Unser Leit – The story of the Amish – by Leroy Beachy

I had a very special opportunity last week to discover a treasure that has been in the making for well over 20 years. In the process of contacting quite a few store owners in the Berlin area I was led to Eli (Small) Hochstetler, owner and operator of the Gospel Bookstore in Berlin, Ohio. Small and his wife, Vesta, and I go back quite a few years. They are both interesting people and I enjoy talking with them now and then when we connect somewhere. In the process of one of our interesting conversations, Small starts telling me about a new book that has been written about the Amish and that the author is none other than Leroy Beachy. Now I must confess that I have often heard about Leroy but never, that I can remember, have I had any conversations with him. I do know that Leroy and my father, John Schrock, go back a long way, at least 50 years. The name of the book is appropriately titled “UNSER LEIT” which translates to “OUR PEOPLE”. Fortunately Small had a pre-release copy of the book in his office so I got to be one of the first people to get a good look at it and, better still, Small said I could borrow it, which I did. I must say, it is a book that is best described as a “legacy” work; an achievement based on a lifetime of experience, research, passion, and hard work. The book is not just a typical size hard or soft cover book. It is a 2-volume work, with full 8-1/2 x 11 pages, and around 1,000 pages of very interesting reading. It is not a dry and stuffy documentary but a rich story which is only made more interesting by an abundance of accompanying illustrations, all of which have been drawn by the author. As we were talking Small tells me that I should go out and see Leroy and talk to him about the book. So off I went to see him and sure enough, he and his wife were at home and made me feel very welcome. I spent the next couple of hours listening, talking with him and asking him all kinds of questions. I found out that he knew more about my ancestors than I did. I discovered, among other things, that my ancestors were from the Schrag family of Switzerland. Leroy had just that day received the first complete set of books from the publisher so I got to see those as well. Leroy will receive the first shipment of books this week and on Saturday, April 30, 2011 Leroy will be present to sign his book at the official release at the Gospel Book store in Berlin.

 

 

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