Berne Old Order Amish Settlement (Adams County, Indiana, USA)

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1955 Article

The Adams County (Indiana) Amish settlement was established in 1850, when Henry Egly and family moved there from Butler County, Ohio. Other early settlers included these men with their families: John Hirshe, Philip Hirshe, Dan Kauffman, Joseph Kauffman, Minister Joseph Schwartz from Stark County, Ohio, and Deacon John Schwartz from the same place. In 1866 there was a division within the church, and Bishop Henry Egly left the congregation to form the Defenseless Mennonites (later called Evangelical Mennonites), after which Joseph Schwartz was ordained bishop of the Old Order Amish congregation. By the 1950s there were three Amish districts in the community, the East, the West and the North, with a membership of approximately eighty-five in each district, and respective bishops Samuel Hilty, Peter Girod, and Joseph L. Schwartz. The Reformed Amish Christians were a small group that separated from the main body of Amish in this county, but dissolved in 1952. -- Noah Zook

1990 Update

The Berne, Indiana Old Order Amish Settlement is located in Adams County in east central Indiana, 30 mi. (50 km.) south of Ft. Wayne. Henry Egly and family moved into this area from Ohio in 1850. Egly later left the group to establish other Amish-Mennonite communities in Illinois and Indiana. The Berne Amish community is made up primarily of descendants of settlers who came to Indiana directly from Switzerland and Alsace in the 19th century Amish and Mennonite (Swiss Brethren) immigration wave. The Swiss-German language, which provides a degree of separation from other Amish settlements in northern Indiana, is maintained. In 1986 the 16 congregations, with more than 2,000 people, constituted a tightly knit community, with strict church discipline in dress and transportation. Uniquely, Berne Amish are allowed only open buggies with backless seats. The community, more than most other Amish communities, has experienced open conflicts with the outside world on such issues as medical care, schools, and building regulations. The Adams County Amish thrive in the shadows of the much larger Mennonite Church in Berne, generally listed as the largest Mennonite congregation in the United States. While family names and ethnic backgrounds are similar, there is only minimal interaction between the two groups. Amishville, a tourist attraction, owned and operated by "outsiders " and located five miles southeast of Berne, has been an annoyance to many Amish families by its invasion of an otherwise peaceful, rural community. -- Samuel L. Yoder

2017 Update

In 2017 there were an estimated 58 church districts in the settlement with an estimated population of 8,595.


“Twelve Largest Amish Settlements, 2017.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. June 2017. Web. 31 August 2017.

Author(s) Noah Zook
Samuel L. Yoder
Date Published August 2017

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zook, Noah and Samuel L. Yoder. "Berne Old Order Amish Settlement (Adams County, Indiana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2017. Web. 10 Jun 2023.,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=154158.

APA style

Zook, Noah and Samuel L. Yoder. (August 2017). Berne Old Order Amish Settlement (Adams County, Indiana, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 10 June 2023, from,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=154158.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 11; vol. 5, p. 71. All rights reserved.

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