10 September 2014

Getting in touch with my "Plain" roots

Hochstetler Reunion at Old Samuel Hochstetler's Farm c. 1850, in 1913
 Earlier this year our preservation organization began discussing what we might do to participate in the state's upcoming bicentennial.  We landed on a concept that would include highlighting the history of one group, and their architecture, that hadn't previously been recorded in the nearly 200 years of our county.  That group is the Amish, who first began to settle here in 1850.  So, someone from the genealogical society set up a meeting with this group's local historian and sent me a message with the place and time.
Samuel Hochstetler barn, 1850
And then I realized that it was the farm of my ancestor, Samuel Hochstetler, that we would be visiting.  This man's son now live in the house with his family.  During our visit the man unrolled a photo I hadn't seen before, of the farmstead and extended Hochstetler family, from 1913.  A grandson, who also had an appreciation for their history, gave me a tour of the house and barn.  What a surreal feeling stepping into the house and barn built by my great, great, great grandfather over 150 years ago.
Jonas Yoder barn detail, 1852
Jonas Yoder farmhouse, c. 1880
We made a return trip to visit with the Amish historian.  This time we wanted to stop and document what remains of the "first families" farms of the Amish community.  There were four farms of the first four Amish families to settle in our county northeast of Bremen.  These are the Samuel Hochstetler, Jonas Yoder, John Borkholder, and Valentine Yoder family farms, along with their Amish school and cemetery.  Samuel's family was the first to arrive in 1850, though a scouting party of the church had come to Indiana in 1841.

At the grave of my great, great, great grandfather-Samuel Hochstetler
The historian also pointed out Samuel's grave-which I had not previously been able to locate because the inscription is long gone.  Of the four original farms, three of the c. 1855 barns remain and two of the original homes; both Samuel's house and barn survive, but the house has been added to.  A third house was the second built by Jonas Yoder, after a fire in about 1880.  That's a pretty good testament to preservation by the Amish community.

1 comment:

Donell Housel said...

Kurt, I have the photograph that you posted at the top of the blog. I would really like someone to help identify some of the people in the photo. I know that my grandpa and his borhter are in there as well as others we would have known.