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The Yoder Children – Amish Cemetery – Dodge City, Ford, Kansas

Amish Cemetery is located about 20 miles southwest of Dodge City. Using cemeteries records, only 33 graves have been identified. The first group of Amish families arrived in southwest Kansas in 1906. Two of the first families were Aaron A. Yoder and Levi J. Yoder.

Three of those headstones belong to the Yoder family. The visible headstones were homemade. A block of cement was poured and a name and date were written on the cement.

The first death was Dennie S. Yoder. He was the second child of Daniel and Drusilla Miller Yoder. Dennie was born on February 25, 1908, and died the following July. Dennie’s siblings consisted of five brothers and five sisters.

One brother was born in Ford County. The family did not spend much time in Kansas. The 1910 Federal Census has the family living in Zavala County, Texas. By 1920, Daniel, Drusilla, and seven children were living in Oregon. Drusilla died in 1921 at the age of 40. She is buried in Hopewell Mennonite Cemetery in Hubbard, Oregon. Daniel died in 1947 and is buried with his wife.

Aaron and Mary Hostetler Yoder brought their four children from LaGrange, Indiana to Ford County in 1906. While living in Concord Township, five more children were born. Two of those nine children died and are buried in the Amish Cemetery. Menno passed away on July 11, 1918. His cause of death is unknown; however, the influenza pandemic was sweeping the world at the time. Katie was 15 years old at the time of her death on February 3, 1920. Her death may also be attributed to influenza as a newspaper article from that month and year states that 1,052 influenza cases in Ford County.

The 1930 Federal Census has the Yoder family living in Kent County, Delaware. Aaron died in 1954 and Mary in 1968. They are both buried in the Amish Cemetery in Dover, Kent, Delaware.

The rest of the story: The community continued to grow until 1914-1915 when the wheat crops began to fail, and several families moved away. The worst blow came when the flu epidemic broke out in 1918-1919. By 1926, there were only six families left and they were talking of moving back. The last church service was on August 19, 1928.

Personal Note: A collection of my stories from Ford County is available for purchase on Amazon. You can type in either Mary S. Schartz or If Headstones Could Talk. It has been my pleasure to share these stories with you.

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