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The speaker is a 73-year-old White man with a college education from LaGrange, Indiana. He was recorded in 1969.



County: LaGrange
State: IN

Commentary:
Founded by French settlers, LaGrange is located in northeastern Indiana, with a current population of around 3,000. Named appropriately by its founders, the area is a dairy and agricultural center, with many farms now located on what was previously swampland. LaGrange County is home to one of the largest concentrations of Amish in the United States. In this segment the speaker talks about the roots of the Amish faith, referencing the man some refer to as the founder of the faith, Menno Simons, who lived from 1496 to 1561.
Inf: Priest. I think it is Menno Simon [sic], Menno Simon [sic] was the first, Menno Simon [sic] was, uh, contemporary with even Martin Luther. And he withdrew from the church something the way Luther did, but, of course, where Protestant organizations flourished, the Mennonite group has always remained a very minor group. And the reason they???ve remained a minor group is because of their idea of noncombatancy. They have three ideas: non-infant baptism, noncombatancy, and non-taking votes, which made ???em very unpopular with governments, and, uh, they???ve suffered persecution through the years. Under different governments and different regimes. That was a long time, it???s so funny why they waited so long ???til well up into the eighteenth century, before they came over to Pennsylvania. With intent to come where there would be freedom of religion. And, of course, from there the group has spread out, over the United States. Now the Amish faith is an offshoot of the Mennonite faith, they wanted to be more conservative again. They???re awfully extremely conservative, in which they use no cars, use no automobiles, use no electric lights and, dress very plainly and have very strong, strict to the rules of which kind of dress they must use. And they have persisted here for, four hundred years, you might say. But, there are places in Europe where they have disappeared as an Amish faith, just been absorbed into the population, I understand.

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