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Maple Valley Township
Montcalm County, Michigan

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   Coral, in Maple Valley Township, was first settled by Rev. Charles Parker in 1861.  He donated 80 acres to become the new village.  He became involved in lumbering.  The lumber camp, called Stumptown, was said to be first named Stumptown after the Stump & Morris mill and was later platted as Coral.  Logging flourished and the Hart Oaks Company saw mill operated until 1880 when the pine forests in the area were exhausted.  Coral Enterprise newspaper began publication here in 1875.  The railroad came through in 1871 and as potato farming increased, potato warehouses were built along the tracks in Coral and Trufant.




The following are excerpts from...
The Amish and "The Plain People"
...all follow a literal interpretation of the Bible and an unwritten set of rules called the Ordnung.

   The Old Order groups all drive horses and buggies rather than cars, do not have electricity in their homes, and send their children to private, one-room schoolhouses. Children attend only through the eighth grade. After that, they work on their family's farm or business until they marry.    Old Order Amish women and girls wear modest dresses... never cut their hair, which they wear in a bun on the back of the head. On their heads they wear a white prayer covering if they are married and a black one if they are single.    Men and boys wear dark-colored suits... do not have mustaches, but they grow beards after they marry.    The Amish feel these distinctive clothes encourage humility and separation from the world.     Their clothing is not a costume; it is an expression of their faith.

   In 1991 Amish first move to Maple Valley Township and start farming south of Coral arriving from Reed City, MI and Wisconsin.    Maple Valley Amish School east side of Amble Rd, north of Cannonsville Rd is established.    The quaint Old Order Amish can occasionally be seen in and around Coral.    There's an Amish community just South of town on Bailey and Cannonsville Rd who can be seen working their fields.    There are additional Montcalm County communities east near Trufant, Turk Lake, and Five Corners (south of Lakeview) and a larger one I think north of Lakeview.

   They speak Pennsylvanian Dutch amongst themselves and English to outsiders which explains their accent.    Although they do business and are friendly with the 'English' they are isolationists and don't otherwise interact.    They are strict pacifists so do not enlist in the military and don't hold public office, however they do pay taxes with occasional exemptions from Social Security and Medicaid since they don't collect on those benefits and instead support those in need in their community themselves.    They don't reject technology so much as they strive for the lowest common denominator of possessions so that all are equal plus it's also a part of their isolationism to not become connected to the outside by the electric grid and telephone lines.    Photographing (especially if their likeness can be recognized) is discouraged, being considered immodest and against the commandment,  "Thou shalt not make unto thyself a graven image."

   Coral area Amish businesses are not listed in the telephone directory (typically the Amish don't have a phone) know mostly instead by word of mouth or signs in their yards.    There's several homesteads on and around Cannonsville Rd. and Amble Rd. providing services to the community.    One homestead provides horse shoeing, rabbits dressed or alive, and brown eggs.    Another homestead produces Adirondack chairs, glider swings, and picnic tables.    Other homesteads have sawmills for lumber, some sawmills even make mini-barns, play houses, and furniture.    And still others tap, make, and sell their own maple syrup.    Never open for business on Sundays.

   In 1973 Amish begin farming around Lakeview in the Turk Lake and Five Corners area, coming from Canada, Ohio, and New York.    Kendaville Rd has many homesteads with sawmills, one that makes and repair tarps and awnings, and still more providing eggs, baskets, quilts, rag rugs and comforters.    Other area roads have homesteads selling bake goods, harnesses, rag rugs, brown eggs, plus services from sawmills, roofing and siding.

The information above about the Amish was contributed by:   Michael Baribeau

If you have additions or corrections please contact Paula Johnson
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