1899.05.19 Frivolity Forbidden

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1899.05.19 Frivolity Forbidden
 - th« Md*t»-W. Their Hat^or OOWM. - \.. Cissna...
th« Md*t»-W. Their Hat^or OOWM. - \.. Cissna Park, 111., has an eccentric religious sect which forbids, ita male members to wear neckties, cultivate a mustache, smoke, vote pr go courting. courting. Women are en joined from T*nr> ing trimmings of any kind on their hats. Not even a very little ribbon or a chicken feather is allowed. Fashr ion magazines are looked .upon as tempting lures sent out by the Evil One, and any sister who dares to sew a ruffle on her skirt is disciplined and made the subject-of special prayer.- By outsiders this strange sect is called Omish. The members resent this, however, and call themselves the Christian apostolic or German Church. There ave atfont 1000 members in the church, nearly all farmers, and all noted for tbfoir sobriety, frugality and strict honesty. They live as a dis- ..tinct_little commonwealth set down on the Illinois prairie, a~hd^gbverned- entirely by church law. In fact, it is a grave, misdemeanor for any member of the congregation to appeal to the State authorities in-the settlement' of any disputes. Differences which among other people would lead to lawsuits are decided by a council of the elders of the church-. The members dress iu the plainest of clothes. The women wear small black aprons over calico dresses. in in an we in a be the the the be prevent bo our or no and another are "or some fora a the the large the be a or and the roots far fine more Their "headgear consists of a black straw sailor hat entirely devoid of trimming. The men are nearly all clean shaven. They are permitted to wear beards, but not mustaches. ' The mustache is under a ban, as the elders say,it conduces to vanity and the dreadful pride which goes before a fall. : Courtship is away below par among the Omish of Cissna Park. The only opportunity a young man has for choosing a partner for life from among them is" by casting sheep's eyes across the broad aisle which separate the men and women worshipers in church on Sunday. He may not ask to see her home from meeting, and burning out coal in the parlor grate on Sunday evenings is considered rank heresy. After the rustic swain among the Omishe,3 has in some way picked out the girl he thinks he might like to marry he confides iu one of the elders of the church. The elder in turn tells the father of the girl, and the father, if lie approves of the match, gives the elder's message to the daughter. If her answer is favorable the prospective wedding is announced in church the next Sunday. If her answer is unfavorable the young man is supposed to renounce all hope in that direction and look somewhere else for a marital partner. The only proper way to salute' one another among the Omishes is by kissing. kissing. Shaking hands is considered a cold and soulless method of greeting, and is one of the forms of punishment visited upon a recalcitrant church member. On Sunday mornings a godly disciple, not too young and good looking, stations himself at the outer door of the church and kisses all members members in good standing aa they go away. If he skips a brother or a sister it is the cause of gossip immediately, and it is understood that there has been a grave infraction of rules. Saturday is market day and then there is a continuous osculatory performance performance going on in the streets of the little village. The men embrace and kiss each other, and the women lite- wise.kiss only the members of their own sex. Sunday service at the church begins early and lasts all day. The food is cooked and served at .the meetinghouse, meetinghouse, and strangers are always welcome. welcome. The elders are very strict in enforcing their church discipline. They order penances•»« all, offenses. One'of the most ordinary punishments, inflicted for minor - offenses, such as pride, boasting, etc., is to condemn the culprit to attend meeting on foot. No matter what the condition of the roads, if the elders so decree, any toplofty young man who persists in wearing neckties or patent leather, shoes will be compelled to trudge to 'church on foot. The girl that be had decided to mention to the elder may drive by in a carriage, and she may look at him with acorn, but he has to grin and bear it in silence. If a'member fails under the ban of the elders^he is boycotted by his fellow-members. fellow-members. They refuse to buy his corn, they won't attend his wife's quiltings, and refuse to hold any intercourse intercourse with him until be expiates his offense. The The members of the Omish sect take no part in politics, and never vote. They do not employ physicians. They never use tobacco, but drink a good deal of wine and beer. They abhor secret societies., Reading newspapers is not strictly forbidden, but is considered considered frivolous and risky. They are opposed to war under any circumstances. circumstances. Nearly all of the Omisbes are prosperous farmers, many of them wealthy and all extremely careful to live np to their contracts. execution. man had the of

Clipped from
  1. The New Bethlehem Vindicator,
  2. 19 May 1899, Fri,
  3. Page 6

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  • 1899.05.19 Frivolity Forbidden

    jamysteid – 05 Apr 2013

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