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8/11/2000

Yesterday I ate at a

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:07 am

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Yesterday I ate at a Mennonite resteraunt in Wren, Georgia. The Li’l Dutch House, it was named. It had your basic country cooking — fried chicken, beef stew, fish, several veggies, desserts. Apparently, Wrens has a sizable community of Mennonites, with their own neighboorhood and school. It got me to thinking that I don’t really know much about them, other than they look mighty similar to the Amish. Unlike the Amish, they don’t seem to shun modern convieniences like cars and electricity. This made me assume that the Mennonites were an Amish splinter group. But I was wrong — the Amish are the splitters. They split from the Anabaptists (what the Mennonites used to be called) back in 1693, but both groups came to live side by side in Pennsylvania, making up the bulk of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” (Actually, they were mostly Swiss, but they spoke German. In German, German is called “Deutche”, and the English settlers mistook that word for “Dutch”.). I grew up in Northern Indiana, and on the way to my grandparents farm we’d pass by several small communities of Amish. My grandma called them “Dunkards”, and I never knew why. Turns out that they aren’t Amish after all, but another splinter group fully known as The German Baptist Brethren, and they came to Pennsylvania in 1713. These groups share a great deal of history, and their differences are mainly in how they show their beliefs to the outside world. As this personal letter shows, the branches are tied together by family bloodlines.

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