Amish in Oregon?

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 Miller, Amish Minister

John A. Miller – Amish Minister

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.

OneAmish Settlements, California, Oregon, 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:

Religion in Family History

Amish in California?

The Light in the Forest

Stephen Jenks – Singing Master

This entry was posted in Family History, Genealogy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Amish in Oregon?

  1. Boomdeeadda says:

    You’ve really been about to find a lot of information about your families history, Oregons pretty close to Alberta. I wonder if they ever found their way up north here? They sure seemed to be gypsy’s. Those would have been pretty far and difficult moves back then I guess.

  2. I love learning new things about the religious history in America. When I was in college, I took a course on that. We didn’t cover the Amish, and having some Mennonite connections, I was a little disappointed. Anyway, I didn’t know that the Amish were in McMinnville. I have a lot of connections to this city, among others in Yamhill County. I wonder if my ancestors had any contact with them? (These ancestors were not the Mennonite ones.)

    • You mentioned Illinois. I think that is interesting too, as many Mormons that live on the West coast of the US came from there too. Do you know if the Amish and Mormons had any dealings or if they traveled together?

      • vanbraman says:

        I would have to do more research, but I know that the Mormons were in Western Illinois. The Amish that were in Illinois at that time were in the center part of the state. I have been watching for your Mennonite names.

  3. Glenda McDougal says:

    I have been intrigued by the Amish for years and have read several books about them. My first cousin married a Mennonite and moved to Delaware to live in their community. They have 5 children. They visited us about 6 years ago. Thanks for the history and I love the picture!!!

  4. Pingback: Amish Origins | Braman's Wanderings

  5. Pingback: Gallup Poll Connection I – Amish | Braman's Wanderings

  6. Pingback: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John | Braman's Wanderings

  7. Pingback: Pilgrim Ancestry | Braman's Wanderings

  8. Pingback: First Amish Settlements | Braman's Wanderings

  9. Pingback: Seek, and You will Find | Braman's Wanderings

  10. Pingback: Irish Heritage | Braman's Wanderings

  11. Pingback: Amish in Oklahoma | Braman's Wanderings

  12. Pingback: Amish in California? | Braman's Wanderings

  13. Naomi Fretz says:

    Jonas was also my many great’s grandpa. My great grandma is Amanda Kauffman Roth. She was 4 years old when her family moved from Arthur to Hubbard.

  14. Pingback: The Harper Mansion | Braman's Wanderings

  15. Pingback: The Deerfield Raid | Braman's Wanderings

  16. Pingback: The Post Pipeline II | Braman's Wanderings

  17. Pingback: The Frytown Church | Braman's Wanderings

  18. Pingback: Day after Thanksgiving | Braman's Wanderings

  19. Pingback: The Prospering | Braman's Wanderings

  20. Pingback: 100K Views for Braman’s Wanderings | Braman's Wanderings

  21. Pingback: The American Soul | Braman's Wanderings

  22. Pingback: Amish States | Braman's Wanderings

  23. Pingback: Seek, and You will Find II | Braman's Wanderings

  24. Pingback: Amish Genealogy Resources | Braman's Wanderings

  25. Pingback: 3rd Great Grandparents | Braman's Wanderings

  26. Rhonda says:

    Quick comment… Amish never had ministers. Their leaders are known as bishops. To be a minister would have been prideful. I did learn a while back that some Amish leaders were trying to return to Oregon.

    • vanbraman says:

      Rhonda, Amish history and genealogy books have many mentions of Amish ministers. I am not sure what your source is, but my knowledge comes from both written sources and personal visits to family that are still Amish.

  27. Pingback: Amish House Move | Braman's Wanderings

  28. Pingback: 2016 Most Popular | Braman's Wanderings

  29. Bruce Miller says:

    my grandfather Eli Miller was born in 1899 in the amish settelment in Oregon his parents and grandparents setteled there in 1895 they eventually moved to Delaware where there is still an amish community

  30. Pingback: Amish in New Orleans? | Braman's Wanderings

  31. Pingback: Some Amish Posts | Braman's Wanderings

  32. Pami Perry says:

    I think it’s sad not to see Amish people in OR state it’s a pretty place to live.

  33. David B. says:

    Amish people is back in Oregon?? My friend told me to see Amish community live in Lake County Oregon. Four Amish men view clear blue waters of Crater Lake in Oregon earlier this summer. I former lived in Ohio. I had been Amish country in Ohio in many times. I loved to eat Amish foods. Wow

  34. Nyle Kauffman says:

    Steven. I haven’t got you all figured out yet but I’ve read a few of your posts and find our history intersects. Jonas J Kauffman you mention above is my second great-grandfather. I live in Iowa City Iowa which is near Kalona in between these two towns is where Jonas Kauffman lived from about 1852 to 1865 when he moved to Arthur Illinois and as you mentioned in 1879 or 1880 he moved to Oregon where he is buried. I recently found the book entitled The Amish on the Iowa prairie 1840 to 1910 by Steven D Reschly. This book has some details about the life of Jonas Kauffman here in Iowa and his brother Moses. There was serious difficulties in the Amish Church for a three-year period and they didn’t have communion during that time. The Kauffman’s were in the middle of it because of having too much land and selling some of their land to non-amish. Apparently Jonas got fed up with it all and moved to the Arthur Illinois community to start over a new. The same year he moved there he was made Amish preacher there and became Amish Bishop in 1873. When he moved to Oregon he was the only Amish Bishop in their community.
    the FryTown Church you talk about is in our community also so that was of interest to me.

    • vanbraman says:

      Nyle, my second great grandmother Delila Kauffman is the daughter of Jonas J. She married John A. Miller. Their daughter Mattie married Jacob J. Yoder. They were married in 1907 in Kalona. My grandfather Richard Yoder preached at Frytown. Does this help you figure me out šŸ™‚

  35. Pingback: Amish States and Provinces | Braman's Wanderings

  36. Marcia says:

    I believe there are some Mennonite families living East of Hermiston, Oregon in Umatilla county.

  37. My partner grew up in the McMinnville area and in 1967 his Baptist church youth group had an exchange with the existing local Amish community. We came to this website searching in whether this community still exists. The Amish congratulation was large enough to represent approximately 10 families.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.