Our Rademacher ancestors left Germany in 1878. They came from the town of Olpe where the family had lived for many generations – perhaps centuries.
Olpe is a cute little town up in a mountainous area east of Cologne. The current population is about 25,000. It would remind you of Estes Park. It is not farm country – the major industry in the area was tinsmithing and sheet metal manufacturing.
Here’s a map – you can zoom in or out to get oriented.
The old town of Olpe burned down in 1795. After the fire, they inventoried all the homes and businesses that were destroyed and developed a sort of “master plan” to rebuild the town. The records of the inventory and the master plan survive in archives, and there is a list of all the town’s residents and the locations of their homes both before and after the fire.
Included on the list is the home of Andreas Rademacher, Dale’s 5th-great-grandfather (that means you say “great” five times before you say “grandfather”).
Peter Joseph Rademacher, Andreas’ great-grandson, worked in a foundry as a young boy before he came to America. In the town square in Olpe, there is a statue commemorating the hard work of the foundry workers in old Olpe.
You can read more about Olpe in Wikipedia. The article mentions that one of Olpe’s culinary specialties is “pickled cow’s udder”. No wonder they left and came to America!