Jacob Zimmer (1848-1924)
and Elizabetha Buertel (1849-1926)
"Grossfater and Grossmutter" Zimmer
has told me many stories about about "Grossmutter and Grossfater
her father, Frank, was left an orphan at age four by the death of his
mother, he went to live with Carolina Buertel's half-sister, Elizabeth
The picture to the right was found in my mother's extensive collection
of family photographic treasures. Mom's father, Franklin Marion Sullivan
is seen standing to the right in this picture. Also in the picture are
Frank's adoptive parents, Elizabeth Buertel Zimmer, seated in the center
and Jacob Zimmer, seated
to her right.
left is their first son, John, born around 1871. Daughter Clara, standing
to the left, was born in 1878.
The 1850 and 1860 Censuses of Washington County show Jacob Zimmer as
a child of 2 and 11, respectively, growing up in the home of Johannes
and Elizabeth Renner Zimmer in Fearing Township. He was confirmed,
according to the Berg Church Records, in the Spring of 1862 at the age
of 13. Jacob
and Elizabeth show up together in their own household in the 1870 Census
of Washington County. Both are listed as 21 years of age, he as a cooper
and she as a housekeeper.
By the time of the 1880 Washington County Census, we see the Jacob Zimmer
household listed with three children, John, 9, Caroline, 7, and Clarry,
3. This is clearly the John seated on the left of the picture above.
Just as clear is that the Clarry of this census entry is the Clara Zimmer
standing in the picture above. I asked my mother about Caroline. The
reply was, "Oh, she died." No more details
About the other Jacob Zimmer Children
We do find these records in Pastor Daniel Hirsch's Record Book of Baptisms
1854-1891, German Churches (other than Berg):
- Their daughter Clara was born on 17 Feb 1878 and baptised on Jul
23 1878. The witnessess were Friedrich Schultheiss and Luisa Gravius,
- Their son, Jacob Karl Zimmer was born on Apr 30 1882 in Lawrence
Twp. and baptised on Nov 19, 1882 at 1 pm. The 18 witnesses included
Katharina wife of Johann Zimmer, Juliana wife of Jacob Gilcher, Heinrich
Biehl, Eva wife of Daniel Biehl, and Elisabetha Fickeisen. The records
also show that both Jacob and Elizabeth were born in Fearing Twp.
It's interesting that the baptism of Clara was so small and the second
son's baptism was such a big deal. It shows perhaps that more expectations
were in place for little "Jakie" and puts the Zimmers' upset
at his untimely death into a different light.
Catherine Sams has collected
the information on the children of Jacob and Elizabeth Buertel Zimmer
listed below. Mother says that
Caroline died as a child. I also suspect that Christina and Caroline
may be the same person.
- John Zimmer (24 Feb 1871—01 Feb 1950) married
Catherine Barth (1871-1956) on 22 Feb 1899. She was the daughter of
- Caroline Zimmer was born in 1873.
- Christina Zimmer was born 04 Feb 1874.
- Clara Zimmer (17 Feb 1878—30 Aug 1942) married William Biehl (1872-1959)
on 12 Jan 1898.
- Jacob Zimmer was born in 1882 and died in 1893.
Frank Sullivan's Early Life with the Zimmers
According to my mother, Franklin Marion Sullivan grew up on the Zimmer
farm out on Pleasant Ridge, not too far from my other German ancestors,
the Noes, the Fickeisens and the Buertels.
Jacob raised Frank as a true son. The 1880 Washington County Census shows
Frank's parents living together with daughter Maggie, and infant Willie.
father, Frank D. Sullivan, is listed as working at a sawmill. Frank had
not yet been born.
Tragedy began early for young Frank. He was
born 23 Mar, 1881. According to mom's report of her grandmother Eva Noe's
memories, Frank D. Sullivan (probably the D. stood for "David") worked
"on a riverboat out of Cincinnati." He may have been a deckhand or roustabout;
it is not entirely clear. He came in and out of town for visits of a
few weeks in length. (I'm not sure exactly how to square this family
lore with the census report of occupation as "sawmill.") At any rate,
after young Frank's birth, FranK D. Sullivan reported for work and was
never again heard from. He was seen getting on the boat. The Pinkerton
Detective Agency was employed to investigate the case, but nothing definite
was ever found.
Possibly aggravated by the stress of loosing a husband, young Frank's
mother, Carolina Buertel Sullivan, developed "a wasting sickness," possibly
cancer, and died. Carolina's own mother had died when she was quite young.
Her father, Adam Buertel—another patriarch of the Berg Church—remarried
and took his family to the U.S.A. Elizabetha Buertel was the half-sister
of young Frank's mother, first child of Adam and his new bride. As a
farm wife with an established, successful family, Elizabeth and husband,
Frank's guardianship. We can infer that Frank entered the Zimmer household
somewhere around 1885. He was just a year older than the Zimmer's second
son, Jacob Karl Zimmer, born 30 Apr 1882.
Although no records or mother's memories exist of this period of Frank's
life from age 4 to 10, we can only hope that he had a relatively stable
and even sometimes happy childhood, no doubt growing up in a farm home
with chores, good food and a younger brother about his age for a buddy.
However, a sad
event darkened Frank's life when he was about eleven years old. My
mother has told me many versions of it. A crop of sorghum had been harvested
and was being processed at the mill. Frank and Jakie were left to supervise
it, and father Jacob went home and went to bed. The boys had been out
in the ox cart and were returning to the farmhouse during
a thunderstorm at 2:00 a.m. Lightning struck a tree and scared
The oxen bolted
Jakie from the ox cart. His neck was broken, and he died instantly.
The Zimmers got angry
with Frank, but eventually forgave him. Decades later, Murt Guckert
mom that the night the accident happened, he and his brothers had
heard Frank screaming, and Murt's dad and the brothers went down and
to Murt, it was the talk of Pleasant Ridge that the Zimmers blamed Frank
for the death
and they lost a lot of friends.
Frank lived with them until he married my grandmother, Clara Ida Noe
on November 12, 1912. Eventually, due to an altercation, the Zimmers
He died April 21, 1921 in Marietta, Ohio, when his only child, Lorene,
seven. I will tell more of this story in the section on my grandmother
and grandfather, Frank and Clara.
Jacob Zimmer's Obituary
Since Jacob and Elizabeth were step-parents of my grandfather, Frank
Sullivan, they are not my immediate ancestors. However, it would be interesting
to know more about "grossmutter and grossfater Zimmer," since
they played such an important role in our family relationships. Eventually,
I discovered that my grandmother had clipped and saved his obituary,
from which we find the following facts.
"Mr. Zimmer was the son of the late Jonathan and Elizabeth Renner
Zimmer, pioneer residents of Fearing township. He was born in Fearing
township on Whipple Run, near the Berg church, on September 25, 1848.
For a number of years he was engaged in the coopering trade. On January
13, 1870, he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Burtel, of Lawrence
township. The couple settled on Pleasant Ridge where they made their
home for 56 years. Early in life the deceased was confirmed in the Berg
Evangelical Lutheran church. For many years he was a prominent member
of the Ludwig Lutheran Church at Pleasant Ridge. He was for many years
a member of the board of education of Lawrence township.
"Besides his widow he is survived by a son, John Zimmer, of Mariette
R. D. No. 6, and a daughter, Mrs. Clara Biehl, of Moss Run, and two foster
grand-children, Lorena Sullivan of Marietta, and Frances Merrow, of Marietta
R. D. No. 6, also survive. A brother, John Zinmmer, resides in Lowell.
Funeral services will be held at the Ludwig Lutheran church at 2 o'clock
on Sunday afternoon, with Rev. Theophil Mehl and Rev. W. W. McClure officiating.
Interment will be made in the churchyard."
Mother's (pre-research) recollection of
David Marion Sullivan and Carolina Bartell
Once again, almost everything I know about my maternal grandfather's
parents is due to my mother, Ella Lorene Sullivan Andris. What is written
below is a slightly edited version of things she has told me over the
years. The chart was constructed several years ago and should help make
the text meaningful. As my research continues to answer more questions,
this section will eventually be deleted from this page.
David Marion Sullivan worked on a riverboat. He was born in Cork County,
Ireland, from where he had migrated. His main address was Cincinnati,
Ohio. He met Caroline Bartell on the river, (when he was fairly young)
and they proceeded to have 5 children. A lot of Irish lived on shanty
boats. People were prejudiced against them. He would go on the riverboat
after each child and come back.
Frank Sullivan was born on March 23,1881 in Pleasant Ridge, Washington
County, Ohio. His father talked about Cork and Dublin to Frank. Some
time after Frank was born he took off and they never heard from him again.
Caroline grieved about David, got cancer and died when Frank was 4 years
old. She was about 30 years old. The children were adopted out. Two little
girls got scalded to death.
Caroline Bartell had a sister named Elizabeth. Actually there were two
Elizabeth Bartells. They called Caroline's Sister "Lizzie," to
distinguish her from Elizabeth "Lisbet" Bartell, who was the
mother of Laura Bartell Withington. Laura had two brothers, Edgar and
Clarence. Lizzie married Jacob Zimmer, who in their older years were
called "Grossmutter und Grossvater Zimmer." Mom thinks that
Grossmutter died in 1926 at age 78.
The Zimmers adopted Frank, whose stepbrother, Jacob, Jr. (Jakie), and
he were about the same age. Frank and Jackie had been out in the ox cart
during a thunderstorm at 2 a.m. Lightning struck a tree and frightened
the oxen. They bolted, threw Jakie from ox cart; his neck was broken.
He was 11 when he died. The Zimmers got angry with Frank, but eventually
forgave him. He lived with them until married Clara Ida Noe on November
12, 1912. Then the Zimmers disowned him. He died April 21, 1921 in Marietta,
Ohio, when his only child, Lorene, was seven.
I don't know who adopted Bill or Maggie, but Maggie was adopted by someone
and moved to town. She had an illegitimate child who went by the name
of Marie Preston. Then she married a man by the name of Shiers, had another
child Ernest. There were no other children to mom's knowledge.
Glen Biehl, son of Willie Biehl and Clara Zimmer, is a school teacher,
still living out at Moss Run on the old home place. He married a Reed
girl, but they are now divorced. Willie Biehl was a brother to Henry
Biehl (the Biehls had about eight boys). Henry Biehl married Anna Fickeisen,
sister to Eva Fickeisen Noe. Willie was a lot younger than Henry.
The Bartells, the Fickeisens, the Biehls, the Schwartzs, and the Schrams
were the main families out on Pleasant Ridge, came and migrated from
Germany well before the Civil War. They had a little community called "Bonn" and
their Christmas celebration put the town on the map, so to speak. Also
some of the families settled the towns of Dartt and Moss Run.
William married Mary McBride before 1913. They had six children: Pearl,
Garnet, Mabel, Walter, Ralph, and Betty. Pearl was a man, very handsome,
looked like my daddie. He moved to Akron, went to work at the Quaker
Oats Company in the 20s. Garnet and Mabel also went to Akron and died
very young, in their 30s. It was in the paper.
Walter married a Schaeffer girl and they had children by the name of
Walter, Jr., Polly, Susan, Clifford, Jack, Lester. James, Lorene's oldest
son, went to school with Walter, Clifford, Jack. They lived at 303 Green.
Columbus is where some of them are. Leslie went to Alaska for a while.
Polly married Ed Hadley and works up to the Big Bear.