Early history


The Zimmerman family arrived in the United States sometime around 1795.  We do not know the year or the location of their arrival, but we do know that our ancestor, Michael Zimmerman, was born in North Carolina in the year 1799.

After moving westward the Zimmermans settled in Ohio, and later, in Iowa.  According to family historical accounts, in the year 1871 Michael’s son, Gabriel, sold the farm and he and his family boarded a train bound for the city of San Francisco, California.  They spent that winter waiting for conditions to improve before sailing north to the Columbia River and Fort Vancouver which was part of the Washington Territory.

After arriving in Vancouver, Gabriel Zimmerman purchased 180 acres of land and buildings from Gottlieb Wagonblast, who was the original homesteader.  This parcel contained some of the same ground that is being farmed today.  The original borders are approximated by 119th Street on the south, 87th Avenue on the west, 134th Street on the north and the Chelatchie Prairie Rail Road on the east.  They named the farm “Leaning Oaks” because of several large trees in the farmyard.  The original homestead is no longer in existence, but it was located north of 119th Street on the east side of 87th Avenue.  (map)

Both the farm and the family continued to grow throughout the end of the 19th century and two additional houses were built to support the expanding family.

The farm had cows, pigs, horses and chickens and they grew their own hay and grain for the animals.  They also harvested a lot of the timber that was located on the property.

Sometime around the turn of the 20th century Gabriel Zimmerman gave ownership of the farm to his son Edward Gabriel Zimmerman.  Edward had been born in Wright County, Iowa in 1866 and had married Martha Higdon of Manor (Orchards), Washington, in 1888.  It was Edward and Martha who began changing the farm into one that specialized in chicken production and became the Zimmerman Hatchery.

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