Berit Jany


Berks County with its diamond-shaped area of 864 square miles located in southeastern Pennsylvania is rich in history and scenic resources. Its mild climate, fertile soil, and the Schuylkill River attracted European settlers in the beginning of the eighteenth century. Looking at a map of the county and reading the names of towns such as Hamburg, Womelsdorf, Rehrersburg, and New Berlinville, the German origin of these immigrants is easy to identify. In fact, Berks County is known as part of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, with Mennonites having settled this land as early as 1717. The county is also home to the first known Amish congregation in America, established sometime between 1736-38 along Tulpehocken Creek, and to numerous other Old Order Germans, less “plain” Moravians, Mennonites, and mainstream Protestant Pennsylvania Germans. These German immigrants have put their stamp on all facets of religious, economic, and cultural life of the area, creating a rich heritage and diversity of denominations that is explored by the eleven contributors of the book entitled Reflections on Old Order German Sects in Berks County. [First paragraph]



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