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Amish aren't Quakers, but both have stories


Date published: 3/29/2013

Amish aren't Quakers, but both have stories

While enjoying my Sunday FLS by first scanning each page's headlines, I quickly stopped at "Amish woman aids runaway slaves" [March 24], concerning the book in review.

As an eighth-generation family member/descendant of Jacob Hertzler, who in 1749 became the first Amish bishop in the United States, I eagerly wanted to read more of this review.

However, I was a bit disappointed. Within the first paragraph of this review it was noted that the main character was a 19th-century Quaker woman--not Amish, as the headline noted.

So, a quick history correction is in order, please.

Though Quaker and Amish, as well as Mennonite and Brethren, share important Christian beliefs, our religions are quite different in practice.

When William Penn offered free land to Protestant Anabaptists who were also unwilling to bear arms, thousands sailed from Europe to America during the 18th and 19th centuries, eagerly welcoming his generous offers to live within those freedoms.

Several branches of our extended family were among those settling in Pennsylvania and are now in many Midwestern states as the movement continues.

Our family's early history is full of stories of Native American raids, captures, and a few deaths, as well as the many dangers and choices at the coming of the Revolutionary War, and still later in housing and assisting runaway slaves.

Tracy Chevalier's novel "The Last Runaway" looks like a great read, which I am now eager to read and enjoy.

Ellyn Hartzler

Spotsylvania