Kishacoquillas Valley

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Kishacoquillas Valley looking north from Jacks Mountain near the village of Belleville

The Kishacoquillas Valley, known locally as both Kish Valley and Big Valley, is an enclosed anticlinal valley in the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania, located in Mifflin and Huntingdon Counties.


The valley is lying between Stone Mountain ridge to the north and Jacks Mountain ridge to the south. It drains via the Kishacoquillas Creek through the Mann Narrows water gap in Jacks Mountain to the Juniata River. U.S. Route 322 follows the creek though the gap, and is the main travel route across the valley, running from Harrisburg to State College. The Mifflin County Airport also lies in the valley.

Amish and Mennonites[edit]

The Amish settlement in the Kishacoquillas Valley was founded in 1791. It is the third oldest Amish settlement still in existence. There were 26 Amish church districts in 2013 indicating an Amish population of over 3,000 people.[1]

Twelve Amish and Mennonite groups live in the valley, "one of the most diverse expressions of Anabaptist-Mennonite culture anywhere in North America," according to John A. Hostetler, a renowned scholar of the Amish. Kishacoquillas Valley is home to the Nebraska Amish, the most conservative Amish group, the Byler Amish and the Renno Amish.[2]

Kishacoquillas Valley has many similarities to the Lancaster region. Accents identical to those heard in the Lancaster region are also frequently heard in the valley.

Principal towns[edit]


John Armstrong named the Valley in 1759 after a friendly Shawnee chief. His Indian name translates to "The snakes are already in their dens."[1]

Joseph Yoder portrays the late nineteenth-century Valley in his semi-autobiographical Rosanna of the Amish (1940).


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°42′N 77°36′W / 40.7°N 77.6°W / 40.7; -77.6