Amish Families Resettle In Edwards

By: 
Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Those of us living in Benton County appreciate the beauty of our lake, the forests and wide-open plains, and it is a popular place for hunting, boating and fishing. Many also like it for its quiet, peaceful spaces where one can live with some privacy such is the case with newly arrived Amish families who are settling in Edwards.
Three Amish families from Pennsylvania are currently building houses on 725 acres of land they purchased bordering Hwy 7 South and Hwy M. Three more families will join the community in May, and it is possible that a few more may come later. Some friends and relatives from Pennsylvania and Wisconsin traveled to Edwards temporarily to help with some of the start-up construction, but returned to their northern states earlier in March. Local “English” neighbors have also pitched in to provide transportation for building supplies, to rent temporary homes to the Amish along Hwy M, or just to say “Welcome.”
Although horse and buggy traffic is common in rural areas of Windsor, LaPlata, Canton, Missouri and other areas outside of our county, it is a first for Edwards. It is important to be aware of the changing traffic dynamic, and to drive with more caution when sharing the road with 10 mph buggies. The new Amish families have open carts with bench seats in front, as well as covered buggies. They are pulled by one horse, and the buggies/carts are illuminated at night by battery-operated lights.
Several “Share the Road” signs have been placed on Hwy 7 South and Hwy M to inform motorists of this new type of traveling vehicle.  There are many hills which prohibit a view of the traffic on the downhill side, and this danger is magnified at night.  During the past few years, buggy accidents in Missouri have been reported online in places like Licking, LaPlata, Canton, Duggins, and Kirksville causing Amish injuries and fatalities, plus the death of a horse. Most of these accidents were caused by cars hitting the back of buggies.
A spokesman for the current group of Edwards Amish said that some of the men will be fishing at Truman Lake, and will make a short crossing over Hwy 65 in order to travel there. He expects the community to keep cattle, and grow produce. The young husband and father said that he also does carpentry work and shoes horses.
“Traffic was getting heavy in our old home in Pennsylvania, and we like it here where it is less populated,” said the spokesman. “It is also a little warmer.”
According to www.amishamerica.com, the Missouri Amish population is North America’s 7th largest. It has seen rapid growth in recent years, due to migration from other states.
Wikipedia reports that there are Old Order Amish who are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss Anabaptist origins. They are closely related to, but distinct from, Mennonite churches. They are known for simple living, plain dress, and  reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. Many of the different Amish groups speak Pennsylvania German, also known as “Pennyslvania Dutch.” Most of the Amish have six to seven children, and the Amish population in the U.S. has increased by 149% in the period between 1992 and 2017. 
Some of the different Amish groups that have split from the Old Order Amish in the past include Amish Mennonites, Egly Amish, Stuckey Amish (Mennonites) of Illinois, Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference (they dropped the word “Amish” in 1957), Beachy Amish (a car driving group with a few restrictions on technologies), and the New Order Amish (a plain dress, horse and buggy group, formed in 1966, that is more liberal concerning technologies than Old Order Amish.)
 

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