Portrait and Biographical Record of Genesee, Lapeer, and Tuscola Counties, Michigan; pub. 1892 Chicago by Chipman Bros. page 277
John Zimmerman is one of the foreign-born citizens of Flint, whos elife here has been marked by industry, frugality and success. His brick factory ws establishe din 1859, and has been one of the prominent institutions of the city. He was born near Frankfort on-the-Main, Prussia, May 12, 1835. His father, Christian, in 1868, came to America and located in Flint, making his home with our subject until he died in 1876, at the age of seventy-three. He was a Lutheran in his religious faith, as was his good wife, Catherine E. Smidt, who was also a Prussian by birth, and died in the Fatherland. Of their five children three are still living.
He of whom we write had his training upon the farm and studied in the public schools until he was fourteen years old, when he began to work for wages, receiving about $13 the first year. As these wages did not rapidly increased, he decided to come to this countyr, and set sail June 11, 1853, and landed in New York, August 14. He found work in Buffalo, N.Y., for three years, and in 1856 came to Flint, where he worked for Amos Decker at the River House, after which he entered the employ of McQuigg * Turner in their lumbering industry. For one year he had charge of the lath saw, and after that worked for various parties, one of them being in the brick-making calling, so that he learned to master that business, and in August, 1859 he started his own yard. His first brickyard was carried on for seven years, and then he ran two yards for eight years longer, after which he disposed of his second yard.
About six acres of Mr. Zimmerman's land was platted by him in 1865 and sold as an addition to Flint. Half of the buildings in this city are constructed of bricks made in his yards, and he ships by the car-load. The brick for the court-house, asylum and High School, and for all the churches were manufactured by him and be built the German Church as he was the Chairman of the Building Committee. Since 1886 he has engaged in contracting and building, but has now retired from that work. The Durand Block and the Catherine Building and the Stone & Atwood Block are of his work.
Our subject was unite din marriage in 1860 to Miss Elizabeth Deitz, who also of German birth, and they have seven children - John, Henry W., Katie, Lydia, Jacob, Emma and Rosa. The eldest succeeds his father in the brick business, and the second son has entered the clothing business; Katie is now Mrs. Fanning; and Lydia is Mrs. Burgdorf, of Bay City. All have received excellent opportunities for education and are a credit to their parents. Mr. Zimmerman was for six years an Alderman, and was the Street Commissioner of the city for one year. He belongs to the Free and Accepted Masons, the Royal Arch Masons, the Knights Templar, the Knights of Honor and the Anicent Order United Workmen. He is a Trustee of the Evangelical Church of which he is a charter member, and for years he has been Superintendent of the Sunday-school. He is an earnest and active Reupublican, being a member of the city and county committee, and frequently a delegate to county and State conventions, and has acted several times as Interpreter in the courts. He had no schooling in America, but has picked up all that he has been able to gain in that way. He built the Catholic Church, which is one of the finest in the city, and furnished and raised the electric light towers, nine i number, each of which is one hundred and ten feet in height.