In June of 2016, an Old Order Amish minister in the Holmes County Ohio Amish settlement, gave me several copies of a bi-monthly publication called ‘Plain Things’, which is published by a Plain Community in Caneyville, Kentucky. The community is not Amish, but their practices are similar to the practices found in many Amish communities. I enjoy reading ‘Plain Things’ and have been looking for the “right time” to head south to Caneyville; about 7 hours south of Holmes County, Ohio where I live.
In March of 2017, I got a phone call from Ray Miller, an Amish minister from Glenmont, Ohio. Ray wanted to know if I was interested in attending the 12th annual ‘Anabaptist Identity Conference’ in Lobelville, Tennessee. I replied in the affirmative since I had attended the 2016 conference, held near my hometown of Berlin, Ohio, and enjoyed it very much. Thus, plans were underway to make the 10 hour trip south to Lobelville. It didn’t take long for me to discover that Caneyville, Kentucky was “on the way” to Lobelville; only about an additional 1/2 hour of driving time would be required. Ray connected with Aaron Stoll, one of the community leaders in Caneyville, and arrangements were made for our group of eleven to swing by on our way to Tennessee.
On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, our small group arrived at the Caneyville, Kentucky Christian Community in the mid-afternoon. Back a very long private road, we saw the Caneyville Gardens farm market and greenhouse. The little store was not open, but Ray found Bishop Bryce Geiser inside who gave us some information about the community. We proceeded further down the road to “Pioneer Stoves”, a community owned business that manufactures cook stoves, many of which are sold to Swartzentruber Amish customers. About a dozen men from the community were on hand to greet us as we arrived. We received a warm welcome and introductions were made. The men and some boys were in the process of cutting firewood which they use for heating homes and to fuel a large steam engine which is used at Pioneer Stoves to power their equipment. The stove factory sits on a small part of almost 300 acres of property that is jointly owned by the community.
Aaron Stoll served as our “tour guide” throughout the afternoon and evening. We went on a tour through the cook stove factory which is jointly owned by all the community members and provides the primary source of revenues for the community.
Attributes of Caneyville