It is spring, the time to prepare the fields for planting. Over a century ago, it was common to be disking with five horses, as these men were doing in 1908.

Amish farmers use horses for all aspects of farming today. On May 11, 2023, in the Hazleton area, I saw a number of Amish farmers disking in a setting resembling the above photograph.

In 2022, an Amish farmer in Ohio was disking a huge field using seven horses. My Iowa Amish contact thought it unusual to be using seven horses, as five is common. Special attachments would be needed to hitch seven horses together. It wasn’t possible to ask the driver­ exactly what he was doing, but some observers suggest that an additional two younger horses were being trained in pulling the disk around the field. See the photo below.


A house of God first, then a barn. The barn pictured above was dedicated as a place of worship for a congregation of Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). The loft was actually the worship space while the ground level was used for livestock and grain storage. An article in the Oakland Herald quoted an Elder in a late 1800s prayer service who prophesied that the branch would scatter and the House of God would be inhabited by animals. That’s what happened.

The Mormon Farm Creek branch of Latter-Day Saints was first located in Mills County near Henderson. Pioneers settled along Farm Creek in the fall of 1849 and spring of 1850, using a church for their worship services. That church is now gone. In the spring of 1858 a branch of about 40 members was “raised up.” It was reorganized twice and the members met in Farm Creek school nearby until 1890 when the barn/church was finished at a cost of $1725. Membership declined when families moved away, and most of the remaining members left in the early 1920s or attended services in nearby towns. The barn then became a house for livestock.

For many years Harvey and Darlene Bolton owned the farm and used the barn. Harvey died in 1998, Darlene died in September of 2022, and the farm has been sold. Farm Creek was a landmark in the area, and a sign designating the Farm Creek School site is located at the driveway entrance to the house and barn.          (2023 photo)