The Beachy Amish Mennonites   


The Amish-Mennonites of Kempsville, Virginia: 1900-1970

Text Box: The Beachy Amish Mennonites
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Leon R. Zook (compiler) Leroy Miller (editor)

 Eighty years in God’s service: June 26, 1927 — 2007

“The Amish-Mennonites of Kempsville, Virginia” is a compilation of accounts and memories from families that spent much time in this community. The Kempsville settlement begin around 1900 as an Amish community, but was one of the earliest congregations to join the Beachy movement (in 1940). The nucleus settlement of most Beachy churches in the US South owe their existence to the Kempsville Amish Mennonite congregation.


This compilation was originally published as a hard-cover book in 1995, but is no longer in print. Permission has been granted by the compiler (who holds the copyright) to make this book available online.

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Cover, Cover Page, Contents, Editor’s Note, Acknowledgements, and Introduction                    

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Chapter 1: The Early Years in Princess
Anne County, by Leroy Miller

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Chapter 2: The Church at Kempsville,
by Leroy Miller

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Chapter 3: Growing Up, by Leroy Miller

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Chapter 4: Sunday School Recollections,
by Leroy Miller

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Chapter 5: The William S. and Amanda (Beachy) Yoder Family, by Viola (Yoder) Swartzentruber

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Chapter 6: The Christian J. and Susanna (Beachy) Swartzentruber Family, by Eldon and Lloyd Swartzentruber

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Chapter 7: The Eli S. and Mattie
(Helmuth) Miller Family, by Mary
(Miller) Yoder

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Chapter 8: The Jonas C. and
Catherine B. (Miller) Miller
Family, by Leroy Miller

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Chapter 9: The Joe I. and Mary
(Miller) Hershberger Sr. Family,
by Andrew J. Hershberger

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Chapter 10: Yoder Dairies:
An Experience in Sharing,
by Leroy Miller

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Chapter 11: The Simon L. and Lydia E.
(Yoder) Yoder Family, by Elmer S. Yoder

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Chapter 12: The Joseph S. and Hannah
(Wagler) Overholt Family, by Joseph J. Overholt

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Chapter 13: The Harvey and Fannie (Hershberger)
Byler Family, by Katie (Byler) Yoder

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Chapter 14: The Simeon and Magdalena (Stoll)
Overholt Family, by Abner Overholt

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Chapter 15: The Irvin M. and Mary (Lee) Weaver
Family, by Edwin Weaver

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Chapter 16: The Kempsville Mennonite School:
Its Beginnings, by Elmer S. Yoder

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Chapter 17: The Troyer and Kramer Families: Ezra
and Amanda (Kramer) Troyer, by Sharon Troyer

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Chapter 18: The Providence Mennonite Church:
A Difference Over Language

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Ministerial List, Index, About the Compiler and
Editor, and Back Cover

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Amanda Overholt and grandson, Jonathan Zook. Courtesy Mary Zook

From the back cover of the dust jacket

Milk Deliveryman Alvie Yoder, circa 1948.

From Chapter 10: “Yoder Dairies”

This chapter tells the story of the still-thriving Yoder Dairies and the business’ roots with the Kempsville Amish Mennonites.

“Curly” Byler, circa 1940.

From Chapter13

Teachers, 1954.

From Chapter 16, “Kempsville Mennonite School”

This chapter includes a history of the school, two page aerial photo of the school and surrounding farms, and teacher/student roster from 1947-1970.

Ernest Miller, circa 1948.

From Chapter 8

This book includes several stories about the untimely deaths of family and church members, including the sudden passing of Bishop Jake Hershberger, told in Chapter 9.

Eli S. Miller

From Chapter 7: “ downtown Norfolk, he posted a sign on a wire cage: ‘See the Ground Hog.’ The curious crowd pressed close for a peek at some furry animal, only to find themselves staring at a container of pork sausage...”

Below: An artistic rendering of the original Kempsville Amish Mennonite meetinghouse, from the inside of the front and back covers.

Harold Overholt, holding Philip Hershberger, 1959.

From Ch. 12

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