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. 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. Becausen 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, and constitute a separate "district", holding their own worship services and having their own bishops. Though differences exist, they are unnoticeable to outsiders.
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.
Since the late 1970s they have split several times. Groups include the Rufus Zook group, the Chris Yoder group, and others. Reasons for splits are difficult to obtain.
Practice and belief
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. Men also wear white shirts, brown denim trousers and jackets and hair at shoulder length. The hats of the men are very broad brimmed. 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||Mechanical milker||Mechanical refrigerator||Pickup balers||Inside flush toilet||Running water bath tub||Tractor for belt power||Pneumatic tools||Chain saw||Pressurized lamps||Motorized washing machines|
|Percentage of use
by all Amish
|Holmes Old Order||No||Some||Some||No*||No||No||Some||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
* 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.
Members and congregations
As of 2000, the Nebraska Amish had 11 church districts and 775 members, mostly in northeastern Mifflin County. As of 2011 they had 19 church districts in 5 settlements. 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.
- Jon Guss: "Amish and Mennonite Groups in the Big Valley"
- Suspenders (Amish) at Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online
- John A. Hostetler: Amish Society, Baltimore 1993, page 290.
- "Amish Technology Use in Different Groups".
- Kraybill, Donald; C. Nelson Hostetter (2001). Anabapist World USA. Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-8361-9163-3.
- Kraybill, Donald B., Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt, eds. The Amish (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), page 139.
- Holmes Amish at amishamerica.com
- Amish Society, by John A. Hostetler
- The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed, by David Luthy
- Mennonite Encyclopedia