What’s with those yellow buggies?

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Lately I’ve introduced a lot of you to the Amish of Kish Valley (also known as Big Valley). The Valley is home to the second largest settlement in Pennsylvania and twelve distinct Amish and Mennonite groups. It’s also the setting for my new mystery series that begins in early 2018.

The most obvious distinction between the Amish groups is the use of different colored buggies.

Now most people are familiar with the gray-topped buggies of Lancaster County and the black-topped buggies of places like Holmes County, Ohio, and Jamesport, Missouri. But a trip through Big Valley is colorful in so many ways.

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Before I get into that, let’s talk about the black-toppers.

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The black-topped buggies belong to the Renno or Peachey Amish. I love this name since almost all the mailboxes we stopped to read in the Valley bore the name Peachey.  The Renno Amish are considered to be the least conservative of the Amish groups in the Valley, which isn’t saying a lot. After all, they are more conservative than our Amish friends in Lancaster County.

While we were in the Valley, Stacey and I stopped at a quilt shop that belonged to a Renno Amish woman. Of course the quilts were amazingly beautiful, but I couldn’t help taking note of a few things in the house. The windows were covered with a plain green shade. (You know the kind they use in cartoons that once you pull it down it winds back up with hilarious results.) The floors were wooden and bare. There was running water in the house, but all in all it made me think of my grandmother’s–just a small, country farmhouse filled with love.

The white-topped buggies belong to the Nebraska Amish.

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This is something of a misnomer since most of the Nebraska Amish live in Pennsylvania. The Nebraska Amish are hands-down the most conservative of the three main groups in the Big Valley. They also dress a bit differently. We only saw a couple of Nebraska Amish so I wasn’t able to test my research, but I am told that the Nebraska Amish men wear brown trousers and no suspenders. Their pants reportedly lace up the back and they wear their hair to their shoulders. Nebraska Amish women aren’t allowed to wear bonnets and supposedly wear a tie-on flat straw hat for working outside. On my next trip to the Valley, I am definitely going to be looking closer!

The yellow-topped buggies are certainly eye-catching.

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They belong to the Byler Amish. They are the middle of the road when it comes to being conservative in the Valley. The men wear one diagonal suspender and it is said that the women wear brown bonnets. I can testify that the men indeed wear only one suspender, but I wasn’t able to catch a glimpse at a Byler Amish woman wearing a bonnet. Stacey and I stopped in a bait/hunting shop run by a Byler Amish man who also sold honey. We talked to him a while mostly about hunting and bait, but he was very friendly and seemed to enjoy chatting with us.

Now, these aren’t all the differences in the three sub-groups of Amish in Big Valley. But it’s a start! What’s the most surprising difference that you’ve read in this post?

Leave a comment below and be entered into the Week  #4 drawing for two copies of The Amish Christmas Sleigh! (In order to be eligible for this giveaway you must leave a comment on this blog. Giveaway ends Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 12am EST.)

Thanks for reading!

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124 thoughts on “What’s with those yellow buggies?

  1. I love reading about the different Amish settlements and love your pictures. We have Amish friends in a very small settlement that are Old Amish. On one visit we discussed authors of Amish books. It is always relaxing to sit and visit. We can learn alot from them.Thanks for the chance to win a great sounding book!

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  2. I never realized that there were so many difference in the buggies and what they wear. Thank you for the information and the wonderful give away! Purple

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  3. I love reading about the different Amish settlements. We have Amish friends that live in a very small settlement. It is so relaxing to sit and visit with them. One evening we discussed the authors who write the Amish fiction books. Thanks for the chance to win.

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    1. Judy, I;m sure you are right. And thanks for clearing that up. I have seen pictures of Nebraska Amish that wear the straw hats (though I’ve never seen them in person.) When we were there, we didn’t see any of the women wearing straw hats. My guess is, in general, Nebraska Amish wear women wear those hats, but perhaps some settlements don’t. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!!! I adore the valley! Can’t wait to go back!

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  4. I find it every interesting that there are also various groups within the Amish faith. I suppose it can be compared to other churches where there is one main title but each group has a service that is a little different from the other. It is amazing how each identifies themselves with what they wear and what they drive. It reminds me of the habits worn by different religious orders, such as monks and nuns. It comes down to who the founder of their order is and how they perceive what is correct and practical for the people within their order. When all is said and done, we are all under one Founder and we all pray to the same God.

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  5. All Amish do not necessarily believe in the same doctrine. It depends on each individual Bishop or Pastor, and what he wants to focus on. They all have a few similarities, and a few differences. Mennonites are a bit that way, too. Some do colorful clothing, some dark, so each community is just a bit different.

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