Who Are The Amish

The shiny black buggy passes at a fast pace, the clicking of the horses hooves drumming a quick rhythm into the rutted dirt lane. The driver is dressed simply -- white shirt, dark suspenders and a plain straw hat. Beside him sits a woman in an unadorned blue cotton dress -- no jewelry, no make-up, her hair tightly secured beneath a starched white cap. The man's beard brushes against his shirt as he nods his head in greeting to a neighbor who is cutting a field of golden oats behind a team of four sturdy work horses. A little girl, with scrubbed cheeks and bare feet dangling, peeks from the buggy window and waves as they pass.

Sound like a scene from an old western movie?

It is actually a familiar scene in Holmes County, Ohio, home of the largest Amish community. The Amish resulted from a division within the Swiss Brethren, and are the most conservative segment of the Anabaptist movement, which also produced the Mennonites. They first began settling in the United States in 1720 to avoid religious persecution in their home countries of Germany and Switzerland.

The Amish believe that the Bible teaches a simple life of humility, family, community, and separation from the world. They shun modern conveniences that are not in keeping with their simple life, and remain unencumbered by the stresses of "English" technology. They ride in horse-drawn buggies, wear simple unadorned clothing, have no electricity in their homes, and send their children to one-room Amish schools through the eighth grade. Upon graduation, the young Amish work on their family's farm or business until they marry.

Come visit Ohio's Amish Country, a place where you are always welcome.