Peter B. Zimmer

Harriet Odom, Roswell, NM,

I have several xerox copies of newspaper obituaries that my brother obtained on a genealogical trip to Tioga Co. in 1992. It was told him that (I believe at the Co. Historian's office) these obituaries were found in the loft of the house where Peter B. had lived. The people who leased the place found them there.

This brief biography I gleaned from those obituaries.

Harriet Odom,
Roswell, NM,
Great Grand Niece of Peter B. Zimmer.

ZIMMERS of East Newark Valley

The obituaries of Peter B. Zimmer and his son, Ransom J. Zimmer give a peek into the lives of folks who lived in Newark Valley in that era.

There were at least 3 Peter Zimmers in the same time frame. So it was a bit difficult to sort out who was our ancestor. Hence the use of the initial with this man. It is thought that this man did not have a middle initial, but chose "B" to distinguish himself from Peter A. who did have an initial.

He was born in Schoharie Co, NY 17 Sep 1808-as near as we can discern from the census records. He was the oldest of 3 sons born to Johannes (John) and Azuba Hillegas Zimmer. It is believed that he is a descendant of Jacob Zimmer, one of three brothers of the early German settlers of Schoharie, NY He was brought up in Schoharie and there married Lucinda Schoolcraft in 1825 He seems to be the first of the family to move to Newark Valley, NY.

In 1827 the young couple with but a few dollars to their name, decided to strike out into then 'western' Wilderness to found a home. They went on foot through the forest to the Upper Susquehanna, followed that to Owego and them came up the valley to join Schoharie county families then located on the hills east of the valley. The young couple arrived with just $1.75 in cash and what personal belongings they could carry. The next year they bought land that was partly cleared and had a log hut on it. They lived there and cleared lands and planted crops until 1839 when Mr. Zimmer, attracted by a splendid growth of pine, from which he wished to make shingles ,at the summit of land between Newark Valley and the Maine valley. He bought 140 acres there and built a small frame house, which was burned awhile before 1933. Here he cleared lands, and farmed and made shingles from the great straight pines. The shingles were drawn with teams to Ithaca and shipped from there by way of the lakes and Erie canal. He was an expert shingle maker and from one large chip taken from the butt could always tell a good "shingle tree". He was a great worker, clearing his farm of 140 acres and then adding to it until at one time he owned nearly 300 acres.

In common with others who came from Schoharie county and settled the eastern part of Newark Valley, he suffered the usual privations of the early pioneers, while clearing from the forest fine farms for themselves and their families..

From deeds of 1840-1850 it would seem that Peter B.'s brother, William, lived near him for a short time. After 1850 William and his younger brother, Solomon, took their families to Whiteside Co., IL. Later William was known as one of the oldest citizens of IA (Clinton)-across the river from Whiteside Co., IL. These men were certainly hardy. Though they may not have reached the century age, they were well into their 90's. Peter B. and his wife, Lucinda Schoolcraft Zimmer, lived together 60 years. Lucinda died in 1886 but Peter B. continued to live on the homestead farm, much of the time alone. This couple had at least nine children. Most of them stayed in Tioga Co. and their descendants continue there until now (the new millennium) Their son , Ransom J. Zimmer, also outlived his siblings and into his nineties. At the time of his death in it was said that Ransom was probably the last of his generation of the native born sons and daughters of the early settlers of that section known as East Newark.

In his last year Peter B. consented to live with his sons, but his health remained remarkable for one of his age. In his last illness he was able to sit up and his mind was apparently as clear as ever. He died in 1904.

There is a list of deceased at the Zimmer Cemetery of East Newark Valley in the office of the County Historian in Owego, Tioga Co., NY. In this Zimmer cemetery several of the descendants of Peter B. were buried. M.K. Zimmer, Jr. from California visited Newark Valley in 1992 and was shown this cemetery by his cousin's wife. The fallen tombstones were almost covered by the growth around them.

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Ernie Miles