The Amish of Webster County
The Amish here in Webster County, Missouri, are resisting the progress of the
21st century. They are “Old Order Amish,” which means plain ways—buggies with no
tops, no enclosed cabs, no rubber tires and plain black paint. Most of the Amish
here are of Swiss-German descent. They settled in Webster County in 1968,
acquiring many old rundown farms and restoring them to successful, diversified
farming operations. Friendly people, they are interesting and make good friends
While a young man’s ambition is to own his own farm and raise his large
family without having to leave the farm to work, prices for necessities have
forced him to seek work away from home, usually as a carpenter. From father to
son, the skills of all phases of the construction trade are handed down.
The Amish women, not unlike their husbands, hand down their skills to their
daughters. They are highly skilled in maintaining a comfortable well-ordered
home. They grow huge gardens and preserve what they grow. They sew all clothing
for their large families, do all the laundry without the convenience of
electricity, quilt beautifully, help with the outside chores and do all of the
things a housewife is required to do in any household. They are busy from before
sunup to after sundown.
The Amish are very frugal people and are highly respected for their honesty.
A few things they do not allow themselves to possess are television sets,
radios, automobiles or any motor-driven vehicles, telephones, electricity,
indoor plumbing (except for pitcher pumps at the kitchen sink), insurance,
government pensions or Social Security income.
However, it is not all work and no play for the Amish. They enjoy “frolics”
(where they all get together and build a house or barn for a neighbor or
relative), quilting bees and singing (they sing without the accompaniment of
musical instruments and they yodel just like they do in the Swiss Alps). They
travel a lot from community to community and out of state for weddings and
visits to family and friends. They hire drivers with vans or buses to carry
them, and there is always a van full of eager travelers. Weddings are
large—often with as many as 400 people in attendance, traveling from other Amish
communities in other sates. This is a time of fellowship and is certainly an
exciting time for the whole community.
Church is observed every other Sunday, being held in individual homes. Lunch
is served to as many as 200 people by the host family. Young people play
softball, basketball and other active games, and the young men are strong
The Webster County Amish once sent their children to public schools through
the eighth grade. However, with the public schools adding computers and modern
technology, they felt they must establish their own schools. They didn’t want
their children contaminated by outside influences.