In the southwest corner of Yadkin County, those passing through might find a little less vehicle traffic and a better chance of seeing bicycles, horse and buggies and tractors on the roadway.
The quiet community of Windsor’s Crossroads in Hamptonville serves as home to a community of about 31 Amish households, several of whom operated home-based businesses where the public can purchase the fruits of their labors.
The community was first settled by Amish in 1985, explained Thomas Coletti, who with his wife, Sandra, and their children moved to Hamptonville in 1991 from another Amish community in western Maryland.
“Three or four families in southwest Kentucky were looking for farms, and they contacted the county agency,” said Coletti as he sat in the simple sitting area of the home built by his children for he and his wife back in the fall as a smaller, more manageable home than the larger two-story farm houses many of the younger families with children live in.
“They were looking more to the area, not just Yadkin County. They wanted good farm land, and a more moderate climate,” he said. “They were interested in starting another settlement, and they looked at the condition of the soil and the climate, and both are covered in Yadkin County.”
The Amish families in Hamptonville live along about a five-mile stretch of Windsor Road through Hamptonville, as well as several roads off of Windsor, and have moved to the area from other communities in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. As visitors leave U.S. 421 at Exit 267 and head south on Windsor Road, a yellow diamond caution sign featuring a picture of an Amish horse and buggy warn drivers to be alert for the buggies in the roadway.
Coletti said much of the day as people are working there may not be buggies seen traveling, but they are prevalent in the area in the mornings before school as mothers or the children are driving themselves to the community’s school house for the day’s studies.
While those of the Amish community don’t own or drive cars, he said tractors are allowed for field work, and many ride bicycles to and from other homes and businesses.
“Our main principle behind this is we want to stay separate from the world to concentrate on our faith in God,” Coletti explained of the Amish’s choice to abstain from technology and many other modern amenities. “We make a conscious effort to avoid those things.”
He said as a community, they choose what they will accept and judge that decision based on how it will affect their lives.
“With a horse and buggy, it keeps the community close,” Coletti said, as an example. “All 31 homes are within a 15-minute buggy ride.
“Our clothes, we chose a style that’s been handed down. We are always in style with our church, and at times we might be in style with the world. For instance, we wear suspenders, and sometimes they are in style and sometimes not. Our main consciousness is not to follow the styles of the world, it frees us up to focus on our faith and God.”
The basic rule of thumb for employment, he explained, is for Amish families to work at home. “So to start with the businesses are all home businesses. They may hire family members, or like myself at the furniture store someone who is semiretired to help out, but the main objective is to work at home,” Coletti said.
If businesses become too large for one family to manage, he said a portion of the business is severed off or given to another family.
While many of the visitors to the Amish community may be familiar with the Shiloh General Store, which the Colettis built in 2006 and ran for five years before selling to another Amish family, Coletti said outbuildings have been built and sold for 30 years in the community. “You’d think everyone would have one, but they are still a sellable item,” he said.
The general store offers a deli, jams and other jarred items like pickles and honey, as well as bagged products sold by the pound. The popular stop for supplies by both Amish families and visitors is open Tuesday through Saturday.
The jams and jellies made at Dutch Kettle can be found on the shelves of the Shiloh General Store as well.
“We all shop at the store, but 99 percent of the clientele are not Amish,” Coletti said of the general store.
But there are other businesses in the Windor’s Crossroads Amish community open to do business with the public as well. Coletti said John Hostetler has a dairy which sells milk to a company, but his family also pasturizes their milk and sells it and products like ice cream, cheese and yogurt at the Wholesome Country Creamery.
Just ripening and ready for sale for the season are large red tomatoes, a product of Slabaugh Hydroponic Tomato Farm operated by Homer and Rhoda Slabaugh. They sell the tomatoes now through July and may plant more to start coming in again in October.
Their daughter and son-in-law, Simon and Lillian Swartzentruber, own Shady Hollow Greenhouse, which is about two miles off Windsor Road just inside Wilkes County. The color-filled greenhouse features everything from flowers to herbs to vegetable and fruit plants. Seeds, potting soil and lawn furniture also is sold at the greenhouse.
Another business, Home Acres Fine Furniture, operated by Marvin and Mary Miller, offers Amish-made furniture, from bedroom suites to kitchen tables to outdoor furniture. It is in a two-story white farmhouse along Windsor Road.
In addition to the business operated in the community, Coletti said each family has its own acreage, at least enough for their horses, and may raise their own vegetables and other plants and animals like chickens, sheep and cows.
“A couple of family are raising and selling free-range eggs,” he said, noting that one of his neighbors does custom butchery and makes deer sausage during hunting season.
“As far as I know, we’ve had a good relationship with the people here over the years,” Coletti said of the interaction between the Amish families and their neighbors. “Being good neighbors makes good neighbors.”
The Amish community in Windsor’s Crossroads has its own church house and school house, as was the tradition of some of the settling Amish who were from western Pennsylvania, Coletti explained. The children attend from first through eighth grade, and then once they graduate from eighth grade, the boys work with their fathers to learn a trade and the girls learn to keep house with their mothers.
“We believe children are a blessing from the Lord, and we are known for our large families,” he said. “They are a blessing. They work for their parents until age 21, and then they get a salary or have a business of their own. It is a revolving line of credit, the children help the parents, and then the parents help the children.”