|by Nancy Cioch|
written by Nancy Cioch
Hendrick was the 15th child of Jacob Zimmerman and Anna Margaretha Schutz Zimmerman. He was born Dec 31, 1737. His mother was 44 when he was born. There is no date of death for his mother but Jacob died in 1739. Margareth Zimmerman is found on the January tax list in 1766, listed next to Debold (David), Hendk (Hendrick), and Cunrad (Conrad) Zimmerman.
There is very little information on Henry's early years. He probably was greatly influenced by his older brothers. Adam was about 23, Conrad was 20, Lawrence was 17, Jacob was 15, David was 13, and George was 3 when Henry was born. Other children were listed between George and David but may not have survived childhood. Anneh, Thomas, Johannes, Dorothy, Harriett, and Jeremiah are the other siblings. There is no further data on these siblings. Some of the Zimmermans kept the original name but most changed it to Timmerman. Documents show many different spellings and were written in both German and English.
Henry would have been influenced also by the family business. Jacob was thought to have been a miller and farmer. He also traded with the Indians. The 1734 Indian deed had been given to Anna Margaretha Timmerman "for pure love and affection".
Family lore had stated that she was very kind to the Indians. Other family stories were that she was the daughter of Hendrick Pieterse (King Hendrick) of the Bear Clan. There is no proof to this story. One might suppose that Anna Margaretha Schutz may have died and a young Indian girl may have been helping care for the young children. Since Jacob traded with the Indians and was well acquainted with King Hendrick. It is possible that the daughter of the chief was the Indian Princess. A practical man would realize that someone dependable was needed to care for the family. It would not be surprising for him to marry this girl and give her a family name - Anna Margaretha - and discard her Indian name. There is no proof of this. Interestingly, there is no certain record of Anna Margaretha Schutz Zimmerman after 1734. However Jacob's death record indicated that his wife - Anna Margaretha - survived him.
Henry was granted a lot of 300 acres in the Zimmerman portion of the Snell-Zimmerman Patent, June 9, 1758. The barn on Henry's farm was built about 1750, as confirmed by a barn expert. A map dated 1779 shows a fort on Henry Zimmerman's farm. Emma Timerman stated that there was an old stone house near the farm, which was said to have been the home of Molly Brant. (Molly Brant had been the common-law Indian wife of Sir William Johnson. After his death, she had to leave Johnson Hall. Why did she make her home so very near Henry Zimmerman' s farm? Sir William had made sure that he had lots of land for all of his children. His "Royal Grant" was just north of the Zimmerman portion of the Snell-Zimmerman Grant.) Emma remembered the old house where Henry had lived which was still standing when she was a little girl. Her father used it as a granary on their farm.
Henry married Catharine Fox (b.1740 d. 1768) between 1761 & 1764. They had 5 children, 3 daughters survived childhood. Henry was active in the militia service. He was a private in Captain Klock's company and served July 24-28, 1763 in the Alarm to German Flats. After Catharine's death, Henry married Margaret Bellinger. They had 14 children.
Henry insisted that the men north of the Mohawk River should be trained there instead of going south of the river. It is listed in the minutes of the Tryon County Committee of Safety that "Henry Zimmerman, George Zimmerman, Adam Gerlagh, Cunrad Zimmerman, and Wyand Lepper shall remain in their dists. To train under the Militia Capt. Christian House, agreeable to their declared Choices". On 18 May 1775 Henerrig Zimmerman signed an expression for support of the Continental Congress.
The families gathered together at night for protection. The fear was due to the raids of the Loyalists as well as from the Indians. There is a story that at one of the nightly gatherings, Henry discovered that his youngest child had been left behind in the cradle asleep. He took his rifle and went back after the baby alone. Long afterwards, he was told that two Indians followed him along the path and watched him going and returning but did not dare to attack him, even with the baby in his arms. He was highly respected by the Indians. Family stories said that Henry hunted with the local Indians before the War.
Emma Timerman wrote in her "Homestead Notes" that she remembered her grandparents talking about an ancestor who married a squaw and they called her the Indian princess. She also stated that her grandmother remarked that Lt. Henry Zimmerman was offered the position of chief or sachem but he did not want to be chief. Emma also stated that in later years when she corresponded with other cousins, they had the same story of the Indian ancestry. Emma believed it to be true.
Since Molly Brant lived near Lt. Henry's farm. She saw the Militia gathering and sent word to her brother Joseph Brant. Lt. Henry served as 1st Lieutenant at the Battle of Oriskany. And was seriously wounded in the left side August 6, 1777. He was carried from the field by 2 nephews and some friendly Indians and was taken to the Oriskany Oneida Indian village. General Herkimer ordered that his friend and neighbor, Lt. Henry be taken to the General's home and treated by his doctor. Lt. Henry remained at the Herkimer home for many weeks until he was well enough to be moved to the blockhouse at Zimmerman's (now St. Johnsville) where his family fled for safety. Valuables were buried for safe- keeping. Many homes were burned. Henry's house and barn were not burned and apparently stood for many years.
Henry recovered and returned to further militia service 1778, 1779, 1780, and 1781. He received land bounty rights for his service and later when his disability caused him problems, he applied for and received a disability pension claim from NewYork State of $120 per year. The National Archives have the pension files with the documentation of Lt. Henry's participation in the Revolutionary War and his wound received at the Battle of Oriskany.
After the War the Zimmerman and Snell families got together weekends to rebuild the Snells Bush Church, which had been burned during the hostilities. Peter Snell and Henry Timmerman were major supporters of the Snells Bush Church for many years.
On the 1790 census, Henry Timmerman was listed with 3 males over 16, 4 males under 16, and 8 females in his household. In the 1797 Town of Manheim Minute book Henry is listed as a highway worker and lists the days of work. He was listed in 1800 as Overseer of Roads and Pathmaster and road worker. In the 1800 Census, he was no longer head of household but could have been the male over 45 in the household of his son, Henry H. Timmerman. Henry's will was written August 25, 1805. He died May 18, 1807. The record of his death is written in German and pasted in the 1778 German Bible. The translation is: "Our dead ones my Brother brought to an end his earthly life of 69 years and 6 months in his last sickness he passed 8 days He lived for 38 years in the state of marriage with his surviving, deeply grieved widow children: 19 of whom 15 are living grandchildren 62 7 boys and 12 daughters." (Translated by Milford Snell)
Henry was buried in the Snells Bush Reformed Church Cemetery. His wife Margaret died July 9, 1815 and is buried beside him.
Sources: "Homestead Notes" by Emma S. Timerman, "The Eighteenth Century Zimmerman Family of the Mohawk Valley" by David Kendall Martin, "Descendants of Lieut. Henry Timmerman" by Carolyn Timmerman Sidenius, and Family Lore
Lt. Henry Timmerman was my great, great, great, great, great grandfather.
Nancy Timmerman Cioch.