Because I enjoy exploring Amish history and rooting my stories in situations the Amish wrestled with in the ways they interact with the outside world, I find myself drawn to tidbits that are “firsts” in Amish history.
Here are the first ten entries into a list I suspect will be ongoing.
1. 1564: First publication of the Ausbund, the collection of German hymns from just after the Reformation that the Amish still use.
2. 1727: First Amish-like names appear on lists aboard ships headed for the New World.
3. 1737: First New World congregation formed in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
4. 1808: First Amish settlement in Ohio (Holmes County).
5. 1839: First Amish settlement in Indiana (Marshall County). Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana are still home to a large majority of the Amish population.
6. 1844: First use of the word Amish to describe the devout who followed Jakob Ammann when he broke off from the Mennonites in 1693.
7. 1879: First settlement in a west coast state in Clackamas County, Oregon.
8. 1880: First edition of The Budget, a newspaper still in print to share news between Amish districts.
9. 1925: First private Amish school opens in Dover, Delaware.
10. 1927: First time Amish families begin spending winters in Florida.
It’s been almost 90 years since the last entry on this list. Perhaps I’ll hunt down another list of “firsts” for the most recent century of Amish history. There must be plenty of material!
Do you know any firsts in Amish history? Let us know what you know.
Olivia Newport is the author of the Valley of Choice series of Amish stories and the ongoing collection of Amish Turns of Time, which includes Wonderful Lonesome, Meek and Mild, and Brightest and Best. Hope in the Land releases April 2016 and the novella Loves Pure Light in the fall.