Belleville Old Order Amish Settlement (Belleville, Pennsylvania, USA)
The Belleville, Pennsylvania, Old Order Amish Settlement is located in Mifflin County, in the picturesque Kishacoquillas Valley between the Jacks and Stone Mountain ranges of central Pennsylvania. Belleville lies in the central portion of the Big Valley and serves as one of the main shopping towns for the Amish community. Amish settlers moved into this area in the early 1790s from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The Mifflin County settlement figured largely in the western movement of the Amish. Mifflin, along with Somerset County (Meyersdale), provided many settlers in the new communities in Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa.
The mobility of Mifflin County Amish can he attributed in part to strong personalities with settled convictions among its bishops and ministers. In 1986 there were at least 12 Amish-related groups springing from tensions and differences on such matters as the use of meetinghouses, mode of baptism, dress codes, buggy tops, and Meidung (shunning, avoidance). Many older Amish communities have become extinct by moving on to Amish-Mennonite affiliations (conservative Mennonites) or moving to another one of Pennsylvania's 40 Amish settlements. In 1986 the Belleville settlement had 12 church districts (congregations) with a total Amish population of about 2,000. Sociologists identify the Belleville community, with its many different Amish and Mennonite groups, as the largest single community of diverse expressions of Anabaptist culture found anywhere in North America.
In 2011 it was estimated that there were 26 church districts within the Mifflin County area settlement with an estimated population of 3,120.
"The Twelve Largest Amish Settlements (2011)." Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. Web. 24 July 2011. http://www2.etown.edu/amishstudies/Largest_Settlements_2011.asp.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 65-66. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Yoder, Samuel L. "Belleville Old Order Amish Settlement (Belleville, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2011. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B4464.html.
APA style: Yoder, Samuel L. (July 2011). Belleville Old Order Amish Settlement (Belleville, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B4464.html.