|by Nancy Cioch|
Emma Sarah Timerman
Emma was born in Manheim 22 August 1879 and died 31 July 1986. Emma was the daughter of Orvil Timerman and Hattie Z. Bidleman. Emma was a schoolteacher, a Sunday school teacher at the Snells Bush Church, and founded the Snell-Zimmerman-Timmerman Reunion. She was its secretary for many years.
Emma lived in the house where our ancestors Adam and Catherine (Snell) Timmerman lived. Adam was a son of Lieutenant Henry Timmerman. One day, Emma “looked up at the rafters of their old house and thought of Adam & Catherine and wished that she could organize a reunion of the Snells and Timmermans.” She mentioned this wish to the editor of the St. Johnsville Enterprise and News, L. D. MacWethy. Mr. MacWethy had a genealogy page in his paper and had printed Edward Smith’s “The Snell Family” and “The Laurence Zimmerman Papers.” “He looked off in the distance, but made no remark.” It was about this time that there was a vote to raze the Snells Bush Church. The church was in disrepair, regular services were no longer held there. People had automobiles and drove to Little Falls for church services. The Montgomery Classis planned a meeting at the church July 1938 and stated that there was no money to maintain the building. Emma was there, she was devastated. Emma stated, "I felt that God wanted me to do something, but I did not know what or how. I kept thinking of the poem:
'Woodsman spare that tree,
Touch not a single bough,
In youth it sheltered one
And I'll protect it now.' "
A couple of weeks later, Emma received a note that there would be a gathering of Snells and Timmermans at Klock Park in St. Johnsville. MacWethy printed up postcards and Emma's name was on it. He sent her extra to send to relatives. She thought that this might be a chance for the Snell's Bush Church.
Emma wrote: “There was a reverent gathering when I arrived. I was greeted by William Timmerman who said that it was the greatest thing that I had ever done. There were in the gathering college teachers, men interested in politics, and other well-known and well-educated people. Someone called out ‘speech from Emma Timerman’. My first thought was to sit still. Then I thought that this was the chance for the church. I jumped up on the table and in my then clear voice, I told the story of the plight of our church. Ralph Ehle wrote a petition to the Montgomery Classis to preserve the church for religious purposes and many signed!”
So the Snell-Zimmerman-Timmerman Reunion was begun and officers were elected. Emma was Secretary Treasurer. Charles Snell was President. Vice Presidents were Martha Wagner of Kenmore, NY, Ralph Ehle of Little Falls, NY, and Levi Timmerman of Clockville, Madison County, NY, Mrs. Albro Homes of Johnstown, NY was Historian. A guest list of 120 names was signed with addresses. Charles Snell gave a brief address and plans were made to meet again on August 29, 1939.
“Nothing more was accomplished during the year, except to hear that my idea of saving the church seemed to be ridiculed, thus increasing my determination that it must be done! It was God’s will," said Emma S. Timerman.
The following year, it was decided at the 2nd Reunion to raise the money to repair the church. The steeple was repaired and the bell rope replaced. Other necessary work was done and the following year, the church was painted. Emma always called this area, "God's Acre". After all, our forefathers had been worshipping here since about 1757. A workman on his way to work noticed a rainbow over the church. The way he saw it, the rainbow ended at the front doors of the church. He took a photo of it.