Lawrence County Tourism 

    Tennessee

The History of the Lawrence County 'Old Order Amish'


 A visit to Lawrence County would not be complete without a trip to the 'Old Order Amish' community just a few miles north of Lawrenceburg. The Amish came to Lawrence County in January of 1944 from Mississippi.  The first three families to come here were Dan Yader, Joe Yoder, and Joseph Gingerich.  They were looking for another place to settle when they heard that the First National Bank in Lawrenceburg had some land to sell.


The Amish faith


The Amish believe the greatest wisdom is to despise materialism and love God. Any form of worldliness is sinful such as dress, education, office holding to pursue honors or high dignity. To provide adequate sustenance for the family is necessary but luxuries and lustful appetites are harmful to the soul.  Three great values are cherished by the Amish: (1) a devout religion (2) a love of the land (3) close knit family and community. They do not believe in taking oaths or bearing arms, but follow the peaceful examples of Christ in all things. They have been persecuted for these beliefs and are willing to be persecuted again.


A hard working people with old traditions


The Amish derive their livelihood from growing crops such as corn, pepper, wheat, oats, hay, tobacco, peanuts and popcorn. They also sell fresh vegetables, milk, sorghum molasses, baskets, quilts, rugs, hats, and furniture.  They cane chairs as well as slaughter hogs and cows.  They have their own sawmills and buggy and wagon makers in their community. There are five Amish schools in this district. Children learn English when they start school. They go to school until the 8th grade or until 14 years of age, whichever comes first. The children study reading, writing, arithmetic, spelling and speak three languages: English, Pennsylvania Dutch and some German.


The women wear black, dark blue, green or brown dresses with black aprons for everyday and white for Sunday. Teenage girls wear black caps until they marry.  Men wear no collars, barn door britches, handmade felt hats for winter and straw for summer. Buttons are used on men's shirts, trousers and underwear, but only hook and eyes on coats and vests.


There are about 300 families in the Lawrence County area with an average of 5-7 members per household and they are excellent neighbors.  They prefer to associate with their own people and ask only to be left alone to worship and live their beliefs. All of their farming is done with horses and without the aid of tractors or modern equipment.  No electricity is used.  They have been living this way for over 300 years.


Based upon a publication written by Faye Henson for the Chamber of Commerce


A Glimpse through the Camera


Before you visit Lawrence County, a great way to see the Amish is through the work of local prize-winning photographer Barry Jackson. The Amish seldom permit photographs and Barry's work is simply extraordinary. Barry offers us a rare and extraordinary glimpse into Amish life with his beautiful series on Amish children.  Visit our Photo Gallery for more pictures of the Amish and Ethridge.


Tours of Amish Country


A guided tour of Amish farms is highly recommended. Horse-drawn Wagon Tours are provided at the Amish Welcome Center on Highway 43 in Ethridge.


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