A Peculiar People: Iowa's Old Order Amish by Elmer Schwieder

By Elmer Schwieder

Now again in print with a brand new essay, this vintage of Iowa background makes a speciality of the previous Order Amish Mennonites, the state’s so much unique spiritual minority. Sociologist Elmer Schwieder and historian Dorothy Schwieder started their learn with the biggest team of outdated Order Amish within the nation, the group close to Kalona in Johnson and Washington counties, in April 1970; they prolonged their stories and friendships in later years to different outdated Order settlements in addition to the marginally much less conservative Beachy Amish. a weird humans explores the beginning and development of the previous Order Amish in Iowa, their non secular practices, monetary association, family members lifestyles, the formation of latest groups, and the important factor of schooling. integrated are also appendixes giving the 1967 “Act with regards to obligatory college Attendance and academic Standards”; a pattern “Church association monetary Agreement,” demonstrating the group’s strange yet useful mutual economic system; and the 1632 Dortrecht Confession of religion, whose eighteen articles hide all of the simple non secular tenets of the previous Order Amish. Thomas Morain’s new essay describes exterior and inner matters for the Iowa Amish from the Seventies to this present day. the expansion of utopian Amish groups around the state, adjustments in career (although The Amish listing nonetheless lists buggy store operators, wheelwrights, and one lone horse dentist), the present nation of schooling and healthiness care, and the wakeful stability among glossy and standard methods are mirrored in an essay that describes how the previous Order commitment to Gelassenheit—the yielding of self to the pursuits of the bigger community—has served its contributors good into the twenty-first century.

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This also applied to the Washington County group. In 1893 these Amishjoined the General Conference Mennonites, the most liberal faction of the Mennonite Church. 2K In 1846 the first Amish moved into Johnson County. Like earlier settlers in Lee and Henry counties, most of these people were from Ohio. Following the example of other early pioneers, they lived in log cabins and made furniture from the basswood found nearby. The inevitable pioneer affliction of fever and ague caused considerable suffering among these people, and when reports of this illness filtered back East, the flow of migration ceased for a few years.

32 CHAPTER THREE The deacon is chosen by the church district to assist the bishop and ministers in both religious and secular matters. The deacon may be asked by the bishop to travel about the district and report back on such matters as backsliding. He may also determine if a young couple who have been courting and desire to be married have the approval of the parents. If so, a wedding date is set and the event announced in church two weeks before the marriage is to take place. For many years it was customary to perform weddings in the fall, following completion of the harvest, but Amish weddings now are held throughout the year.

In winter the host finds room in his barns for the horses. If the service is being held at a neighbor's farm, the closest families will walk rather than hitch up the buggies. One Amish boy of four or five provided a particularly happy sight as he trudged down the road, obviously enjoying himself and his surroundings, with his black hat on his ears, his white shirt with sleeves just a little too long, his black trousers with pant just a bit too short, his vest flapping open and shut as he bounced along, and as a final touch to his Sunday outfit no shoes, just chubby, tanned, bare feet!

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