reply
  11. Vera

    Interesting. Wonder why some Amish feel it is sinful to have these conveniences and others do not. Do the communities with such differences ever get together and fellowshi as fellow-Amish-believers?

    Also, are the rules (set by the Bishop of the community??) solely left to the discretion of one bishop or can the defend their beliefs and life style commitment with Scripture?

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      The rules are set by the Bishop, but the congregation has an opportunity to disagree and have the local rules changed. So it’s what they decide as a congregation … what they determine is best for everyone. And that differs per the location and needs of the congregation. Which is why the Amish in Oklahoma use tractors. But that’s another post!

      Reply
  12. Tiny Alderson

    Spent two weeks in Lancaster County in 2010. Being a farm girl, I loved the neatness of the farms. Shopped in several of the homes where they sold fabric in the lower floor. Had to contrast colors by gaslight. My husband ( a former car dealer) loved the directional signals on the buggies!

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Tiny, I know exactly what you mean. My grandpa was a share-cropper, and seeing the Amish farms reminded me of what my mother’s life must have been like.

      Reply
  13. Donita Corman

    I see differences in the Amish in the Arthur illionos area..some wear dark colors and dark shoes and socks while others wear lighter shades and flip flops..Ive often wondered how to tell If a woman was married because they have No wedding rings and the guys grow beards to show they are married.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      I don’t think there is a way to know if women are married, Donita. Not that I know of. Though I had an Amish woman in Shipshe tell me that the younger, unwed girls wear the pastels … but in general married women stick to more conservative colors.

      Reply
  14. Von

    “In Indiana you will find more Amish tourism–especially in the Shipshewana, Goshen, Middlebury area. In Wisconsin, you won’t find this at all. At least I couldn’t find it!”

    I’m curious as to what Amish community(ies) in Wisconsin you’ve visited. While not highly publicized, I have seen some businesses that are open & welcome visitors/tourists. I’m familiar with the Amish areas near Cashton (Monroe County), Dalton/Pardeeville (Columbia & Green Lake Counties), and Albany (Green County).

    You’re right, to see the various Amish farms here in Wisconsin, you really do need to get off on the small county roads. These areas are very rural, but the farms are easy to pick out if you know what you’re looking for.

    Here is a link to my Facebook photo album with over 100 photos taken in several of our Amish communities: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3677443215678.2141925.1262924349&type=3 .

    Yvonne
    Milwaukee, WI

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      I visited the Cashton area, Yvonne … and also some communities to the NE of that (if I remember my directions correctly). You are correct, there are plenty of farms to see if you take the back roads. What I didn’t see was the big commercialized center like in Shipshe or Lancaster. And thank you for the link to your photos!

      Reply
      1. Von

        You’re right, not much like the “big” commercial areas and the Amish here do not seem to really be out to promote to tourists. What I’ve seen has been more the local chambers including Amish businesses in their marketing materials. Columbia County does have a web page dedicated to “Amish Drive Tours” as does the Tomah, WI area.

        Reply
  15. Juanita Cook

    Thanks for sharing about the differences between the Amish. I love reading and learning more about the Amish.

    Reply
  16. Vera

    This post has generated quite a bit of interest and comments. It is so nice to be able to learn about others in our Country and especially those who adhere to strong religious and political convictions.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Thanks for stopping by, Vera! I do find similarities/differences interesting. Being from the south, we tend to think everyone does things OUR way. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Vera

        Perhaps. However, having lived in the Southern university town of Chapel Hill and it’s bedroom community of Carrboro for over 50 years, I found that the mixture of populace, lifestyles, religious affiliation, education, purchasing power, etc. very metropolitan or cosmopolitan. Still, I’m a bit of a Southern lady with died in the wool Baptist beliefs. But I have been exposed to a lot of different living styles and peoples.

        Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Carolyn. Both places – and both groups of people – are wonderful to visit.

      Reply
  17. Melissa L.

    The fact that there are so many different Amish communities makes my head spin. It is really interesting that in many cases the other Amish people can tell where they are from just by their clothes or buggies or etc.

    Reply