Many years of unremitting industry enabled F. W. Zimmerman, a former agriculturist of Macoupin county, to retire to Bunker Hill, where he enjoyed the ease and comfort denied him in his youth. He was born in Hanover, Germany, on the 8th of November, 1822, a son of William and Minnie (Debuhr) Zimmerman, in whose family were seven children. The mother died soon after the birth of the youngest child and later the father married again, and by that union there was born a son and a daughter. He was a farmer and a member of the Lutheran church, in accordance with which faith his children were reared. Only four members of the family ever became residents of the United States: F. W., our subject; his two brothers, John and Richard, both farmers in this county; and his half-brother, Henry, who is a resident of Bethalto, Illinois.
F. W. Zimmerman lived in the fatherland until he was twenty-five years of age, when he resolved to become a citizen of the United States, feeling convinced that conditions here must be very much better for a man of limited means than in Germany. In the summer of 1848 he took passage at Bremen on the sailing vessel Post for New Orleans, where he landed ten weeks later. He remained there that winter, but when transportation opened in the spring he came up the river to Alton, Illinois, locating in Madison county. Being seized with the gold fever in 1850, he started for California, together with Henry Keizer and John Heind, driving five mules and a wagon. They started in April, crossed the Missouri at St. Joseph and followed the old Fremont trail. Seventy-four days later they arrived at Hangtown, California, where Mr. Zimmerman prospected for six months, meeting with good success. Having the misfortune to crush his ankle and being unable to procure the proper medical attention, he decided to return home, so with his sack of gold dust he boarded a vessel for the isthmus. The boat stopped at Cuba and then proceeded to New Orleans, where he took a boat for Alton. For a time he farmed in Madison county and then bought a place on section 33, Bunker Hill township, which he cultivated for over twenty-five years. His agricultural pursuits proved so lucrative that he was finally able to live in comfort on the income from his property and retired to Bunker Hill, where he continued to reside until his death, which occurred on the 21st of September, 1911.
Madison county was the scene of the marriage of Mr. Zimmerman and Miss Margaret Post, also a native of Hanover, Germany, who came to this country on the same boat with Mr. Zimmerman. She is now deceased but their union covered a period of forty years. Unto them were born five children, all but one of whom are now deceased. In order of birth they were as follows: William, who died at the age of eight years; Willie, who was nine months old at the time of his death; Anna, who died when she was twenty-four years of age; Frank, who was thirty-four when he passed away; and Herman F., who married Belle Duffey, now the owner of an excellent farm in Bunker Hill township, which he operates.
Mr. Zimmerman affiliated with the German Methodist church of which his wife was also a member. When first granted the right of franchise through naturalization he cast his vote for the democratic party, but after the Civil war he always supported the men and measures of the republican party. He was one of Germany's enterprising sons, who came to this country empty-handed, and through his own energy intelligently applied became one of the affluent citizens of the community.