Posted By:Chuck Timmerman
Subject:Accurate identification of Johann Jacob ZIMMERMAN – Palatinate member - 1764-65
Post Date:February 25, 2011 at 12:45:56
Message URL:
Forum:Edgefield County, SC Genealogy Forum
Forum URL:

Identification of Johann Jacob ZIMMERMAN – Palatinate member - 1764-65

For those of you that are not familiar with how the ‘back country’ of colonial South Carolina first was populated, and especially Edgefield and surrounding counties, may I suggest you view the wonderful study and analysis performed by Gordon Rampy on the Poor Palatines at

There you will see the enormous work that Gordon did in identifying the group and sorting them into families. The historical documentation of 1764-65 that was created by the South Carolina governmental Council does not assimilate the folks into families. Gordon’s work, using these documents, and applying the resulting land grant acreage, along with other documentation from later years, wills, Revill list, etc., results in identifying my ancestors, and possibly those of you reading this.

For my ZIMMERMAN family, later ‘Americanized’ to Timmerman by poor spelling, writing, etc. of the era’s recorder, the data that Gordon had was lacking in that one (1) of the children he assigned did not have a given name to show. Using the formula the Council followed in calculating land grant, Gordon came up short with the family, relative to the 300 total acreage allotted, of 50 acres. This shortage of a name indicated a male child under the age of two (2) years; thus, with the confirmed children of Anna (9) and George (2), the family now had an un-named male child. Upon their arrival, another male was born, Johann Peter ZIMMERMAN, but being born on land, rather ‘at sea’, there was no acreage granted for that child.

This brings me now to the purpose of this post; that being to identify that un-named male child. Upon arrival in 1764, the family had one (1) identified male child, George at age two (2). There was also a no-gender child of less than two (2).

In a letter written about 1906, Washington Hodges TIMMERMAN (dob 1832) wrote a letter in which he stated his grandfather (Jacob TIMMERMAN) had two (2) brothers, Henry and Peter. He further stated that Peter “never married”, and had been born “at sea” and was “the youngest” of the three (3) boys of the immigrant, Frederich Wilhelm ZIMMERMAN. In previous postings to this forum, we have posted documented references from the federal government clearly showing that Peter was not ‘born at sea’ (arrival of ship Union), and had been ‘married’ (1850 governmental mortality report). We will now address the “youngest” reference.

But before that, let me state here that this is not a repudiation of the W.H. Timmerman letter. By the time he was born in 1832, there had been two (2) major wars in the newly organized United States of America, with the result that the immigrant Frederich Wilhelm having been killed in the Revolutionary war, leaving behind a widow in a strange and hostile environment due to the fact that her husband, and son Henry, had been Loyalists in the war. More on ‘Henry’ to follow.

In addition to the above comment about W.H. Timmerman, bear in mind that in 1906 he was in his 70’s, and memory of ‘hand-me-down’ facts may have begun to be vague and confusing due to the duration of time. While a fact or two (2) in the letter may be flawed, nevertheless it is an ‘historical’ document in it’s own right, and must be realized for that.

So, from above, we have designated the ‘legend’ that Peter was born ‘at sea’ as a flaw in the letter. After their arrival in South Carolina, there has been nothing found since to indicate that Frederich and Margaretha ZIMMERMAN had born other children. That fact supports our analysis that Peter was in fact the LAST, and the “youngest” that the W.H. Timmerman letter mentions. However the flaw that W.H. made is now rampant throughout the internet genealogy sites, like, and others, as well as unknown numbers of non-diligent descendants adopting the flaw as ‘gospel’.

With Johann Peter identified, we now turn to Jacob, more likely Johann Jacob since the German practice was to use that additional name as a sort of entitlement, akin to the American manner of addressing all males, infant or otherwise, as Mister or Master, as it was when I was a child in the 1940s.

For the time era of these individuals, the late 1700s, early 1800s, there were three (3) sons. As they matured, they began to be marked in the census reports as ‘Head’ of household. The 1790 census report, being the first, was not well designed, with the result of analysis being difficult. However in the 1800 census, records begin to be a bit more clear.

The 1800 Edgefield census report lists all three (3) sons as alive and heads of their household. Henry is in the OLDEST age range of 45+. Peter and Jacob are in the YOUNGER category of 26-44 years. The 1810 census reflects all three (3) brothers in the same range of 45+.

On November 1, 1832, Henry applies for a pension from the American government. Apparently after Frederich was killed as a Loyalist in 1779 during the Siege of Savannah, sometime later Henry signed on with the Patriots, as quoted in his application for the pension. In that application, he swears to the pension application process testimony that he, at that time, was “72 years, 7 months” of age.

Subsequently in amendments to his initial testimony, he affirms this age again. Following that is a sworn statement, by his brother Peter, that the “… statement of his service by the said Henry is correct.” Therefore, using the age that Henry swore to, it results in a birth date of about April, 1760, meaning that he, as mentioned above regarding the 1800 census, was the OLDEST.

1.       With Johann Peter having been born in 1764, he was the ‘youngest’.
2.       With Henry being recorded in the SC Council record at age of two (2), coupled with being reflected as the oldest on the 1800 census report, further coupled with the statement he swore to in 1832, and even further supported by a sworn statement from brother Peter, Henry was the ‘oldest’.
3.       This leaves only Jacob to be the aforementioned ‘less than 2’ un-named male listed on the analysis that Gordon performed in the writing of his research. True that the birth year of 1760 calculation is a couple of years off when compared to the 1764 records that Gordon calculated, but that can once again be attributed to memory fog and/or confusion of an elder person.

If you reflect Jacob ZIMMERMAN/TIMMERMAN, or more appropriately Johann Jacob ZIMMERMAN, as being born in the later years of the 1760 decade, like 1768, that is incorrect.

As mentioned above, a similar analysis on the George individual referred to and named on the SC Council records, and marked as being the age of two (2), will be similarly discussed in an upcoming posting.

As with all our research results, I am always open for discussion. This item can be summed up this way …
‘I did not write this … I read it!’
Meaning that the facts, sources, etc. referenced herein have been in existence longer than the time I have on this earth.