Nebraska Amish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Nebraska Amish, also called Old Schoolers are a very conservative subgroup of Amish.


Amish settled in the Mifflin County region of Pennsylvania as early as 1791, coming from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In the 1840s there were three Amish congregations in the region.[1] Around 1880, Bishop Yost H. Yoder led nine families from Juniata County, Pennsylvania, to Gosper County in south-central Nebraska, founding an Old Order settlement that would last until 1904, three years after Bishop Yoder's death. Yoder went back to the Kishacoquillas Valley in Pennsylvania in 1881 to assist a conservative Amish group. Because Yoder had been living in Nebraska for some time, the group was nicknamed the Nebraska Amish by others.

A group called the Zook faction broke away from the Yoders in 1933, over the use of projecting roof gables, and formed a separate district, holding their own worship services and having their own bishops. The Zook group split again in 1978.[2] Though differences exist, they are almost unnoticeable to outsiders. Since the late 1970s they have split several times. Groups include the Rufus Zook group, the Chris Yoder group, and others.

In the early 1980s several church districts of the Swartzentruber Amish in Minnesota, Tennessee, and Ohio split from the Swartzentruber church districts elsewhere because of disagreements over shunning ("Bann und Meidung"). This group, known as the "Jeck Jeckey Leit" is now affiliated with the Nebraska Amish.

Practice and belief[edit]

Nebraska Amish dress the most conservative of all Amish groups. Their dress is quite different from other Old Order groups. Men are known for not wearing suspenders, trousers are laced up in the back instead.[3] Men also wear white shirts, brown denim trousers and jackets and hair at shoulder length. The hats of the men are very broad brimmed.[4] Women do not wear bonnets, wearing black kerchiefs and flat straw hats instead.

Concerning the use of technologies, the Nebraska Amish are about as restrictive as the Swartzentruber Amish, see table below. Like other Old Order Amish, the Nebraska Amish do not use motorized equipment or indoor plumbing. Other differences include the fact that they do not place screens on their doors or windows, men only wear white shirts, curtains are not used in homes, buggy tops must be white, men's hair must be shoulder length, no lawn mowers are allowed and houses must not have projecting roofs.

Affiliation Tractor for fieldwork Roto- tiller Power lawn mower Propane gas Bulk milk tank Mecha- nical milker Mecha- nical refri- gerator Pickup balers Inside flush toilet Running water bath tub Tractor for belt power Pneumatic tools Chain saw Pres- surized lamps Motorized washing machines
Percentage of use
by all Amish
6 20 25 30 35 35 40 50 70 70 70 70 75 90 97
Swartzentruber No No No No No No No No No No No Some No No Yes
Nebraska No No No No No No No Some No No No No Some No Yes
Swiss (Adams) No No Some No No No No No Some No No Some Some Some Some
Buchanan/Medford No No No No No No No No No No No Some No Yes Yes
Andy Weaver/Dan No No No No* No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Holmes Old Order No Some Some No* No No Some Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Elkhart-LaGrange No Some Some Some Some Some Some Some Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lancaster No No Some Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nappanee, Indiana No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kalona, Iowa Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

[5] * Natural gas allowed

Because Nebraska Amish have a relatively small number of youth, they allow dating over the line. So young people of different Nebraska Amish groups can date each other; however, when they want to marry they have to decide which of the groups they will join. Nebraska Amish practice bundling.[citation needed]

Members and congregations[edit]

As of 2000, the Nebraska Amish had 14 church districts and 775 members and a total population of 1,744, mostly in northeastern Mifflin County.[6] As of 2011 they had 19 church districts in 5 settlements.[7] The main Nebraska Amish settlement is found in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, with small extensions into Centre, Huntingdon, and Union counties. There are 3 other Nebraska Amish settlements in Pennsylvania and one settlement near Andover, Ohio, just at the border to Pennsylvania, which was founded in 1992.[8]


  1. ^ Jon Guss: "Amish and Mennonite Groups in the Big Valley"
  2. ^ Jon Guss: "Amish and Mennonite Groups in the Big Valley"
  3. ^ Suspenders (Amish) at Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online
  4. ^ John A. Hostetler: Amish Society, Baltimore 1993, page 290.
  5. ^ "Amish Technology Use in Different Groups" at
  6. ^ Kraybill, Donald; C. Nelson Hostetter (2001). Anabapist World USA. Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-8361-9163-3. 
  7. ^ Kraybill, Donald B., Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt, eds. The Amish (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), page 139.
  8. ^ Holmes Amish at


  • Amish Society, by John A. Hostetler
  • The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed, by David Luthy
  • Mennonite Encyclopedia