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Dunkards

 
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 383
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:34 pm    Post subject: Dunkards Reply with quote

In the past few years, there has been a significant influx of Amish families into our area of upstate New York. Because of the increasing cost of farmland, they have been moving from their traditional base in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana into other states. The price of old farms in upstate NY is comparatively inexpensive.

The local group is part of the Old Order Amish, a conservative branch of the sect; no automobiles or tractors, no electricity, phones, running water, or indoor toilets in the home. One sees more and more horse-drawn buggies along the roadways. (Every few weeks, new warning signs appear on the highways to be alert for them.) The people are very conspicuous in the community because of their plain, dark clothes, wide brimmed hats and beards on the men and bonnets on the women. I understand that there are some minor differences between different Amish districts. What is permitted and what is not allowed is determined by the bishop (Volle Diener).

It is interesting to watch how quickly they raise a new barn when they purchase a farm. They frequent the local auctions, looking primarily for old furniture and hand tools. Last month, I visited one of the farms to buy some blueberry bushes. They had bought a local fruit farm and were clearing out many of the fruit bushes. While they are fluent in English, they speak German among themselves. I could catch the general drift of their conversations but they speak a distinct Swiss German dialect, rather than Pennsylvania Dutch or the low German I am familiar with.

Other Mennonite groups continue to flourish in various places. Interestingly, there is a large Mennonite contingent in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. I became familiar with that area several years ago when collaborating with Raytheon on an FAA air traffic control radar being assembled there. The German heritage is still quite evident in that twin-cities area. Kitchener was originally named Berlin until World War I when the citizens voted to change it to the present name. They claim to have the largest Octoberfest in North America, second only to Munich, Germany. While visiting the area, Dot and I had dinner at the Concordia Club, a German social club that is the center of the festivities. (You can read more about the place by doing web search on the words Concordia and Kitchener.)

But the point of this posting is the Dunkards, a Mennonite-like group that lived near Concordia. (While part of the Anabaptist movement, they were not directly connected with the Mennonites.) I believe that they all lived in the Dunksburg area southeast of Concordia. (Not having lived in Concordia for over 50 years, I assume that they are no longer present in the area.) According to their unofficial website (http://dunkardbrethrenchurch.com/) there are still 25 congregations in the U.S., one in Grandview, MO.

I can remember them visiting Concordia occasionally. They wore conservative clothing and beards, but were somewhat more progressive in that they drove cars. (Obviously, they are more modern if they now have their own website.) My last recollection of them was in the early 1950s when one came to buy the big old red coffee grinder that Dad had purchased at the Bergmann Store sale. He wanted it to grind wheat for bread. It must have had a fine enough setting to do that.

If any of you have memories of the group, it would be interesting to hear about them.
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 383
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:23 pm    Post subject: Still residing in the area Reply with quote

My apologies to the Dunkard Brethren. I was informed that there still are a number of families south of Concordia and that they still have their own school in that area.

Roger
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