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A Visit With the Old Order Amish, Bowling Green, Missouri

Amish Town - Bowling Green, MO

Amish farmer working in the field on a Saturday afternoon.

Amish farmer working in the field on a Saturday afternoon.

Town Square, Pike County, Missouri

The County Seat...Pike County, Missouri

The County Seat...Pike County, Missouri


Horse drawn buggies are a very common sight.

Horse drawn buggies are a very common sight.

The Simple People

*NOTE: All photogrpraphs were taken with permission.

If you hop off highway 40 in Bowling Green, Missouri and drive down highway Y you may feel as if you have stepped into a worm hole and landed in the middle of a Little House on the Prairie storybook.

The town is a total of 1.9 square miles with a population of a little more than 5000. Town Square is paved but the roads that spider from that are generally gravel.

The Amish community in Bowling Green, Missouri is the oldest Amish community in Missouri. In the 1940s the Amish people began to have problems with the educational system in Indiana. Small country schools were closed which required students to be bussed to larger schools. Indiana required children to attend schools until they were 15 years of age. The Amish only wanted their children to acquire an 8th grade education. Most children had reached eighth grade by the age of 14.

Amish Life

The Amish do have access to electricity. They do not tap into it though because they believe that it would connect them to the outside world. They associate with the outside world as little as possible. They do not have indoor plumbing or telephones. Some of the homes are built without siding or covering as it is seen as purely ornamental. They do not decorate their homes with pictures or any type of décor.

The Amish people subsist on their own power. They grow most of their own fruits, vegetables and livestock. They farm their land and build furniture and sell baked goods for income. Some Amish communities have been loudly criticized for operating puppy mills. They do not pay into nor draw from the U.S. Governments Social Security System. They do not participate in the health care system or have health insurance.

The Amish people do believe in medicine and treatment if necessary. They often travel to Mexico if they need serious medical treatment as it is much cheaper there than in the U.S. The Amish do not participate in these type of industries because it would make them too much a part of American society.

A telephone may be kept in a barn and used for purposes deemed necessary such as ordering supplies. They are not to be used for personal phone calls or socializing. This would be forbidden. The Amish way of life is to work hard, pray hard and live as quietly as possible. No nonsense is a rule.

Amish Store


Main Water Source


Amish Life for Women

My husband and I took our two daughters, ages 10 and 12, to visit the Amish community on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I wanted to show them, rather than tell them, how many possessions they own compared to other cultures. As we entered the town, the girls noticed the tiny shops that sat in the town square.

We drove down the gravel road that sat between two wide cornfields. A pocket of dust and a blink of the eye and you were in a never never land. I spotted a plain white building with a small neon sign (unlit) that rested in the window that announced it was "OPEN". The door was unlocked and the store was dim.

Jars of Jams, Jellies and butter spreads were stacked on a table. A sign that listed the price for their various cheeses and eggs was hand written in black marker. The bank box sat closed on the counter, unlocked. A woman came in and did not greet us but merely waited for me to tell her why I was there.

Her cornflower blue dress told me she was married. She wore the typical prayer bonnet and apron. I caught her giving me a side ways stare, probably horrified by my hot pink fingernail polish and matching toes. My tattooed foot, painted face and tight blue jeans, evidence to her that I was going straight to hell.

I picked several jars of fruit spreads and a dozen farm fresh eggs and cheese. The woman said nothing as she diligently wrote a sales receipt. I left and she followed me out, walking with a quick step and purpose. Me? I was just having a lazy, spur of the moment drive with the kids on a sunny day. As we pulled away, I watched her walk the short path to her home and I was very thankful I had the freedom to be leaving soon.

The Amish woman, will never drive a car, travel, or even do something as simple as blow dry her hair - have a hot shower or flip a light on. They may use generators to run stoves or refrigerators. They also use wood stoves to cook. They may use kerosene lamps or old hand powered sewing machines. They do not wear make-up, have their photographs taken (no graven images or vanity) or cut their hair.

Amish women working in the garden.

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Amish School House

Bowling Green, MO

Bowling Green, MO

Amish boy with Straw hat


The Amish Children

Amish children go to school until they have finished 8th grade. They do not need higher education to lead an Amish life. Amish children do not socialize with children outside of their community. They are allowed to date when they are adolescents. The boys might take their date to town in a horse drawn buggy. They are allowed to go to Dairy Queen or parking near the river. They are not allowed to date or marry outside the Amish community.

When children grow to older adolescence they are given the option to leave the community or to become baptized into the Amish community. If they do leave, they are shunned by the entire community, including their own family. They often do not have social security numbers or birth certificates recorded with the state. Many of them return due to lack of support and resources outside the Amish communities.

Amish children will never play a musical instrument, tune in a radio, have a favorite band, see a movie, concert or television. They will play amongst themselves with little intervention from the outside world. They will not travel or decide what they want to be when they grow up.

Amish Farm

Typical Amish Home

Typical Amish Home

Amish Farmer

Amish farmer working in the garden.

Amish farmer working in the garden.

Amish tractor

Notice - the tires have no rubber.

Notice - the tires have no rubber.

The Amish Men

Amish men learn to farm or are typically trained in carpentry. Amish men wear home made clothing with no buttons (too fancy). They are made with the hook and eye type fastener and men wear suspenders. Men also wear a wide brimmed black hat.

Men normally rule the household. Females answer to their husbands or their fathers.

If a couple chooses to get married, weddings are held in the fall after the first harvest. The wedding isn't announced until a few weeks prior to the simple ceremony. Weddings take place in the home, no photos, flowers, rings or adornments. The happy couple usually spends their first night of wedded bliss with the parents of the bride so they can get up first thing in the morning and begin cleaning early.

Divorce and separation are almost unheard of in the Amish communitites.

Amish Farm


Amish Farm

Children at play...

Children at play...

Amish Farm

Amish boy bailing hay.

Amish boy bailing hay.

Amish Horse Drawn Buggy

Going home after a long day in the field.

Going home after a long day in the field.

The Ex-Amish

Complex Problems for The Simple People

The Amish lifestyle is much like a cult. It is not focused on religion but they are all very devoted to their religious teachings (which are from the Bible) and their own rules and practices. One gains membership by being born into it. Amish people only marry other Amish people. They have problems with genetics and birth defects.

The Amish community does have a problem with suicide. Many followers report feelings of hopelessness and the need to have more meaning in their lives.

The Amish will all agree that they allow the youth to leave if they choose but more recently there have been reports of people who had to escape the community to gain their freedom. Tales of physical abuse, rape and incest and beginning to make their way through the thick, tightly woven fabric of their beautiful looking community.

The people who leave are unhappy with the lack of choices they have within the Amish communities. Some teens just want a chance to of go to high school - others want to travel, search the world and perhaps - some of them might have dreamed a little dream about where they would like to go when they grow up. Some of them risk everything to try - others just work hard, pray hard and live an upwardly moral and quiet life.

When they die they will be buried in an unmarked and undecorated wooden box. There will be no eulogy, no flowers and most likely no marked gravestone. They celebrate death the same way they celebrate life. As little as possible.

Dairy Queen, Bowling Green, Missouri

Date Night for the Amish. That's Hot!

Date Night for the Amish. That's Hot!

"If you wanna keep something precious - you've got to lock it up and throw away the key." ~Sting

Info & Map of Amish Town, Bowling Green, MO

  • Escaping the Amish Part 1
    In February, I received an e-mail from a reader using a Columbia University address -- Torah Bontrager -- that ended curiously: ...and if you ever want


Dolly Cinders on July 31, 2013:


I'm late to this discussion, but I notice you've repeatedly mentioned photos you wish you could publish. Any simple photo editor software would let you draw a black box or a blur over the faces, so you can obscure their identities. I encourage you to try this.

Once you put such photos on this website, they would be found when people do Google searches, especially image searches, if you attached the right keywords to the photos. You would attract new readers.

Some commenters above stated things that I think are not accurate. There have been entire books written about the Amish, and their reality is far more varied and complicated than what people here are suggesting. I encourage everyone to check out such books at the library or book sellers.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on May 19, 2013:

Thanks so much Kenja!

Ken Taub from Long Island, NY on May 16, 2013:

Very rich, detailed, informative, and well told. There is in fact some fine stuff here on Hub Pages. Hat's off. Ken

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on January 10, 2013:

Hi britblue1! Thank you so much! I do admit, I am not a resident of the area and I do see the Amish locally, quite a bit. I was recently downtown on the arch grounds and a bus dropped off a group of Amish who were sightseeing. I was a bit surprised at first. It was about 1000 degrees that day too.

I find the group fascinating really and now more than ever. If our society that is so darn organized and strong loses our precious electrical grid - many people would die. Just due to mere lack of running water and electric. The Amish would prosper and probably not notice much of a difference (except now those trips to Wal-Mart huh?) Then which group of people do you think will survive? I highly doubt they will be berated for deciding to forego "higher education" versus "practical living and survival skills".

I also have many photographs from that day that I will never publish. I respect the right to their belief that photos of their faces or in their likeness are offensive to them. I have some gorgeous ones of a woman working in the field with her bonnet off and her hair down, but I bet she'd be horrified if I published it. The boys in the photos posed almost though, smiling and making sure I had time to take my shot. So I could tell they were pleased with the idea of it...I felt free to publish any that I requested permission first. I wish I could share them all but I'd feel jerky doing it so I'll just keep them for my private collection:)

Thanks a whole bunch, I love hearing the details from someone who lives right there!

britblue1 on January 10, 2013:

Hi, I live there, On Hwy Y in Bowling Green, MO and I have to say this a little off. But I also have to say it's mostly correct. But instead of lack of communication with us, the Amish are actually quite friendly, and they are seen throughout the town of Bowling Green every day, and not just at at Dairy Queen. The Amish shop at Walmart, every day, we even have a horse and buggy "parking" area specifically for them. They buy soda and kiddie cereal and chips. They shop at Hickman's IGA, and are seen at several shops in our town. We hire them to fix roofs and do handy work. They smile and nod and sit on the bench at Walmart talking to truck drivers and pastors and farmers. They shop at our yard sales, and buy little tikes toys for their children...There is a lot more to them, I would never want to live that way...but I think it should be known that they arent as sheltered as they seem. This coming from someone who REALLY knows about it, I've lived here for 12 years. I think you should come back some time and spend more time here, and you might be able to get a few more photos for your story too!!! Especially the parking area for the amish lol.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on November 22, 2012:

Now I see why you're called Sweetie Pie! Lol. Thank you!!

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on November 16, 2012:

Very interesting hub with nice pictures.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on September 29, 2012:

Hi Oceansider - thank you so much!

I think they are a super interesting group though I would NEVER want to live that way. I do admire them for their strengths but I do think this tribe has MANY hidden weaknesses. I know they are like one big family and they have their best game face on when you drive through town but all sweetness and light? I don't think so.

We should all learn some things from them I think though. American's are so greedy and wanting the next new thing. We place so much value on stuff like that and some of that junks up life. It is so hard to find a happy medium sometimes isn't it?

oceansider on September 28, 2012:

What an interesting article!.........I really enjoyed reading and finding out so many things about the Amish.....They certainly live in a completely different way from the rest of us, and I have read a bit about them before, and was surprised that they lived without indoor plumbing and electricity...... Thank you for this well done and informative article.


Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on September 27, 2012:

Hi suzenttenaples - the Amish here are old order as well. I do agree they are so interesting - but I would never want to live that way. It seems like such hard ships. No music? No individual expression! That seems like a crime to me. It makes me sad to know that some of those people have special talents that we will never realize. I can't imagine being denied the right to express myself...but yes they are really an interesting group of people. I just wanted to bust in and ask a million questions! I knew I was already pushing the envelope though:) lol

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on September 27, 2012:

Hey VocalCoach - let me know how you like that book! I did love it - and I just finished another one called, Gone Missing. It was more of a detective, mystery that centered around a missing Amish girl. I suspect, however, much of the information is quite real. I really enjoyed it as a faced paced read that wasn't at all predictable. Since we know so little about the Amish - it was really good!

I know - can you imagine spending your honeymoon with mom and dad? Uhhhh ...creepy! But for them I suppose it's pretty normal so they don't realize nobody does that in the real world. I think it's part of the reason they keep them insulated.

The crazy thing is - these are the people that have the tools and know how to survive if our precious electrical grid goes out! I know I would love to learn a few tricks from those ladies - I mean no electric? In the kitchen? WOW! hahaha I am impressed!

Thanks for the compliment about my pix too - I had so many very interesting was hard to choose:)

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on September 27, 2012:

Interesting article and informative. I also did not know there were Amish in Missouri. We have Amish Country here in Ohio in Holmes and Wayne counties. The Old Order Amish lead very strict lives, not anything like I would want to live, but they are interesting from a cultural standpoint.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on September 27, 2012:

Kelly - I just placed an order for the book above - Crossing Over. Can't wait to check the mail for this book and begin reading it.

What a magnificent hub on the Amish! I had no idea that Amish could only marry Amish. And spending your wedding nite with your parent?

Oh, dear me :)

The Amish build the best furniture and take great pride in their work. I have a small basket that my son bought for me when he visited the Amish. It is really put together like nothing I've ever seen.

Your photos are glorious and add a good dimension to your content. I'm voting up and across and sharing. Thanks Kelly!

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on September 27, 2012:

Hi Austinhealy - I agree - these folks live like everyone did 100 years ago. I did notice electrical poles that were bordering their land - but they aren't tapped into it. The fascinating thing though (and I bet the Amish would get the last laugh) is if we lost our electrical grid - most of US would die. Those guys would be just fine - except for people that wanted to attack them and steal their food and stuff! I don't think they'd be very volatil in a war.

I do think they are super wise but still - out of touch with the real world. Idk?

Bernard J. Toulgoat from Treasure Coast, Florida on September 25, 2012:

Very well documented hub and interesting to read. I was lucky to visit Lancaster county, PA, a little while back. I have always been fascinated by the Amish way of life. In many ways, it reminds me of the way my grandparents lived in the 1950s in Brittany, the western part of France, before electricity and running water found their way into their home. In the winter, you had to break the ice in the well before filling your bucket. Very enjoyable hub, thank you :)

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on September 20, 2012:

Thank you renee 21!!

Tori Leumas on September 20, 2012:

Great hub.

Chuck Bluestein from Morristown, AZ, USA on July 04, 2012:

My point is to be open minded to other cultures. But if you want to look at cultures where women are treated the worst, in Egypt it is legal for the husband to beat his wife if he did it with good intent. Also there are cultures where a girl's clitoris is cut off at age 13. I consider these things to be criminal.

I have been doing yoga singe age 12 which may have to do with the following. I have been to the dentist many times for deep cavities and do it without novacaine. Also I believe in natural childbirth and the special breathing to help. I have a hub saying that the worst thing for health are medications (drugs).

With the Amish a lot of the bad stuff comes from the religious part. But to have a simple lifestyle with hard work sounds like the life of Abraham Lincoln. Albert Einstein's 2nd wife had the name Einstein. She was Albert Einstein's 1st cousin on mother's side and 2nd cousin on father's side.

I spent a summer on a farm. Everything was simple and different than what I was used to. No music. We only had 1 neighbor for miles. But they had a beautiful girl my age and we fell in love. And that made that place like heaven.

Also here is a story I saw on TV. This Mexican family in the U.S. had a nice income. Then their income went down and the daughter was complaining. So for the summer she was sent to live with relatives in Mexico that were poor, had no electricity or running water.

While there she learned to be happy and brought that happiness home with her. Also in the U.S. there are laws against brother and sister having sex to prevent inbreeding. Are you saying they break those laws? In some states sex between 1st cousins are legal.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on July 04, 2012:

A couple of hundred years ago people didn't get novacaine when they went to the dentist or pain killers for child birth but that doesn't mean I should! I do admire their seemingly perfect little neighborhood but it has big problems.

The divorce rate among the Amish IS indeed much much lower. The females are usually totally dependant upon the men. Also they don't believe in divorce. They do however, have this little problem of birth defects from constant inbreeding and other things.

I do not agree with confining and enforcing such strict rules and regulations on people. I think the absence of color and music should be criminal!!

Thanks for the interesting comment!!

Chuck Bluestein from Morristown, AZ, USA on July 04, 2012:

A couple of hundred years ago everyone lived similar to this since there was no electricity. They should allow people to take a vacation with them, following all of their rules. Some may prefer it over modern living. You could say that all religions are a cult and even all lifestyles. All the Amish are Christians.

For example people who use a computer (not for their job) for more than 4 hours a day are part of the computer cult. I took a bus across the country. An Amish teen girl sat next to me and we talked for a few hours. She was very nice. We talked about Amish since I was asking her about it.

Remember that cult in Guyana where all those people killed themselves. They were part of the Christian religion. They had won awards from Christian groups. But after the suicide they were disassociated with the Christian religion.

Also you are the real housewife. 50% of Americans get divorced. I bet the rate among the Amish is much, much lower. Lots of husbands use the computer for getting involved with other women. Since the Amish do not have much, they need to find a lot of their happiness and LOVE from being married and having kids. But humans have done this for millions of years. Also America has a problem with suicide so without comparing rates, it does not mean much.

If I tell you that Indians (in India) get divrced, that does not mean much. Only 1% of Indians get divorced. I have been friends with Indian families and they get a lot of enjoyment from talking to each other. They may have the parents of the couple living with them. Isn't part of the problem in America is the kids are doing all sorts of things, but they do not talk to their parents. There is even a term for this-- communication gap.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on July 02, 2012:

Thank you so much! I am fairly close to their community so it isn't unusual to see them here. Just this past weekend I took my kids to the arch and there was a group of them walking down by the Riverfront. I felt sad for them - it was like 105 degrees here and they were in full dress! Whew I could barely stand it in a tank top:)

Nira Perkins on June 30, 2012:

That was enjoyable to read and really interesting. The pictures are beautiful. I've driven through similar communities but never really had the encounters that you did. Nice work on the Hub.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 26, 2012:

Hey Brian - thank you! They are interesting - because to me it is unbelievable that a group of people can be so separated from the world. They are so insualted even the police and government don't interfere with their lives. (Sometimes they should)!

I do love the idea of it...but realistically I think the seclusion is really bad. I feel sorry for the kids because by the time they realize an 8th grade education won't get them anywhere in the real world - it just seals their fate even more!

Thanks again - I got lucky with a lot of the pictures. If I take like 400 at least one or two turn out good!

BRIAN SLATER on June 25, 2012:

Hello, I found this hub very interesting and informative.In the uk we don't have Hamish people the nearest thing to these are Jehovah's witnesses but they are nothing like them. From what you have said I would say one of the biggest problems they face will be in breeding. As communites get smaller the problem will get worse and will eventually be their downfall. I do find them fascinating and admire them in some ways, but I could never be a part of them, it is far too extreme. Well done and the pics are amazing.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 21, 2012:

Hey Ruchira! Yes I felt SO sad for them! I couldn't help it - all I could think was they are living a life of just brutal days - for what? Then in the end - they just got carried to the grave in a cheap coffin. Nobody gets to be special or have talent that is big dreams!! Oh what a sad way to use a life.

Thanks so much for the votes and shares too!

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 21, 2012:

Hi Dexter! Thank you so much - this is an interesting group for sure...I am fascinated by them! And the fact they exist in this day and age with zero electricity! I couldn't make it for an hour! It's like 95 degrees here - I'm thinking no AC? Uh uh uh no way! Lol

Ruchira from United States on June 20, 2012:

very interesting read. although I feel sad and bad for this community. Loved the description of how that amish lady glared at you and your painted

seriously, this community needs to be set free. maybe we should turn on loud music and drive by this

voted up as interesting and sharing it across

Dexter Yarbrough from United States on June 20, 2012:

I learned a lot about the Amish lifestyle from your hub. Great photos as well. Your method of storytelling made me feel as though I was right there! Thanks!

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 16, 2012:

Ha Jennifer - that is a fantastic idea! Haha! Let's go together - and we will present our case in fact and see if they will agree? Lol

I especially like the chastity belt idea!! That's priceless! Hahaha!

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on June 15, 2012:

So, the Amish require married women to wear blue dresses and a white prayer cap to remind them to be good women. Well! They should require the men to wear blue pants, coats, boots, and a wide white prayer sombrero to remind them to be good, faithful men. They should also lock them in chastity belts and require the wives to hold the keys. Now, that arrangement would certainly send the blue dresses and white caps flying to the nearest dump site.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 14, 2012:

Hi Mary615 - thank you! That's the it image compliment:). I shall link you back!

I actually bought one of their little cookbooks and wanted to add an Amish recipe but the hub was so long already! Thanks so much! I'd love to link that recipe in and how nice you did that work for me! Lol

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 13, 2012:

I came back to reread this wonderful Hub about the Amish people and their way of life. May I link to my Hub about making and selling Amish Friendship Bread? Thanks in advance. Mary615

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 13, 2012:

Sorry I am having troubling answering comments so i am going to answer a bunch in one because it took me forever to get a comment box to appear!

I love - absolutely LOVE and promote the way in which the Amish live. It is the means to keep them there that I strongly object to. I think they are a very wise group of people when it comes to survival. Are they living happily though? Since children are born into this lifestyle and their education and what they learn is controlled strictly by the elders - I see this as a form of a loss of rights.

These people are not free!

I do not chastise them for the lack of possessions - I am against their denying their people education and things like that.

I am against the physical and mental abuse that DOES happen in these compounds. They isolate their people from the world - I think it is because they fear loss of membership.

It looks like a beautiful life but I think outsiders romanticize it. Imagine YOU or your kids living such a strict and stringent life? Think about it - if anyone tried it for two weeks - I bet you would feel the depressing weight of it.

They did (Marty :) lol ) let me in! haha! They let anyone in except for in the late evening or on Sunday. The Amish in Bowling Green WANT your money. They sell just about everything. As you drive down the one lane gravel road it leads to different farm spreads and they sell what they like.

Some people think the families share the money - they don't. It is each man for himself where the dollar is concerned.

Oh and Thanks Mary - I got so many photos I was really having a hard time choosing which to post. I LOVE one I have of the girl wearing the tan dress - her hair is soooo long and beautiful. I don't know why she wasn't wearing her prayer cap - (that is supposed to remind them of their attachment to God) - but I chose not to post it because her face is showing too. They don't believe in that so I did not post any you could make their image out. I feel like I have a little piece of history though:) lol

Thanks everyone - I am so glad you enjoyed my visit to Amish Town - it was so educational for me and I could wait to share this one!!

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 13, 2012:

Hey Drbj - Thank you - yeah I see their poor lives as plain as ever. No color, no decorations, no celebrations, just work, pray, work, pray more. I think we are supposed to enjoy every moment of life that we can. I would never want my people to live such a miserable existence.

Teylina on June 12, 2012:

Having been a visitor many, many times in their areas in PA and TN, I have to say I applaud them for their courage to be who they are, whether I would live that way or not. Nope, I'm too much like the majority and enjoy all those things we take for granted, but they are no different from, say, immigrants from other countries who have moved here in recent years. They tend to be shy and very aware of their difference, so I often just nod my head or say hello, to which they usually respond with a smile. Good hub. I wouldn't want to live like that.

visitclarksville from Clarksville, Missouri, USA on June 12, 2012:

Awesome. It's great to see visitors make it all the way out to the sticks, even when they're right in your own back yard. There are some very interesting places right near you. Just out of St Louis, you can visit Herman, Defiance, Washington, New Haven, Clarksville, Louisiana, Hannibal. Every one of these small towns are a great change of pace to modern life, usually scenic to get to, and are rich in local history and lifestyle (right and wrong!).

I write a blog at:

and just created a hub here:

Here's to exploring your own backwoods areas!

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on June 12, 2012:

Thank you for a very thought provoking hub.

I don't see the lack of embellishment or decoration as being equivalent to lack of beauty. Certainly their land and gardens are beautiful. Also the Amish are known for their beautiful, if simple furniture and quilts, although I would assume those in their homes would be of a simpler design than those made for sale.

There is a lot that I find appealing about their lifestyle, living close to the land and self-sufficiency. I have spent many years living without electricity, it is not necessary for a happy and rich life.

I don't want to be too quick to judge their ways, as a lot of the information we have about them are from outsiders or disgruntled former members. Surely most of the community members are happy or at least satisfied there.

A strict society with rigid rules would not be to my taste, but some people find a lot of structure comforting.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on June 12, 2012:

Interesting and surely an enormous anachronism. I really don't envy them. But they don't envy us either. You don't know what you've missed before you find it, and you don't know what you miss before you've lost it.

I am surprised that they allowed you in there, Realhouswife - Just looking at you in your tight-fit jean and painted nails must be a big enough sin to go to hell, you know.... They could have stoned you to death!

All thumbs up for your courage and for sharing what you've learned with us.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 12, 2012:

I have always been fasinated by the Amish people, and I really enjoyed reading this Hub. Your photos are outstanding. I really loved the Amish lady in her garden. What a beautiful garden she has. This is the kind of Hub I wish would be chosen as Hub of the Day! I would not fit in their way of life, but you have to admire it, I guess. I vote this Hub UP, etc. and I'm sharing!

ThoughtSandwiches from Reno, Nevada on June 12, 2012:


Outstanding! You have struck exactly the right balance that you were seeking! I must say that I doubt I would do well myself in the Amish community. I would like my funeral to be a drunken, disorganized, and boisterous affair!

Great job!


Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on June 12, 2012:

Wow - incredible hub. I have to say when I was in fourth grade we had a couple of girls that were part of the Amish community that we went to school with. There clothes were very plain and tattered and you could tell that they were hand me downs. However, the girl was very nice and one of my best friends. It saddens me however that this lifestyle can seem so simple yet so harsh to those that really want more. There is a show on TV that talks about the Amish and what happens when they try to get away. I tell you - I don't think I would have ever fit into this type of community! :)

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on June 11, 2012:

Jennifer Essary,

You said, "I think if and when the world experiences a catastrophe that disables modern conveniences the Amish will be a part of the few who survive."

They would be among the survivors, but they would be far from "the few who survive." The SDA Pathfinders and Scouts of America, and many other organizations teach outdoor or wilderness survival skills. I was born and raised in the Southern woods and learned to survive off the land from necessity. Mom and Dad taught their children how to go into the woods during any season and come back with food. I could go to my yard now, look among the grass, and pick enough edible plants to make a hearty salad for a large family. Some writers have written hubs on edible plants around us, minus the garden plants.

There were wide-leaf plants growing in my garden plot in early spring, among a few others. I tried digging them up by root to get rid of them. I soon learned that they were called "plantain" and very delicious in salads. Of course, we must be very careful about chosing edible plants around us. It is advisable to take samples of them to your natural wildlife center and have them positively identified before consuming.

I also have wild strawberries, clovers (red and white), maypops (a vine fruit), and many other edibles growing all around me in my neck of the woods. There are also edible tree barks and wild berries and nuts growing everywhere. It truly amazes me. In case of a disaster or anything that sends us back to nature, we should not starve, even if we have to beg the squirrels (another source)to share their winter's store! The military experienced of all branches should be good sources for survival knowledge. Backwoods and most country dwellers know outdoor survival skills, such as, trapping animals, fish, etc. Those who know would share the knowledge. Many of us would survive! :D

drbj and sherry from south Florida on June 11, 2012:

The Amish way of life may be fine for the Amish, Kelly, but a life without beauty, decoration or laughter to me is no life at all. Those who are happiest within the Amish community are probably those who know little if anything about the outside world.

Thanks for a very realistic look at this Missouri community amd your photos. Well done, m'dear, and voted Up.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 11, 2012:

Amy - you know, thank you. I keep feeling like I am hating them - but I do not at all - want anyone to think I promote their way of living. I think the ideology is wonderful - and it is supposed to look to us like they are living the life Jesus would have wanted you to live but it's a big facade. I am sorry to knock them - but I feel they are mad. Maddness runs that group and most of them don't know better because they have been brainwashed since they day they were born. They are told we (you and me!) are EVIL and going to hell. They make up lies and let other's suffer this life for them in my humble opinion.

I feel so sorry for these people...I know they have been misled and uneducated to keep them down. It really does have a beautiful appearance but really everyone should think about how harsh and cruel this is.

They have terrible problems now with birth defects, dwarfism and things like that due to inbreeding. How much more cultish can it get - REALLY now!!! One EX-Amish said that they don't USUALLY allow 1st counsins to marry but 2nd cousins marry all the time. I won't lay any judgment on that but it is only for lack of other human bodies they are forced to do this. I think that says it all!

Amy Becherer from St. Louis, MO on June 11, 2012:

Dear Real, I think it's admirable that you temper your fact based observations of Amish life with the good you recognize in self-sufficiency. We are all entitled to make choices based on our preferences with no need of validation or apology. From what I understand about the Amish, they are far less tolerant of the American way of life, than any comment regarding Amish life expressed here. I understand from your article that the disapproving, pinched face of the woman who minded the store, still took your cash, lipgloss and all. Don't feel bad for comparing the truthful story about livestyles. After all, it is the Amish that isolate themselves from what they consider abhorrent in ours.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 11, 2012:

Hey Daffy - yeah they like nature and they did NOT have many flowers anywhere now that you mention it! Only vegetables and corn. Hmmm. Guess they can't eat them and they do NOT believe in decorating anything. Even light colored furniture is deemed "sinful". Their dresses - NO PATTERNS - only solid mostly dark colors!

Now I got a photo of one girl tending her garden - she had a light beige dress - and NO prayer hat at all (which is supposed to signify their belief in God???) her hair must have been two feet long....I even got her face in the pic but I won't post it. I fear for her if anyone found out!

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 11, 2012:

Hey Mo! Thanks so much!

I was totally wondering what they thought of me, omg! I'm going to HE'LL! Lol.

I CAN tell you - the boys LOVED me! Omg....They were all sweet and smiling! Omg! They coulda got into trouble for that alone probably. I spoke to a few gents - the one bailing hay;) lol. VERY sweet - I know what was on HIS mind;) hahaha

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 11, 2012:

Hey Kevin - oh they all know about each other and where they are. If an Amish man - say jokers a kid - they just send him off to another Amish community until he messes up there - they tell the victim to pray harder and the victimizer too. Recently an Amish girl did the UNthinkable - she actually turned an Amish man into the cops! Now the storied are starting to seep out of their beautiful - high moral community!

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 11, 2012:

Hey Susan good question!normally in the old order - the married women wear blue and a white prayer hat. (it reminds her always to be a good woman! Without it - well she might go crazy and bat her eyelashes at a man folk or something)!!! Hahaha lol. Oh sorry but wow - these people never laugh or have fun - it's sad.

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 11, 2012:

Hey Levertis - I can identify with the feelings you relate. I too think we have just TOO much junk in this world. Too many things - possessions. And I worry about what this world will be like when my kids grow up. Yet I wouldn't stick them in a life where they had zero education - or 8th grade! My that's not much at all. I want my kids to learn as much as possible. I think the Amish have a good idea with a very bad way of instituting it. They shouldn't keep those people virtual prisoners. I have a feeling they are afraid everyone would just leave!

They may allow outsiders to become Amish but it isn't easy. They have to move near them and live and work with them for possibly years before they are accepted. It can happen but rarely does!

Kelly Umphenour (author) from St. Louis, MO on June 11, 2012:

Hey Amy!

Oh man yeah - those people have a whole boat load of issues we have never even contemplated. They do go to doctors and such but only after home treatment doesn't work. They don't have medical insurance so I'm sure many just go without. It's crazy.

I do think they have a grand idea - but it just doesn't work with the REAL world. I think they don't want to educate their people because they don't want them to get too smart do they? They might leaner that they won't go to he'll for wearing a but of lip gloss! Lol. Terrible. Really sad. It's likes group of scared children.

I find that to be a most interesting problem too - yes they keep them cut off from the ENTIRE world - it's a farce. They can't leave because they don't know how to live without someone telling them each step to take. Crazy!

Thanks Amy - and oh - lol -'my youngest daughter wouldn't touch a thing they made! Lol. She says they hate us and want to kill the rest of the world! Omg! She sonly 10 but they creeped her out!!

Yvonne Spence from UK on June 10, 2012:

This is very interesting and well presented. I know you’ve done a lot of research on this and it shows. I hadn’t realised the Amish don’t allow musical instruments. What an austere life.

A great hub.

Dianna Mendez on June 09, 2012:

I lived in the midwest most of my life among the Amish people. They were so much a part of every day life. They had a wonderful restaurant and store where you could eat homemade meals and buy some of their wares. Great write up and so very interesting to read. Voted way up!

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on June 09, 2012:

Excellent information on the Amish life style. I have to tell you that just reading this made me feel very sad, lonely and depressed. It has to be hard to live this way. I have to take some deep breaths now. Great work RealHousewife.

Daffy Duck from Cornelius, Oregon on June 09, 2012:

Seeing as how they don't like color they must have a problem with nature. There are colorful flowers, foods, and animals. They must think that rainbows are from the devil. If they don't then isn't that a contradiction in their beliefs.

Voted mindnumbing and tedioius...............the people not the hub.

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on June 09, 2012:

RealHousewife, Amazing and informative hub Kelly. Lots of wonderful pictures and description of your experience. I felt like I was right there with you. I've always heard wonderful things about their cooking and woodwork. I can't help but wonder what the woman in the store was really thinking.

Thank you for sharing your experience.

KevinMillican from Fort Smith, AR on June 09, 2012:

Interesting hub. Makes me wonder if people like me that never get out unless necessary, would ever ever know that there might be an Amish community near them.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on June 09, 2012:

This was a very interesting hub. I have to ask though you said that you knew the woman was married because of her cornflower blue dress. How did you clue into this? Do they seem happy at all?

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on June 09, 2012:

About 20 years ago, I read a few Books about Amish life. If I am remembering correctly, the author was Carrie Bender. At the time I was undergoing a lot of stress and felt the need to get away to a quiet, simple place free of daily busy-ness. I clung to the books because I was attracted to the simple, uneventful life of the Amish.

Since the Amish do not permit outsiders in their lives, not even on a friendly basis, what do they have to offer the world? They are caught up in the "Little House on the Prairie" lifestyle. Why did they choose that time period to imitate, I wonder? If they move back in history, they could get even simpler. I wonder why they didn't. I am surprised that they allow a Dairy Queen.

I must say that their almost-no divorce rate is attractive considering the world's. They do not appear to be all bad, but some things about them make me wonder.

When I think about what I have read about Amish life and what I have read in this hub, I get a peaceful, sad feeling. I suppose I see things about them that is a little too extremee and I see things that I understand. I suppose the children in regular society could do without a lot of tv offerings and many other things that are ruining them. I suppose all people entertain the good and the bad.

Amy Becherer from St. Louis, MO on June 09, 2012:

RealHousewife, Thank you for sharing your trip into the dark zone. I saw a program on PBS awhile back about children that choose to leave their Amish roots. Like you relay, they are forever shunned at that point. I would think that children raised in this kind of austere lifestyle would have a most difficult time integrating into American life.

Although the simpler life (relatively speaking) might seem tempting, especially during periods of high stress in American living, how do they cope with toothaches, appendicitis or strep throat, all easily managed with proper care, but missing in their community? And without indoor plumbing or sewage systems, how do they avoid e-coli? Frankly, I am surprised that the children live to be 14. I would also be afraid of their canned and baked goods! What about polio, measles or congenital problems, such as heart defects and problems that are detected and corrected in utero today? I couldn't help but laugh several times, such as your short stint as the town hussy, and your feeling of relief at leaving. Your take on their lack of joy in life reflected in their treatment of the dead with a matter-of-fact burial, was sad and funny at the same time.

As always, RealHousewife, which also struck me funny as in Amish land, you'd be excommunicated for your calling card, your article is outsta