Last time we noted that Joe Rademacher had married Anna “Annie” Burkey sometime between 1900 and 1910.
Annie’s parents were Joseph Burkey and Ottilia Winkler. We know quite a bit about both the Burkey and the Winkler families. Today, let’s start with the Burkeys. It might come as a surprise to many readers that Burkey family was most certainly NOT Catholic! They were very devoted Mennonites. “Mennonite” is a broad term that covers many religious sects, including the Amish (although the Burkeys were not Amish).
Joseph Burkey’s parents were Andrew Burkey and Magdalene Albrecht. Although I have done no original research on the family of Andrew and Magdalene, it has been well-researched by others. The following material is taken from the “The Albrechts 1836-1986”, fifth edition by Evelyn Sharp Albrecht et al.
The Albrecht family (pronounced, “All-bright”, by the way) was originally from what was called the Bavarian Palatinate. Their village was called Hermersbergerhof – a cozy little village in a very hilly region – where linen weaving was the family business. Magdalene’s parents left Hermersbergerhof and moved several times in the coming years. The pacifist views of the Mennonite faith were in direct conflict with the ruling King Ludwig of Bavaria, who was constantly trying to conscript soldiers into his army. In 1836, Christian Albrecht, his wife Elizabeth, and all their children and grandchildren left for America – there were 21 in all, including youngest daughter Magdalene who was 17.
The family settled in Hennepin, Illinois where there was an established Mennonite community. Several members of the Burkey family were already living there. I don’t have much information on the Burkey roots, other than that they were also from the Bavarian Palatinate. I don’t know if the Burkeys and the Albrecht families knew each other before they lived in Hennepin.
It ended up that there were several marriages between the Burkey and Albrecht families, including the 1838 marriage of Andrew Burkey and Magdalene Albrecht. Andrew and Magdelene lived for many years near Hennepin. They had six children who survived into adulthood. They later moved to another farm (not sure of the location), and then finally settled – for some reason – near Crete, Nebraska.
In 1880, at the time of the census, Joseph was living on the family farm near Crete with his parents Andrew and Magdelene (or “Lena”, as she liked to be called), an older brother (also named Andrew), plus the brother’s wife (also named Lena – can this get any more confusing?) and two small children.
By now, Andrew was in his late 70’s and Lena was in her early 60’s (but apparently in poor health). A short time after this census, the younger Andrew and his wife and children moved to their own place, leaving Joseph alone at home with his parents. Joseph was able to keep up with the farm work, but his mother needed help in the house. Word got out that a job was available for a hard-working young woman. Somehow, the local Catholic priest got wind of it and knew exactly who to recommend: 22-year old Otillia Winkler,