Back Up Next

EARLY ZIMMERMANS.—The early history of the advent of the Zimmerman ancestors in Dauphin county, which at that time comprised what is now known as Dauphin and Lebanon counties, is very obscure. There seem to be no records extant to give any information on this subject. About the only knowledge that has so far come to light is the fact that three brothers, John Michael, Gottfried and Peter, and one sister, Isabella, who was married to one Rodearmel, and who died on the voyage without leaving any issue, originally came over from Holland; and that some of them settled in Dauphin county, near Jonestown, which has since become a part of Lebanon county. One of these brothers, named Peter Zimmerman, passed the humble life of the hardy pioneer in what was then the frontier of Pennsylvania. All records as to the dates of his birth and marriage and death, and even the place of his burial, seemed to have vanished with the dim past. A son of this Peter Zimmerman, also named Peter Zimmerman, was born March 4, 1763, in Hanover township, Lancaster county, Pa., as given on his baptismal certificate, now in the possession of Jacob Shaeffer, Cumberland county, Pa. These early Zimmermans, to be sure, are only slightly connected with the history of Dauphin county, but they are given for the purpose of more clearly showing the origin of the subsequent generations bearing that name, who have played an important part in the realistic drama of Dauphin county’s history.

The last named Peter Zimmerman married Miss Mary Magdelene Beane, of near Jonestown, now Lebanon county, PA., and moved to a small unfertile farm in Cumberland county, a few miles southwest of Fairview, close to the mountians: there were born to them eight children, of whom we have any record, five sons and three daughters, to-wit: Henry was born December 30, 1786, died March 12, 1839. Mary was born August 2, 1788, died august 10, 1873, and was the second wife of Jacob Shaeffer, of Cumberland county, PA. Elizabeth Zimmerman, of whom there is no record except that she married a certain Peter Blawser, and moved to the southern tier of counties of New York State. John Zimmerman, of whom there is no record, moved to Wooster, Ohio, where he died. Catherine Zimmerman was born November 9, 1795, married to Andrew Mona Smith and died June 7, 1862. Peter Zimmerman was born in 1796, the exact date is no known; he was married to Elizabeth Mona Smith, and died at his home in Wooster, Ohio, in 1880. Samuel Zimmerman was born March 11, 1798, in East Hanover township, Dauphin county, PA., married Sarah Lehman, and moved to Wayne township, Wayne county, Ohio, where he died March 24, 1888, and lies buried near Madisonburg, Ohio. Jacob Zimmerman, the youngest of whom we have any record, was born January 26, 1805, and moved to Bedford county, Pa., where he died August 26, 1867. The father of these children is said to have died in 1810, and lies buried in the old graveyard now almost obliterated by the rough hand of time, along the river road, a few miles southwest of West Fairview. It is from this family, as well as from the line of early ancestors above, that the Dauphin county Zimmermans trace their origin.