If you’ve never been to an Amish fund-raising auction, I highly recommend it. I’ve attended two: one in Jamesport, Missouri, and the other in Bee County, Texas. People travel from all over the region to attend these auctions, so they’re a perfect opportunity to observe and soak up details of Amish culture. And you might even find a bargain!
In Jamesport, they usually have the Spring Hill School Consignment Auction the week of July 4th, but you can check the town’s website for specific dates. My series, The New Hope Amish, is set in this area, so two years ago we traveled to Jamesport, which boasts that it has the largest Amish population in Missouri. With a population of 516, choices of lodging are limited, but the owners of the B&B where we stayed were delighted to share stories about their Amish friends and neighbors over a homemade breakfast. Maps are available for self-guided tours of the Amish establishments in the area. These included schools, a cemetery, and a variety of shops including Graber’s Greenhouse and Produce, The Fabric Barn, Sherwood Quilts and Crafts and more.
The auction lasted two days. I saw the biggest collection of wringer wash machines I’ve ever seen and a massive amount of farm equipment I couldn’t identify. I enjoyed listening to the dialect spoken and seeing how excited the ladies were over bidding for canning jars. Homemade ice cream being cranked on the spot was a big seller.
I’m now working on a new series, with the first book, The Beekeeper’s Son, debuting in January. It is set in Bee County, Texas, the home of the state’s only Amish district. I wanted to spend some time there, so I went to their auction, which is usually scheduled for the first week of November. It’s not as large as the Jamesport auction, but just as interesting. The auction occurs inside a large barn with two auctioneers calling at the same time. Livestock, buggies furniture, milk cans, sewing machines, even a glass-covered hearse were on the auction block when I attended. The Amish women sold plates of meatloaf, baked potato, bread, and homemade pie. Delicious!
This tiny district, located about 100 miles south of San Antonio can be difficult to find. If you want to spend the night, look at George West, Texas. South Texas is nothing like Lancaster or even Missouri, so don’t be surprised by the windswept landscape and rustic homes of this district. The differences between these areas and communities are what make travel—and life—so interesting.
Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest House Publishers. Her latest release is A Plain Love Song, set in Amish country in Missouri, which debuted July 1. It is the final installment in the series, which also included Love Redeemed and Love Still Stands.
She is currently working on The Beekeeper’s Son, the first book in the Amish of Bee County series, for Zondervan/HarperCollins. Stay tuned to AmishWisdom.com for news on The Beekeeper’s Son. She has also penned two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.
Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years. They have two young adult children, one gorgeous new granddaughter, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.
Purchase Kelly’s books here.
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