Religion in Family History
Did you know that at one time there were Amish settlements in Oregon?
In the late 1870’s a few Amish families moved to the Willamette Valley in Oregon and settled near the towns of Needy and Hubbard. Needy is in Clackamas County and Hubbard is close by in Marion County. I resisted the urge to title my post ‘Needy Amish’.
The settlement started to slowly grow, and in 1880 my third great-grandfather Jonas J. Kauffman moved to the settlement. Jonas had been ordained a bishop in Arthur, Illinois so he brought much needed religious leadership to the new settlement. Several other family members soon joined him in Needy, including his daughter Delila and her husband John A. Miller in 1890.
John A. Miller was an Amish Minister and also helped with the leadership of the settlement. John left Oregon in 1894 to move back to Illinois to help start a new settlement in Vandalia. The settlement in Needy was starting to dissolve with some of the members soon moving to a new settlement at McMinnville, Oregon and others moving back East.
The settlement slowly dwindled until it officially came to an end when Jonas J. Kauffman died in 1907. His wife Rachel remained Amish and lived in Hubbard until her death in 1922. She lived with a daughter who was Amish-Mennonite.
The settlement in McMinnville, which is in Yamhill County, started in about 1896. The new settlement had difficulties from the start as there was disunity among the members. Several leaders moved away in the early 1900’s and they had trouble attracting or retaining replacements for them. The settlement was dealt a large blow in 1913 when half of the families in the settlement moved to California. See my earlier post Amish in California? for more details.
Only seven families were left in McMinnville at that time. There was a resurgence in the settlement in 1919 – 1922, but it again dwindled. By 1930 there were no Amish left in Oregon. However, another attempt was made at a settlement in 1936 and it lasted at least into the 1950’s.
Today, there are no Amish settlements in Oregon. However, there is a possibility that in the future we may see Amish again in Oregon. The Young Center for Anabaptist & Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College reported that settlements were established in Idaho and Wyoming this year, bringing the number of states with Amish settlements to 30.
One of the sources consulted for this post is The Amish in America: Settlements That Failed, 1840 – 1960 by David Luthy. I bought this book years ago when visiting Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and it has been a valuable resource in tracing the migration patterns of some of my Amish ancestors. John A. Miller will appear again in a future post as he helped start several other Amish settlements.
This post is part of a series on Religion in Family History. See also: