Mennonite-Amish Culture in the Pen-Mar Highlands, page 6
man, Miller, Beachy, Yoder, Bender, Tressler, Maust, Otto, Swauger, Hostettler, Colflesh, Shetter, Lichty, Staffer, Garber, Zook, Harshberger.
The Beachys were among the first to penetrate into Preston County, West Virginia—in the Aurora section. This was in 1853. Shortly afterwards many families came from Somerset County. At the time of the Civil War the Confederate soldiers marching along the Northwestern Turnpike (now Rt. 50) on seeing these well-stocked farms helped themselves. They went so far as to deprive some of the families of everything in the way of food and livestock. Thus after a short tenure of the land they were starved out, and had to start all over again. They sought and obtained refuge with their Amish neighbors in Cherry Creek Glades (Gortner). The Beachy family was the last to leave Preston County.
"Jacob Beachy and his sisters Leah and Fannie sold their Aurora farm in March 1944 and moved to Cherry Creek Glades. Miss Leah, 90, and Miss Fannie, 74, are living in a fine old house, busily engaged like younger women in household chores. Among the fruits of their industry has been their ripening personalities. They, and their fellow-Amish, are among the few people living today who employ a pattern of life that was universal in the pre-industrial era. The Beachy sisters are like the sweet little old ladies whisked magically out of George Eliot's 'Village of Raveloe.' How vividly, and with what animation, they described the drama of their lives in relation to the land and their people. The recollection of the past for them forms a continuity with the present enhanced by their supernatural hopes for the future.
"At their meetings they sang German hymns. The girls went to school for four months out of every year until they had finished elementary school. They remember a teacher who was a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, and that he was above all things thorough. The school house was comparable to the one described by Oren Morton in his 'Land of the Laurel.' The farmer would haul logs to the school yard. The teacher supervised the students who sawed and split the wood for the fireplace. Such exercises warmed the blood which made for alerted study.
"In early Spring when parents worked night and day in the maple grove, to be within sight of the parents, they were encouraged to build midget houses out of twigs and branches. After the bird-like structure was completed they would gather moss and the earliest of the wood flowers to serve as ornamental wall-paper in their sylvan abode.
"As they grew into womanhood their chief occupation, beside their usual chores, was the weaving of linen and wool. These home industries occupied the greater part of their lives, growing the flax, harvesting and processing it into linen thread—carding the wool from sheep raised on their farm. They knew from experience how self-subsisting by honest,
Felix G. Robinson
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms
Western Maryland, 1750-1963