Madison and Union County Old Order Amish Settlement (Ohio, USA)

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The 1954 Old Order Amish settlement of three districts in Madison and Union County, Ohio, and 267 baptized members near Plain City dates back to 1896. Amish Mennonites who lived in Champaign County traveled through Madison County en route to their former home in Holmes County. They told of the opportunity, the fertile black land, and of the attractiveness of the Darby Plains in Madison County. The Amish among the hills of Holmes County became interested, and the three men who first investigated the possibilities for settlement in 1885 in Madison were Mose Slabaugh, J. J. Miller, and Benjamin Frey. The first permanent Amish settlers, J. J. Miller, Moses M. Kaufman, Eli J. Miller, Dan J. Miller, Moses Slabauch, David Farmwald, and Albert Spesinger, moved there in the spring of 1896. The first ordained men came in 1897; they were Benjamin Frey, a deacon of Holmes County, and Benjamin Troyer, a preacher from Kansas. Other settlers in 1897 were Moses Hostetler, Pete J. Kramer, John Hostetler of Holmes County; Jonas Gingerich from Geauga Co., Ohio; David Kauffman and John Troyer from Kansas.

Ministers from Holmes County came to preach for the group about every four weeks, until the ordained members, Frey and Troyer, took regular charge in 1897. In 1898 Eli P. Beachy was ordained minister, and in 1899 Jacob Farmwald. In 1900 Bishop C. S. Beachy with Preacher Christ Swartzendruber of Virginia moved to Madison County. In 1904 Preacher Moses Troyer from Geauga County moved to Madison County.

By 1904 the settlement had grown considerably, and with the influx of ministers it was thought best to divide the settlement into two church districts, North and South. In 1906 Moses Miller was ordained bishop in charge of the South district, while C. S. Beachy had charge of the North. In 1925 the North district was divided again, this time forming the East and West districts. Bishop C. S. Beachy had charge of both the East and West districts until 1930, when Jacob Farmwald was ordained bishop for the East district. Succeeding bishops (through 1954) in charge of the three districts (242 members) were John Plank and Noah L. Troyer.

Beginning in 1916 a few of the Amish here transferred their membership to the Oak Grove Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church) at West Liberty, Ohio. During the early 1920s a considerable number of Amish did this. At the request of the group Bishop S. E. Allgyer of West Liberty in 1924 came to Plain City for the first preaching service, which was held in the home of John B. Yoder. With the increasing, demand for services at Plain City a Sunday school was organized on 11 July 1926 in an old abandoned church building at Resaca until the Sharon Mennonite (MC) congregation was organized in 1933, when Abram Kaufman was ordained minister. Sharon had 179 members in 1954.

During the years of gradual transition from the Amish to the Mennonite, the Amish worked out an agreement with S. E. Allgyer concerning the transfer of memberships. Amish persons who were expelled from the church were received by the Mennonite church upon confession of faith. The Amish agreed to lift the ban (Meidung) upon Amish expelled members after they were received into the Mennonite church.

On 8 October 1939, under the leadership of Bishop M. M. Beachy of Salisbury, Pennsylvania, the Canaan Amish Mennonite congregation was organized (Beachy Amish). Emery Yutzy and Robert M. Kauffman were ordained to serve tilat congregation, which had a membership of 52 in 1954.

On 10 September 1944, the United Bethel Conservative Amish Mennonite Church was organized by Elmer Swartzendruber, who had ordained Andrew Farmwald to the ministry. The 1954 membership was 140.

Thus the total Madison-Union County community of Amish background in 1954 had 613 members in six congregations of four distinct groups.


Beachy, John E. "History of the Sharon Mennonite Church." Christian Monitor (November 1948): 342.

Author(s) John A Hostetler
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hostetler, John A. "Madison and Union County Old Order Amish Settlement (Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 1 Mar 2024.,_USA)&oldid=149141.

APA style

Hostetler, John A. (1959). Madison and Union County Old Order Amish Settlement (Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 March 2024, from,_USA)&oldid=149141.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 435; vol. 4, p. 1146. All rights reserved.

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