William Lee Zimmerman (1869 – 1953)

     William Lee Zimmerman, the oldest child of Samuel J. and Sarah Zimmerman (Simmerman), was born on Christmas Day 1869.  William would greet four more siblings over the ensuing years.  His younger sister Anna, born in 1878, would die as a child but brothers Frederick Booth and Parker as well as sister Effie would all survive to adulthood.

frank-o-zimmerman

William’s great-nephew Frank O. Zimmerman

     William would marry Sophronia Jane Pierce on March 16, 1890.  William was 20 years old, while Sophronia was 17 years old.  They would be married over 60 years.  Only Sophronia’s death in 1951 ended their long union.

     William and Sophronia welcomed a baby girl Lillian Mae Zimmerman into the world on December 15, 1891.  Lillian married Grover Cleveland Lambert on September 8, 1909.  Lillian, who was known as May, and Grover Lambert had five children.

     On May 12, 1904, William and Sophronia welcomed a second child, Theodore Roosevelt “Doby” Zimmerman.  “Doby” married Anna Lee Cambron on May 4, 1927.  “Doby” and Anna had four children.  “Doby” passed away on March 15, 1987.

     William exemplified the transition to the new rural economy in the first half of the 20th Century.  While William often listed his occupation as farmer, he managed a factory for many years.

     Based on his position and a large family, Fornfelt, Missouri voters elected William to the position of Fornfelt Town Marshal.  William held the position for many years.

     On January 7, 1951, Sophronia Jane passed away after a year-long battle with cancer.  William himself was battling an illness, which would take his life two years later.  The loss of Sophronia may have been a blow to hard to recover from.

     After Sophronia’s death, my grandfather Frank O. Zimmerman helped other family members take care of Uncle Lee as they called William.  Grandpa and other family members would stop by William’s home in Fornfelt to start a fire in his wood stove.

     William passed away on May 26, 1953 at 83 years of age.  The oldest son of Samuel and Sarah outlived all of his younger siblings except for the baby Effie, who passed away in 1956.

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