Quaint Wedding In Amish Church

The September 23, 1920 issue of the Meyersdale Republican contained an article about an Amish wedding in the Casselman River Valley.  For the Amish, “A wedding is an elaborate affair, for the whole community has a stake in the marriage.  It means a new home … and another family committed to rearing children in the Amish way of life.” [1]  This article paints a vivid picture of the typical structure and form of a large Amish wedding – in particular the customary wedding dinner.  The author – Leo J. Beachy – was a well known photographer, author and historian who had family roots in the Amish community of the Casselman River Valley.

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QUAINT WEDDING IN AMISH CHURCH

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Followed by Big Wedding Feast at Farm Home of Bride’s Parents

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By L. J. Beachy.

A very interesting wedding took place on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m., at the Niverton Amish Church, when Sadie Hershberger and Elmer Schrock were united in marriage.  Pastor Samuel Bender of Oklahoma, a preacher of the “Old Order Amish” officiated.  The bride and groom are members of this church and church weddings are encouraged and taught in their church doctrine, as well, that the contracting parties should be both of the same faith.

Miss Verna Hershberger, sister of the bride, was maid of honor, and Elmer Yoder of Sorfolk [sic], Va., was best man.  Miss Cora Burkholder and Noah Schrock, both of Oakland, Md., were bridesmaid and second man.  The bride and bridesmaids, wore plum color blue suits, with white caps and white aprons, resembling the garb of the Puritan maids of 1620.

These people do not tolerate musical instruments in their churches nor homes, therefore there was no wedding march played as the bridal party passed into the church house, the maid of honor and best man leading, the bride and groom next and the bridesmaid and second man last.

There is no display of flowers at these weddings, altho a profusion of the finest colored pot plants and flowers are cultivated about their homes.

There is usually a rather lengthy wedding sermon preached in German, bearing on the Christian’s conduct of married life, and the result is that you never hear of an Amishman applying for a divorce.

After the ceremony the party repaired to the home of the bride’s parents where a most bounteous chicken dinner and a fatted calf were served to about 130 invited guests.

The bride is the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Noah Hershberger of near Grantsville, Md., the head of one of the most thrifty, industrious, up-to-date farmer families in the district.  In this home you are impressed from all sides by scrupulous cleanliness and tidiness, with everything in its place, any day you happen by.  The home is equipped with many modern conveniences.

The bride’s mother is the youngest daughter of the venerable and well known “Uncle Sol” Yoder, and her father is the eldest son of the venerable and widely traveled and highly respected Emanuel Hershberger.

The large long table set for the feast was in the shape of the letter L along one side, and the end of a spacious room, the bridal party occupying the seat about the apex of the letter so as to overlook most of the guests at the table.  There was room at the table for forty at one sitting, and there were three sittings.

At the end of the large room outside of the posts of the large swinging door, which was swung to the ceiling for the occasion, was a smaller room with a table set expressly for the children.  This swinging door was formerly used (and was made for the purpose) at the time when church services were held in the dwelling houses instead of church houses.

I never saw at one time as great an amount of good things to eat.  The food which was not consumed at the wedding feast, (and there was a load of it) was taken to the Amish Mennonite Children’s Home near Grantsville.

Following are the names of most of the people at the wedding: Olive Tice, Harvey Swartzentruber, Mary Hershberger, Roy Lichty, Mr. and Mrs. Simon Maust, Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Maust, Anna Schrock, Effie Hershberger, Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Yoder, Alta, Elva, Verda, Thelma, Floyd, Alvin, Claude, and Olen Yoder, Mrs. Joel J. Miller, Vera Hershberger, Elmer Yoder, Noah Schrock, Cora Burkholder, Mrs. Jonas Schrock, Mrs. Benjamin Schrock, Mr. and Mrs. Jonas R. Beachy, Leo J. Beachy, Kate Beachy, Mrs. M. E. Hershberger, Anna, Iva, Freda, Ada, Mabel, Alvin, Ruth, Ray and Edna Hershberger, M.E. Hershberger, Mrs. Lewis Yoder, Mrs. N.E. Hershberger, Lydia, Sadie, Verna, Fannie, Elmer and Irvin Hershberger, N.E. Hershberger, Mrs. S. D. Yoder, Sadie Schrock, Mrs. R. M. Beachy, Mrs. Barbara Beale, Ralph Stevanus, Jacob Petersheim, Claude Yoder, Mrs. Sally Hochstetler, Mrs. Monroe Yoder, Sadie Bender, Mrs. John Hershberger, Mr. and Mrs. Noah Maust, Savilla, Mintie, Hanna, Verna, Edna, Harvey, and Asa Maust, Mr. and Mrs. Simon Beachy, Noah Beachy, Mary Hershberger, Kate Hershberger, Lydia Schrock, Susie Petersheim, Sarah Hochstetler, Lova Hostetler, Elizabeth Slaubaugh, Jonas Schrock, Mr. and Mrs. Noah Yoder, Sarah and Tillie Yoder, Mr. and Mrs. Milton Bender, Mrs. Eli Yoder, Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Tice, Effie Tice, Carletta Maust, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Hershberger, Effie, Anna and Barbara Hershberger, Mr. and Mrs. Moses Beachy, John Hershberger, Samuel Bender, Ray, Olen, Floyd and Lizzie Yoder, Ben Schrock, Jonas Schrock, L. S. Yoder, S. D. Yoder, Mr. and Mrs. Moses Yoder. [2]

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Niverton Amish Church Meeting House (Photo Courtesy James L. Yoder)

Below are Find a Grave links for the principal persons mentioned in the story.  Click on thumbnails to view a copy of their obituary. Five of the obituaries are from the Herold der Wahrheit – transcribed by James L. Yoder and are available on The Casselman Historians website.  The Sadie (Hershberger) Schrock obituary is from the Cumberland Evening Times (December 17, 1973).

Herold der Wahrheit Obituaries 1912 – 1940 & 1941 – 1975

Groom:  Elmer D. Schrock (1899-1960)

Bride: Sadie (Hershberger) Schrock (1901-1973)

Father of Bride:  Noah E. Hershberger (1865-1945)

Mother of Bride: Savilla S. (Yoder) Hershberger (1877-1954)

Paternal Grandfather of Bride: Emanuel D. Hershberger (1842-1926)

Maternal Grandfather of Bride: Solomon D. Yoder (1845-1926)

END NOTES

[1] Hostetler, John A., Amish Society, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1992, p. 192.

[2] The Republic (Meyersdale, Pennsylvania) 23 Sep 1920, Thu  • Page 8

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