Hymn-sing at Stoltzfus Homestead offers inight into Amish culture (copy)

The Stoltzfus Homestead in Spring Township.

A customized 1948 John Deere Model A tractor that crisscrossed America raising funds for wounded veterans will be on display at the annual Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead benefit auction in Berks County, organizers said.

The auction is scheduled for May 1 at 9 a.m. on the site of the homestead, 1700 Tulpehocken Road in Spring Township. A quilt sale starts at 11 a.m.

C. Ivan Stoltzfus, a retired farmer, made three trips from 2016 to 2019 on the tractor, raising about $260,000 for Operation Second Chance, a Maryland-based organization that assists wounded veterans.

Toting a camper and traveling at 15 mph, Stoltzfus drove the vintage tractor about 20,000 miles over back roads from Maryland to Montana in his one-man crusade to help veterans.

Elam Stoltzfus, caretaker, said the auction celebrates the homestead's 250th anniversary.

Nicholas Stoltzfus and his son, Christian, purchased the tract along the Tulpehocken Creek in 1771, according to "From Rottleben to Lancaster: The Stoltzfus Family Heritage" by Nic Stoltzfus, who is expected to attend the auction.

Christian eventually moved to Lancaster County, where the Stoltzfus family name became one of the most recognizable in the Amish community.

Amish historians Paul Kurtz, Ben Reihl and Pud Sam Stoltzfus are also expected to attend.

A collection of vintage magazines, out of print books and old newspapers are among the items to be auctioned.

Masthof Bookstore and Press of Morgantown will be exhibiting a collection of books on Amish culture and other subjects.

The Levy family from Fort Bumper Bio-Farm will be doing Colonial style cooking in the homestead fireplace.

Tours of the recently restored homestead are available. A replica of a Sweitzer-style barn, native to Switzerland, has been constructed on the site.

The homestead is on Tulpehocken Road, near Penn State Berks and Gring's Mill Recreation Area.

Information is available at nicholasstoltzfus.com or by email at nicholasstoltzfushomestead@gmail.com.

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