Thursday, June 30, 2011

Holmes County Ohio, P Graham Dunn

Rural Homestead, Holmes County, Ohio

Holmes County Ohio is home to the largest Amish community in the world with 85% of the county being Amish or Mennonite.  Holmes County is also Ohio's largest year around tourist destination.  The Millersburg, Ohio, award-winning Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, conveniently located in the heart of Amish Country, serves as a perfect base for shopping and exploration.

Sol's Exchange, Berlin, Ohio
During the month of July, 2011, over 20,000 P. Graham Dunn laser engraved products will be offered at 20% -50% off at the Sol's Inspirational Showroom, located in Sol's Kit-N-Kaboodle lower level, 4914 W. Main Street in Berlin, Ohio.  Summer hours are Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.; however, on July 4, 2011 they will be open only until 5 p.m.  Among items offered are Thomas Kinkade, Manuel Weaver's Wall Tapestries, and Melissa & Doug Wooden Toys.

Amish School House, Ohio
 Summer is a time when the Amish sponsor auctions to benefit their one or two-room schools. Such events offer visitors the opportunity to not only support the school, but to witness the power of this close-knit community; to observe, first hand, their dedication and committment to accomplish a common goal.  Such efforts also serve as a means of socialization, as work serves as recreation and fellowship.  Amish school auctions are always advertised locally and we usually learn of them about a month in advance.  Be watching The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast calendar for school auction postings.

The 14th Annual Auction to benefit the  Doughty Run School will be held at Wise School on Saturday, July 9, 2011.  Breakfast of sausage sandwich, biscuits & gravy, donuts, fry pies, orange juice, and coffee begins at 7 a.m.  Lunch items offered are BBQ chicken, ribs, ham & cheese, noodles, dressing, potato salad, homemade pies, ice cream, fry pies, & donuts.  The auction starts at 8:30 a.m., with furniture at 9:30 a.m., outside auction rows at 9:45 a.m., and quilts at 12 p.m.  Bake sale, door prize drawings, flea market, homemade ice cream, and more may be enjoyed by all.  Items may be previewed on Friday evening from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Wise school is located on 557 between Berlin and Charm, Ohio.

Rolling Ridge Ranch
Plan to visit Rolling Ridge Ranch, an animal park   featuring more than 500 animals and birds.  Stop by the Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast and receive a discount coupon for $2.00 off per person, with a group of six people or more, while supplies last.  The coupon is for the horse-drawn wagon tour, an exceptional experience.

The Farm at Walnut Creek showcases a local farm with traditional farm animals as well as exotic animals such as giraffes, zebras, bison, antelope, and more.  Visitors may tour with their own vehicle or enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride throughout the park.

White Washed Barn
 The Amish Home at Yoders continues to be an all-time favorite recommendation.  Featuring two authentic and original Amish homes, one reflective of the older generation, an 1800's "Daughty" or grampa house, and a 1900's Amish home.  See a barn that is whitewashed inside as has been done for generations.  The homestead also offers a replica Amish school house.  Buggy rides are offered on the farm.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thunder Over Holmes County, Fireworks

Independence Day Festivities begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 1 with "Thunder Idol", an American Idol-style competition that allows contestants to compete for bragging rights and Cash Prizes.  This event takes place on the Millersburg Courthouse Lawn.   Persons wishing to compete must register and pay a $20 registration fee. 

Fireworks - Thunder Over Holmes County and an old-fashioned family day begins in downtown Historic Millersburg, Ohio.  A variety of interesting and engaging events will take place throughout the day's activities.  The Wright Patterson Air Force Band of Flight Prism Brass ensemble will perform at 8:30 p.m. on the courthouse lawn.

Downtown Millersburg, Ohio
 It all begins on Saturday, July 2, 2011

12 Noon - Food Vendors Open, DJ/Music, Children's Bounce Houses Open, Civil War Interactive Booth, Speed Pitch, Silent Auction, Raffle, Community Canvas
1:00 Fort Fizzle Presentation at Courthouse, Courthouse Tour
1:30 - Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
2:00 -   Obstacle Course, Walhonding Rube Band, Kid Games, Face Painting, Caricature Artist
3:30 - Jello-Flinging Contest
4:00 - Thumbs McGee, Balloon Artist, Strolling Magician
5:00 - Pie Eating Contest
7:00 - Tim Angeloni "Magician"
8:00 - Wright Paterson Air Force Band of Flight
9:45 - Thunder Over Holmes County Fireworks!

Consider a stay at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, located only 3 miles from downtown Millersburg.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 25, 2011

Amish Tours, Ohio Amish Country, Ohio Map

Typical Amish Homestead in Holmes County Ohio
Willkommen to Ohio Amish County!  Some of the most meaningful experiences and exchanges with Amish people are realized through meals hosted in Amish homes or by taking one of many Amish tours offered by the long-established tour company, Amish Heartland Tours, with tour operators well versed in the Amish culture.  This highly recognized tour company, operating since 1993, also specializes in Wine and Cheese Tours and Progressive Meal Tours, which is an "All day sampling of foods", an Amish home-to-home experience to forever be remembered.  

Amish Heartland Tour Bus
  "As wonderful as our local restaurants are, none compares with the taste, atmosphere, and total experience offered at an Amish home meal", emphasizes Loretta Coblentz, owner of the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast.  Amish cooks require a reservation of at least eight people to prepare a meal.  An exceptional cultural experience can be had simply by calling Amish Heartland Tours or call the Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast for a package experience of a stay and a meal in an Amish home or an added tour.  Advance notice for meals helps meet the minimum for the experience to sell, so please call at least a week or two in advance.

Stop by The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast to purchase the "Everywhere in Amish Country" map, a map that includes every county and township road.   

Guests of the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast recently enjoyed the Campfire Chit-Chats and Cast Iron Stew evening, a 3-hour experience with a delightful Amish family. The evening begins with a wonderful stew cooked over an open fire, cornbread, cobbler, homemade rootbeer, frozen fruit slush, and roasted marshmallows.  The finale includes a buggy or wagon ride to the school house and a few songs played on the harmonica by a granddaughter.  You will witness the easy pace and relaxing atmosphere of the slower-paced Amish life and the cohesiveness of this three-generation family.  Call the Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast at 330-674-7600 to check for room availabilty or check on line.  The fine staff at The Barn Inn will be happy to assist in your travel plans to Holmes County.

Remember to check out the Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast's Calendar of Events on our home page.  We post upcoming and current happenings.  Throughout the summer there are many Amish school auctions, village events, and more.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 25, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

John S. Yoder Home, Amish Ohio

John S. Miller Home in Sugarcreek
The Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast suggests another historic Amish homestead to place on your list of places to visit while in Amish Country.  Open only on Friday and Saturday from 12-5 p.m., May through October, the John S. Yoder House is recognized as the oldest home in Sugarcreek.  John S. Yoder, born 6-24-1826, married Freney, daughter of Isaac and Barbara (Miller) Hochstetler, and in 1857 purchased 17 1/2 acres of land from his parents, Stephen and Veronica (Freney) Yoder.  On May 6, 1857 Stephen and Veronica conveyed 138.5 acres of their property to another son, Valentine.  Most Yoders with roots in this area are descendants from these early settlers.

Downtown Sugarcreek, Ohio
In 1883 John S. Yoder plotted nine acres of his land into 31 lots and named the new village East Shanesville, which in 1888 was renamed Sugarcreek.  Today all of the land once owned by John is within the corporation limits of Sugarcreek, a village dubbed "Little Switzerland of Ohio".

John S. Yoder initials
After many transfers in ownership, the John S. Yoder property was sold to the Ohio Swiss Festival Association in 1974.  Later the Amish Heritage Foundation purchased the house and had it moved to the present location to a field on the east side of Sugarcreek behind the Sugarlane IGA.  The home's foundation stones were moved and placed in position.  Clearly chiseled in one of the stones are the initials J.S.Y. 1869.  This stone originally faced the inside of the basement, but with the move, has been turned to face outside.

Other area museums include:

Behalt, the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin which offers an exceptional tour through a 265' mural depicting the European history of the Amish and Mennonites.

Alpine Hills Historical Museum, 106 W. Main St., Sugarcreek 44681

German Culture Museum, Walnut Creek
German Culture Museum, Walnut Creek, Ohio, preserving the German/Amish culture of the area.  Presently open for the season, Friday and Saturday, 12-4 p.m.

Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center, Kidron, Ohio, June - August open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., April - May, September - December Thursday and Saturday 11 a.m.  3 p.m.

Helping Hands Quilt Shop & Museum, Berlin, Ohio

Millersburg Glass Museum, Millersburg, Ohio; Hours vary with seasons an days.

Victorian House Museum, Millersburg, Ohio; varied days and hours.

Warther Museum, Dover, Ohio  An outstanding display of artistry and workmanship.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 21, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Draft Riots, Holmes County Ohio

Holmes County Historical Society
In commemorating the 2011 Civil War Sesquicentennial, Ohio is remembering significant events relating to the war between the states.  The Holmes County draft riots, or The Holmes County Rebellion, as it is called, made national news in 1863.  On June 17, 1863 a battle took place in Glenmont, Ohio between Copperheads and Union troops who were ordered out by President Lincoln.  Much of the information shared in this post are from a manuscript of J. R. Vance, found in the Holmes County Public Library Reference section; the article titled "Holmes County Rebellion - Fort Fizzle".

On July 2, 2011, David Weiss, considered to be one of Holmes County's leading experts on Fort Fizzle, will lead an hour-long history program which will begin at 1 p.m. in the Holmes County Common Pleas Courtroom.  This will be followed by a free courthouse tour lead by former judge Thomas D. White.  The Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast invites you to reserve a room and "Step back in time" as you learn about Fort Fizzle.  Bring your lawn chairs for a spectacular fireworks display at 9 p.m.

1800's Wagon
On May 1, 1863 Clement L. Vallandigham, the nation's leading copperhead, in an infamous speach in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, denounced Lincoln's administration and garnered support for the southern cause.  Mr. Vallandigham appealed to the peasant or mechanic class of Swiss-French or Swiss-German immigrants who had settled southwestern Holmes County.  When the enrolling officer, Elias W. Robinson rode into Napoleon (now Glenmont), he was assaulted by Peter Stuber while enrolling men under the Conscription Act.  Apparently Peter threw a stone which struck Mr. Robinson, and according to his account, he apologized; however, the situation worsened.  Garnering community support, the copperheads used a stone house as Fort Vallandigham, formed a defense against the Union, obtained four small howitzers, practiced military drills, dug an underground trench and stockpiled two houses with food supplies for the Union army.  This activity prompted President Lincoln to order out troops.  Union troops with horses and wagons, arrived from Mansfield on June 17 and marched to Fort Vallandigham where after a few shots, the copperheads scattered and the skirmish ended, thus the fiasco has been called "Fort Fizzle".
In his recollections of 1863, Mr. Vance recounts his memories, discussions that he heard from his parents, and the story of Isaac Tipton, deputy-provost marshall, when he and Provost Marshall Colonel James L. Drake were disarmed and ordered out of town.  He refers to many eye witnesses who gave testimony to the events.  In 1863 people and editors strongly disagreed on administration policies, slavery, and states rights, and possibly to this date descendents may not agree on the events surrounding the incident.  

Vance writes, "My sources of information are authentic.  Some people have argued that there wasn't any Holmes County Rebellion; that there wasn't any organization of the "Knights of the Golden Circle."  But facts are stubborn things and cannot be set aside."  He refers to Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio copyrighted in 1888 where in Henry Howe said that "the air was full of rumors and it was nearly impossible even at that time to obtain correct details".  Referring to those who had taken part in the rebellion, they tried to banish into oblivian all the tragic events; saying that "They were ashamed to be called "Knights".  Most of the people of Holmes County were loyal to the Union.  According to the population, Holmes County sent more men to the war than any other county in the state.

I find Mr. Vance's recollections quite interesting, almost unbelievable, but convincing.  He explains what he understands as the origin of the "Knights of the Golden Circle" and what they sought to accomplish, making reference to Lossing's History of the United States.  Click here to learn what Benson Lossing wrote about this secret organization.

We hope you will visit Historic Downtown Millersburg on Saturday, July 2, 2011 and enjoy an old-fashioned family 4th of July!

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 18, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mennonites, Kidron Ohio, anabaptist

Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center
The Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center in Kidron, Ohio is another "Must Go To" in Ohio's Amish Country.

In 1819, Mennonites, Peter Lehman, David Kirchhofer, Isaac Sommer, and Ulrich Lehman, homesteaded the lush Kidron, Ohio area, a region they called Sonnenberg Valley because the beauty and lay of the land reminded them of Sonnenberg Switzerland, their country of origin.

Genealogy Fan Chart

The Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center, a nationally acclaimed museum on the square of Kidron, features early furniture, tools, textiles, folk art, frakturs (pronounced frock-tur), and artifacts that once belonged to these anabaptist settlers as well as other artifacts reminiscent of the time period.  Showcased at the museum is the most extensive collection of freehand frakturs in the state of Ohio, a sure delight for anyone with an interest in early Pennsylvania Dutch art designs.  Additionally, the heritage center has an extensive computerized genealogy database available for persons researching Swiss family ancestry and offers excellent tools for charting, such as the fan chart shown above.

Partial View of 1830's Pioneer House
An impressive feature showcased in the museum is the 1830's pioneer house which was moved to the museum location from it's original Emerson Road address.  It is not known who actually built the house, but, for certain, it was once the home of Jacob and Kathrina (Steiner) Amstutz. According to an earlier account written by Paul Neuenschwander, it was Jacob who built the new house on the farm.  In the next generation, Leah, one of Jacob Amstutz's six daughters, bought the home farm.  She and her husband, Rudolph Studer, lived on the farm their entire lives.  In the 30's the farm was owned by Lester Geiser, then in 1981 it was purchased by William Goebler, followed by owner Oris Steiner. The house later was donated to the Kidron Historial Society by Paul and Anne Locher of Wooster.

Chests, Kidron-Sonnenberg Museum
Sure to be of interest to Amish Country visitors is the development of a historic preserve, Sonnenberg Village, a pioneer village that will preserve the architetural heritage and cultural history of Kidron Ohio's early settlers.  Structures already on site are the Tschantz Log Cabin, the Lehman Spring House, and the Lehman House.  Ground work has been completed for the placement of a series of historic structures that will comprise the village.

If fundraising permits, Kidron Community Historical Society hopes to move four buildings onto the village site this year. The projected cost for moving and restoring the Sonnenberg Church is $100,000 and the cost for dismantling, moving, and restoring the Saurer Blacksmith Shop is projected at $50,000.  If you wish to contribute in some way to this project, please contact the Historical Society to learn about how you can be a part of the Sonnenberg Village legacy.

Another objective of this village is to serve as a model for sustainable living.  Two of the seven sections of a rain garden have benn installed and are operational with plants donated by Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.  A Heritage Garden  has been cultivated with plans underway to add a butterfly garden, a period herb garden, and a bluebird walk.  Stop by the location to view the progress thus far, 13515 Hackett Road.

The Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center hours vary.  They are open 11 a.m. - 3 p.m Thursday, Friday, Saturday in June, July, August; Thursday and Saturday in April, May, September, October, November, and December.  They are closed January, February, and March.  Admission is free.  Donations are greatly appreciated.

The Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, a restored dairy barn, circa 1919, offers fine accommodations and a full country breakfast daily - your perfect Amish Country lodging choice.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 13, 2011


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Antique Ohio, Antique Collectibles

Barn Treasures

Loft of Barn Treasures
 The Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, located within a thirty minute drive of many antique shops, is a perfect home base from which to search for special "Finds".  Located north of Brewster, Barn Treasures is open only on Friday and Saturday.  When asked what he specializes in, the owner said, "Everything", a fact prefectly evidenced as one scans the barn, an antique itself, filled to the brim with furniture, retro items, victorian, pottery, and more.
Let the Hunt Begin at some of these shops:

Sideboard at Hershberger's
Hershberger Antique Mall - The inventory of this two-building mall will astound even the most seasoned shopper.  The vast collection of ornate, hard-to-find antiques representing one of the finest shops in northeast Ohio today features this sideboard, which once belonged to Mike Strahan. Hershbergers specializes in Millersburg Glass.

Strasburg Antique Mall - Over 50 Dealers and 3,000 added new square feet, Furniture, Primitives, Pottery, Old Toys.

Riverfront Antique Mall - In New Philadelphia, Ohio, 55,000 Sq. Ft., one of the largest antique malls in Ohio.

Rt. 62 Antique Mall - 1075 US 62, Wilmot, Ohio showcases furniture, glassware, primitives, and collectibles. Amish owned, so no website, Phone 330-359-7990.

Shaker House - In Millersburg specializes in Millersburg Glass, Unique Collectibles, primitives & Art.

Pioneer Loft - In Millersburg selling antiques, vintage items, primitive, colonial, cottage & Shabby Chic, upcycled & repurposed.

Pie Safe at Hershberger's

Antique Emporium - In Millersburg, Tuesday - Saturday, Sunday 10-4, hours adjusted seasonally.  An ever-changing selection of furniture, glass, books and more.

Berlin Village Antique Mall  - In Berlin, 26,000 Sq. Ft of collectibles on two floors, primitives, furniture, glassware, coins, and more.  Amish owned no website.  330-893-4100.

Uptown/Downtown - 215 W. Liberty St., Wooster, Ohio, Mon-Sat & Sun 12-5, no website, email:

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 7, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Warthers, Vintage Buttons

Funeral Train of Abraham Lincoln 1865
A visit to Amish Country is not complete without a visit to the world-renowned Warther's Carving Museum in Dover, Ohio, where 64 of Ernest Warther's hand-carved walnut, ebony, and ivory model trains are in glorious display.  Sure to astound ladies and well as men, carvers and non carvers; the intricate sculptings of trains, a replica steel mill, and other creations are well worthy of your visit.  Born in 1885, Mr. Warther would have heard many accounts of the Lincoln Funeral Train passing through Ohio in 1865.

Replica Steel Mill with moving figures
Self taught, Ernest "Mooney" Warther began carving at the age of 5 after finding a pen knife along the road.  Days were spent whittling, as he helped his family by herding cattle during fair weather. Born to Swiss immigrants on October 30, 1885, he learned to work hard at a young age and by the 1920's earned the title World's Master Carver.

Frieda Warther's Button Collection
 Frieda Warther, an avid button collector, amassed over 100,000 buttons in her lifetime and creatively assembled 73,282 of them into ornate displays that today adorn the ceiling and walls of the Warther Button House.  Curious to learn how she obtained the button that was from Mary Todd Lincoln's inaugural dress, I asked family members how it came into her posession; after all, the inaugural dress is in the Smithsonian Museum.  It happens that Frieda helped maintain the garden of Mrs. Donahey, whose husband, Alvin Victor Donahey was the 50th Govenor of the State of Ohio, governing from January 1923 to January 1924. The Donahey's lived in Tuscarawas County.  Because the govenor's wife was friends with Mary Todd Lincoln's niece, she was able to make a special request, thus this significant button was lovingly passed to Frieda.  Find here, more history about Frieda Warther's collection.

While visiting Warther's Carvings and Ohio's Amish Country consider the fine accommodations at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 3, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Amish Holidays

Amish Family Memorial Day Outing
 Special days observed as holidays vary slightly from one Amish region to another. All communities observe Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, and Christmas.  Pentecost, referred to in some articles, coincides with spring communion.  In Ohio, unlike the Pennsylvania Amish, Pentecost is not named as an Amish Holy day; however, spring communion always falls near that date.  Here, spring communion is coordinated with neighboring churches so that preachers may attend neighboring district services.  Thanksgiving, though, not a religious holiday, is observed.

Going Fishing
 Amish do not observe national holidays in the same manner as their "Worldly" neighbors.  Until recent years Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Armistice Day went unrecognized in the traditional community.  After all, the Amish (and Mennonites) are pacifists and refuse to bear arms.  In compliance to their doctrine of non-resistance, the Amish are forbidden to take part in violence and war; therefore, typically, would not give homage to the war dead.

More and more, Old and New Order Amish-owned businesses in Holmes County, Ohio, close their doors on national holidays; probably due to influence of non-Amish businesses who close for these observances.  For the Amish, these national holidays are simply an opportunity for a family day, perhaps a picnic or fishing in the neighbor's pond or a family cookout, with no patriotic tribute in mind. The Swartzentruber Amish, a stricter sect, do not observe any national holiday.

Family Making Hay
 Amish religious holidays observed with fasting (until noon) are:  Good Friday, Ascension Day, Christmas and Old Christmas (January 6), and spring and fall communion.  Religious holidays are observed not by having a special church service or program, but rather by refraining from normal work and fellowshipping over a noon meal, often with extended family. Youth sporting activities such as swimming or playing ball are not tolerated on a religious holiday.

For more insights into the secret world of the Amish, read Amish Society by John A Hostetler and Growing Up Amish:  The Teenage Years by Richard Stevick.  Visit the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio and enjoy an overnight stay at the award-winning Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast where innkeepers, Paul and Loretta, will share Amish life insights.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 1, 2011