Oscoda County Old Order Amish Settlement (Oscoda County, Michigan, USA)
Oscoda County is located in the northeast portion of Michigan's lower peninsula, not far from Lake Huron. Formerly a logging area, the Old Order Amish and Amish Mennonites who began settling there in 1900 were among the first farmers. The land was cheap, selling for $2 - $5 per acre, since it was unimproved.
The first Old Order Amish families to arrive in 1900 were Samuel Weaver, his son-in-law Christian D. Miller, and Jeremiah D. Troyer from Geauga County, Ohio. By 1905 it was said that 55 Old Order Amish families lived in Oscoda County. In the early years some of the best producing crops included hay and vegetables.
Two ministers arrived in the settlement in 1901 -- Emanuel J. Schlabach from Geauga County, Ohio and David D. Schlabach from Minnesota. David Schlabach was ordained as the first bishop in 1903. The Amish Mennonites, pastored by Eli A. Bontrager, built a meetinghouse in 1904 and joined the Indiana-Michigan Conference, and became known as the Fairview Mennonite Church. At that time the Old Order Amish has a membership of 73, and the Amish Mennonites had a membership of 53.
Over time the Fairview congregation attracted many members from the Old Order Amish settlement. The Oscoda Amish settlement shrank to one district before 1915. In the 1930s some of the Old Order Amish farmers purchased tractors, first with steel wheels, but later with rubber tires.
By the 1940s only 40 members were left in the Old Order congregation. In December 1945 the settlement's two ministers, Ben M. Slaubaugh and Samuel A. Weaver, moved to McMinnville, Oregon. This left Bishop Levi S. Troyer alone. He died in 1954, and since one member of the settlement still owned a tractor, no Old Order bishop would assist in ordaining new leadership. The bishop of the Woodlawn Amish Mennonite Church near Goshen, Indiana provided communion until 1968. The owner of the tractor moved away, and Old Order Amish Bishop Enos Troyer near Middlebury, Indiana then provided oversight for the congregation that had dwindled to seven widowed and single women.
In December 1970 some Old Order Amish families from Geauga County, Ohio settled in Oscoda County in the area of the earlier settlement. This new Old Order settlement absorbed the remaining women under its own Ordnung. By 1982 the congregation had grown enough to divide into two districts.
Old Order Amish historian, David Luthy, regarded the latter settlement as "new," and not a continuation of the original Oscoda Old Order Amish community.
Luthy, David. The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed, 1840-1960. Aylmer, ON: Pathway Publishers, 1986: 184-191.
Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article
By Levi S. Troyer. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 89. All rights reserved.
The Oscoda County, Michigan, Old Order Amish Settlement dates back to 1900, when four families, Sam Weaver, Jerry Troyer, John Weaver, and Christ D. Miller, moved into the neighborhood of Mio in Oscoda County from Geauga County, Ohio. A congregation was formed in 1901 with the following as ministers: Emanuel Schlabach, David Nissley, Jacob Gascho, Yost Yoder, and David D. Schlabach (ordained as bishop in 1903). The following have served in the ministry since the beginning: Jacob Gascho (ord. 1908) and Levi S. Troyer (1939), bishops; Daniel Miller, Sam Weaver, and Ben Schlabach, preachers. About 60 families both from eastern and western states moved to Oscoda County. By the 1950s the Amish began moving away. The membership in 1956 was 20.
|Date Published||July 2017|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Sam. "Oscoda County Old Order Amish Settlement (Oscoda County, Michigan, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2017. Web. 17 Aug 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Oscoda_County_Old_Order_Amish_Settlement_(Oscoda_County,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=149169.
Steiner, Sam. (July 2017). Oscoda County Old Order Amish Settlement (Oscoda County, Michigan, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 August 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Oscoda_County_Old_Order_Amish_Settlement_(Oscoda_County,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=149169.
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