The Founding of Yoder

(Frank) OK, I think we’ve settled down some anyway. You’ve been traveling around. (Deb) We went to Yoder. (Frank) Yoda? (Deb) Yoder. We went to Yoder. (Frank) Yoder. (Deb) To the big buggy sale in Yoder, so they had a big auction all day long. Buggies, everything you can imagine, wagons, teams of horses, all kinds of things, butter churns. They’ve got this odd mix of antiques and horse harnesses and stuff. Of course you have the folks in the community that use these every day and some of them are the Amish and Mennonites and some of them are just ranchers and folks who are big horse people that like wagons and buggies. So were were down there, but I have to tell you what impressed me most at this auction. We were there all day long, most beautiful children I have ever seen and you’ve got these, and I took a couple of photographs, I asked them if it as OK and I took photographs of these kids. They were just the most well-behaved children I have ever seen in my life. We were there all day long. It was chilly. It was windy. They were all bundled up, but they were happy. They would run up and give somebody a hug, but they were with their parents or they were playing. You never heard one child whine. You never heard one child cry about it’s cold or let’s get in out of the air. Then they had, say, there were a couple of ponies for sale and so this little girl comes out with her Dad and she’s got her pony and she’s helping with it and everything and the kids are helping. We’re talking hours. All day long. The same kids were there all day long. It was amazing. (Frank) Hmmm. (Deb) So whatever is in the water in Yoder our kids all need some of it. (Frank) Get your nanny from Yoder. (Deb) Get your nanny from Yoder. Maybe Yoda was down there. I don’t know. Some kind of guru. That’s right. Let’s take a look at this wonderful community. Yoder was founded by Eli M. Yoder, the son of an Amish bishop from Maryland. In the late 1800s Yoder came to the newly-minted state of Kansas to homestead in Reno County, settling in a location about a dozen miles southwest of the city of Hutchinson.Yoder is technically the largest Amish settlement in Kansas, with 3 church districts, giving it an Amish population of roughly 400. Amish at Yoder are among the most progressive when it comes to technology, allowing bulk milk tanks, rototillers, and tractors for fieldwork, see Living Without Electricity, Stephen Scott and Kenneth Pellman. Due to the high heat in this region of the country some fieldwork may even be done in the evening. In 1886 the Missouri Pacific Rail Road constructed a track from Hutchinson to Wichita, which resulted in about 5 acres being split off from the rest of Yoder’s farm. Yoder used the separated area to construct a post office and general store, which became the nucleus of the village. During the 1880s, Amish migrants from Shelby County, Illinois began to arrive and settle in the region, with the new village of Yoder becoming the center of the community. Although Yoder is the center of this community, and still maintains a post office, most Amish homes in this settlement are actually listed as Haven addresses. Yoder celebrates Heritage Day the 4th Saturday in August, marking its history with a variety of events, including a buggy race in which Amish take part.

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