Bullitt County History

James Robert Zimmerman

The first sketch below is taken from the Legislative History and Capital Souvenir of Kentucky, Volume No. 1, 1910 - Portraits and Sketches of Senators, Representatives and Officials and Attaches of the Various State Departments which was published in Frankfort, Ky., March, 1910 by William E. Bidwell and Ella Hutchison Ellwanger, Publishers. This was prepared as part of the celebration of the new Capitol Building at Frankfort. This excerpt may be found on page 127.

The second sketch that follows is taken from History of Kentucky, Judge Charles Kerr, Editor, Volume IV, 1922, page 554.


Representative Forty-First District in 1910

J. R. Zimmerman

J. R. ZIMMERMAN. Representative Forty-First District: Shepherdsville. District, Bullitt and Spencer counties. Democrat. Lawyer. Born near Fincastle, Va., Dec. 8, 1867, a son of Edward O. and Mary (Custer) Zimmerman. His paternal grandmother was a Henry, and closely related to Patrick Henry. On his mother's side he is related to General Custer. His father was a brave Confederate soldier, a member of Ewell's Brigade, of Longstreet's command, and was an artilleryman. His mother was one of that band of heroic women who for four years toiled and prayed incessantly for the success of the Heroes in Gray, and who, at the close of that great struggle, joined heart and hand with the survivors who devoted their lives to the rehabilitation of the bleeding South. Was reared on a farm and learned to cut and build stone and to construct buildings and bridges. Came to Kentucky in 1889 and became associated with the McDonald Jail Building Co. of Louisville. Cut stone during the day and studied law at night. Licensed to practice law by Judge S. E. Jones. J. W. Croan and W. C. Hays at Shepherdsville, in December 1893, and began to practice at that place immediately. Is loyal and uncompromising Democrat. Served as City Attorney of Shepherdsville two terms, trustee of Shepherdsville Graded School one term, and Town Trustee one term. Elector for Fourth Congressional District on Parker ticket in 1904. County Commissioner for Bullitt county during Kentucky Home-Coming in 1906. Nominated for House in June, 1909, defeating his primary opponent by 924 voles, the largest majority ever given a candidate in Bullitt county in any kind of election. Single.


James Robert Zimmerman. In the profession of law at Shepherdsville one who has made marked progress in his calling and who is rated among the substantial legists of Bullitt County is James Robert Zimmerman. Not alone as an attorney and a citizen has he been a leading figure in the activities of his community, but in public positions of trust and responsibility, where he has contributed generously of his abilities for the furtherance of the welfare of his locality and its people.

Mr. Zimmerman is a product of the agricultural districts of Botetourt County, Virginia, having been born on a farm near Fincastle December 8, 1867, a son of Edward O. and Mary Virginia (Custer) Zimmerman, natives of the same county. George W. Zimmerman, his paternal grandfather, was also born in Botetourt County, Virginia, October 26, 1796, and was the son of a native of Germany, whose first name has been forgotten and who married a Miss Thrasher of Virginia. About 1818 George W. Zimmerman married Mildred Henry, a second cousin of the great patriot Patrick Henry. He died October 3, 1873, at the old Virginia homestead, his widow surviving him until December 2, 1880.

Edward O. Zimmerman was born March 20, 1841, and as a youth followed farming until the outbreak of the war between the states, when he enlisted in Ewell's Brigade, Longstreet's Corps, of the Confederate Army. He saw three years of hard service in the Army of Virginia, and after securing his honorable discharge returned to his duties as an agriculturist and died near the place of his birth April 15, 1908. He was a man of high principles and strict integrity, and in politics was a democrat, while his religious faith was that of the Methodist Church. On September 26, 1865, he was united in marriage with Mary Virginia Custer, who was born August 13, 1846, and died May 25, 1912, in the faith of the Baptist Church, of which she had been a life-long member. They became the parents of thirteen children.

James Robert Zimmerman was reared on the home farm in Botetourt County, Virginia, where he attended the public schools, and remained as his father's assistant until reaching his majority. In 1888 he accepted a position with the McDonald Jail Building Company of Louisville, and Kentucky has been his home since that date. He severed his connections with that concern in February, 1892, at which time he commenced the study of law, to which he had previously given some attention, and in December, 1893, was admitted to the bar and commenced practice at Shepherdsville. He has since been engaged in a general civil and criminal practice and has been connected with much of the important litigation that has been tried in the courts. He is recognized as one of the leaders of the Bullitt County bar and as a man of strong mentality, well grounded in the principles of his calling and possessed of the ability to apply them in a manner successful to the interests of his clients.

A democrat in his political allegiance, Mr. Zimmerman has long been prominent in the ranks of his party. He has served in both the Upper and Lower Houses of the State Legislature, and has held numerous minor offices, including several which have had to do with the cause of education, of which he is a great friend. Mr. Zimmerman was active during the World war period and was a member of the Draft Board of his district. He is a Methodist in his religious belief and as a fraternalist is a Master Mason. He is unmarried.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/jrzimmerman.html