by Nancy Cioch

The Pioneer Zimmerman Daughters

by Nancy Cioch

Anna Eva Zimmerman was born 4 February 1743. Catharina Zimmerman was born 1745. They were daughters of Adam and Catharine Nellis Zimmerman. Adam was the eldest son of Jacob and Anna Margaretha Schultz Zimmerman. Jacob was considered the founder of what is now St. Johnsville. He had a gristmill and traded with the Indians. The Zimmerman Indian Deed of 1733 was given to Anna Margaretha. Adam was born 1714 possibly in Schoharie and married Catharine Nellis in 1743. She was the daughter of Christian and Barvalis Klock Nellis. Christian was born in Germany in 1697, and died 1771. Barvalis (or Barbara), a daughter of Hendrick Klock was also born in Germany in 1698. Her brother, Jacob Klock would later be Colonel in the Revolutionary War. These families were among the early Palatines who came to America in 1709.

After Jacob Zimmerman died in 1739, Adam assumed responsibilities for his father's affairs. Adam died in 1748, leaving his widow with two small daughters 3 and 5 years of age. The next eldest Zimmerman son, (who was still living in the parental home), Jacob III would take over the family business. (Older brothers, Conrad and Lawrence were married with their own property).

Catharine Nellis Zimmerman remarried about 1749 to Johan Leonardt Helmer. They had four children: Philip Helmer b. 1750, Johannes Helmer baptized 17 May 1751, Johan Leonardt Helmer baptized 8 August 1752, and Elizabeth Helmer. They lived in Stone Arabia and were on the records of the Stone Arabia church. After Helmer's death, Catharine Nellis Zimmerman Helmer married for a third time Col. Jacob Klock (her Uncle) 27 July 1781. He died 9 May 1798 and is buried in the Klock Cemetery at St. Johnsville. He was the son of Hendrick and Maria Margaretha Klock. Catharine is buried with him. Catharine was born 23 Dec1723 and died 20 August 1805.

Anna Eva Zimmerman, first born daughter of Catharine and Adam Zimmerman married 1) 1757 John Markell and 2) 8 July 1760 Christian Getman.

Near the beginning of the French and Indian War, John and Anna Eva Zimmerman Markell began a residence in the westerly part of Minden. In the summer of 1757, Markell and his wife left home, she was carrying a child in her arms to go to visit a neighbor. They met in their path a dozen-armed Indians. Markell saw them as strangers and knowing that their escape was impossible, he said in German to his wife, who was directly behind him, "Anna our time is up." These were his dying words for in the next instant; one of the party sent a bullet through his body which lodged in hers. They both fell to the ground. Markell was tomahawked and scalped. She feigned death and an Indian drew his knife and scalped her. The crying infant was killed. The Indians went on to the Markell homestead and plundered it for all that they desired. Anna Eva was conscious throughout the ordeal and managed to get to the neighbors' house for help. She was treated and recovered. She carried the bullet to her grave. Anna Eva married Christian Getman of Ephratah in 1760. She lived a long life. She died 25 April 1822 at the age of 85. She had 10 children by her second marriage. Four sons and 2 daughters would marry and create the next generation. She always concealed the loss of her scalp by combing her hair over the area. Others recalled that she wore a small, black velvet skullcap in winter and combed her hair over her scalped spot when the weather was hot.

Catharina Zimmerman was the second daughter of Adam and Catharine Zimmerman. Catharine Zimmerman married 1.Frederick Snell, Jr. 4 March 1766 and 2. Bastian Stemler 6 June 1786.

Friedrich Snell Jr. was born in Stone Arabia 1741. He died at the Battle of Oriskany 6 Aug 1777.

Clark Snell's papers state " Catherine Zimmerman was a very even tempered woman and made a good pioneer wife. Frederick bought land in what is now Ephratah. He bought the upper or west end of large lot No. 5 of the creek lots in the Sarah Magin Purchase of Lott and Low Patent in what is now the Town of Ephratah. He built a log cabin and they moved there in 1767. When Frederick Sr. died, he left the Snell's Bush farm in the hands of his widow and six children. Nicholas Snell and his wife, Elizabeth moved in with the Snell widow to work the family farm. Nicholas's wife could not agree with her mother-in-law so the brothers decided to change farms. Frederich and Catherine moved to Snell's Bush and Nicholas and his wife moved to Ephratah. Frederich was a private in the 2nd Regiment of Tryon County Militia. He was quite celebrated as a singer of psalms. A few days before the Battle of Oriskany, Frederich went to visit Nicholas. Nicholas heard his brother singing as he headed back along the forest trail." Frederick's death at the Battle of Oriskany left his widow with 7 small children. In the Indian raid of Snell's Bush 30 April 1780, Frederick's family suffered severely. Catherine, a widow with 8 small children was baking pancakes for her children. One son Frederick F. was outside the house when he heard raiders in the woods near the house. He ran and hid in the outside bake oven. The Indians came to the cabin and made Catherine and the children sit against the wall. The Indians ate all the food in the house. Two of the children were killed. A party of soldiers were hot on the trail of the raiders and found Catherine senseless and scalped. The other children survived the war, as did Catherine. After the war, 20 Sept 1784, Catherine received 128.16 pounds paid to her as the widow of Frederich Snell, who was killed in action at the Battle of Oriskany. (Audited Accounts - New York State Archives)

In 1786, Catherine married (2) Bastian Stamm/Stammell and they moved to Jefferson County.

Also from Clark Snell was a deed dated 15 Aug 1795 which shows the transfer of property - which Frederich had purchased - upper (west) end of large lot no 5 of the creek lots in Sarah Magin Purchase in Ephratah, County of Fulton, NY. The deed stated Frederick F. Snell & wife Margaret and Catherine, wife of Bastian Stammell, formerly wife of Frederick Snell deceased of the Town of Palatine for 100# deeded 100 acres in lot 11 of larger lot 5 of Magin's Purchase to Nicholas Snell. Catharine Zimmerman Snell Stammell was still living in 1795.

Sources: Snell Genealogy by Clark Snell, The Eighteenth Century Snell Family of the Mohawk Valley by David Kendall Martin, The Eighteenth Century Zimmerman Family of the Mohawk Valley by David Kendall Martin, The Getman Family Genealogy by William Laimbeer, Klock Genealogy by Helen Laura Clock Williams, Nellis Immigrants from the Palatinate by the Nellis Association and the Herkimer County Historical Society.

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