Zimmer: Family Tree

The Family of James G. Zimmer

Carman & Fordham Ancestry of James G. Zimmer

I've been thinking a lot about religious belief and about people who decide it's time to pick up and go. So I'm doubly intrigued to find that Jim's ancestry traces back to the Puritans who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630.

The Puritans were disgusted with the Church of England, which was looking way too "Catholic" for their severe tastes. Meanwhile, King Charles' people were trying to suppress the Puritans. So a group of Puritans got the idea they'd settle in America. They weren't separatists (like the Plymouth Rock pilgrims), but they needed some breathing space for their reforms. They saw themselves as the new Chosen People and did a lot of reading in the Old Testament about Moses and the Israelites. They were reformers. They were also Calvinists, who grimly understood that they had to be very, very virtuous and work very, very hard to prove they were God's elect.

Jim's ancestors arrived in America at Roxbury village (now part of Boston) in 1631. I give them credit for their sense of adventure, religious passion, and energy for exploration. Among Jim's direct ancestors were the Reverend Robert Fordham (1590-1674), whose daughter Florence (1610-1656) married John Carman (1606-1658). Their Salem-based buddy was Captain John Seaman (1611-1694) who was married to Martha Moore 1639-1698) and whose daughter Hannah (1637-1732) married John/Florence's son John (1633-1684).

Something about the Mass Bay Colony didn't sit well with Fordham, Carman, and Seaman and they moved south into Stamford, Connecticut. These Puritans were very adamant about how they practiced their religion and their politics. Little breakout sects wanted life their way and America gave them the opportunity to move on.

Still not satisfied, the 37-year-old Carman and his 53-year-old father-in-law Fordham, crossed the Long Island Sound to Long Island and made a treaty with the local Massapequa Indians to buy 120,000 acres, which stretched from the Sound in the north to the ocean in the south. They called it Hempstead, after Carman's home in England.

Hempstead was settled in 1643 by a band of Puritans who sailed across the Long Island Sound from Stamford, Connecticut in search of a place where they could more freely express their particular brand of Protestantism [Presbyterian]. They were led by the Rev. Robert Fordham and John Carman, both disciples of the Rev. Richard Denton, the leader of their sect. They landed on Long Island at what is now called Roslyn village and trekked southward across a great prairie where they stopped between two fresh water streams and several small ponds. They bargained for the land with the leaders of the local native tribes and made an agreement that allowed them to establish a "town spot" at what is now the Village of Hempstead as well as establishing property rights to what are now known as the Towns of Hempstead and North Hempstead. [source]

This is now, of course, part of the metropolitan area of New York City. Captain Seaman became one of the first magistrates of the area. Fordham went on to become the vicar of Southampton, farther out on the island and was said to be a very rich man. Those Calvinists!

The "begats" in a nutshell:

Robert Fordham (1590-1674) + Elizabeth Shotbolt (1587-1637) = Florence Fordham (1610-1656); + John Carman (1606-1658) = John Carman (1633-1684); + Hannah Seaman (1637-1732) = Caleb Carman (1657-1693); + [?] = Caleb Carmen (1688-1735); + Ann Mott (1688-1781)= Benjamin Carman (1714-1795); + Mary Bedell (1710-[?])= Samuel Carman (1749-1817); + Mary DeMott (1750-1824) = Richard Carman (1785-1825); + Ann Carman (1788-1876) = Richard Carman (1824-1904); + Elizabeth Hewlett (1827-1909) = Mary H Carman (1852-1881); + James Harvey Griffith (1854-1918) = Mary Edna Griffith (1876-1946); + Charles Henry Zimmer (1872-1938) = James Henry Zimmer (1904-1995); + Orpha Spicer (1905-2003) = JIM (1932-...)

That 13 generations of Americans... now plus two more with Jim's kids and grandkids.


Reading: The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell.

Early History of Hempstead Long Island. Achives.Org, reprinted from the NY Genealogical and Biogrsphical Record, Vol X, No i, Jan 1879.

History of Hempstead Village.

Annals of Hempstead contains a great deal of information about relationships with the Indians, with the Dutch, and among themselves. Includes court proceedings... in which you can observe lots of the ancestral names suing one another.