by Nic Stoltzfus, Plain Values
I first moved to Pennsylvania in the fall of 2018 to become caretaker of the Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead in Reading. I was also nearing completion of a coffee-table book I was working on: German Lutherans to Pennsylvania Amish: The Stoltzfus Family Story. I was unsure about how it would go—although my father Elam was born Amish in Lancaster County and grew up there, I was a stranger to this region. I had never spent more than two weeks in Pennsylvania my whole life and didn’t know much about Amish culture and way of life. After all, I was a Floridian who was raised on grits and sunshine, not snow and scrapple.
I made it my mission to learn as much as I could about my Amish and Stoltzfus heritage, and this past year I learned a great deal.