The Old Order Photography by Pete Marovich • Text by Jenny Jones

The farmlands of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Ontario are among the most productive in North America. Many of the farmers in these areas are different, but different by choice. They are Old Order Mennonites, sometimes called the “Plain People,” and they trace their heritage back hundreds of years.

Old Order Mennonites dress plainly and reject modern technologies, living like their 19th-century forefathers. They put the disciplined church community, rather than individual religious experience, at the center of their Christian faith.

Only an estimated 17,000 adult Old Order Mennonites exist today and the numbers are dwindling. Still, families continue to pass on their traditions to younger generations.

James Rhodes and his wife, Mary Ethel, are just a couple of the dozens of Old Order Mennonites who call Dayton, Va., home. The Rhodes were born and raised in the small rural community, and now they are raising their nine children as Old Order Mennonites as well.

Pete Marovich is a photojournalist based in the Washington D.C. metro area covering the White House and Capitol Hill. He is co-creator of American-Journal Magazine and serves as photo editor.

Jenny Jones is the editor and co-creator of American-Journal. She has more than 15 years of experience working for daily newspapers and monthly magazines. She is a freelance writer based in Virginia.

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