History & Genealogy of
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Cities, Towns and Villages in Palos .....
MICHAEL ZIMMER. Perhaps no one name has been longer and more closely associated with positions in the public service in Cook County than that of Michael Zimmer. He has been sheriff, member of the City Council, former warden of the Illinois State Penitentiary and is now warden of Cook County Hospital, but the holding of public office has been incidental and in a measure subsidiary to a record of service for the public which is second nature with him. Had he never held a public office he would none the less have de served a large measure of appreciation be cause of his sincere interest and efforts in behalf of his fellow men, particularly the unfortunates. Michael Zimmer was born in Palos Township, Cook County, May 26, 1864, and he grew up in the rugged hills and woods of the Palos district. His parents were Peter and Catherine (Birren) Zimmer. His father, who came to Cook County about 1857, was a blacksmith by trade and prior to the Chicago fire he was an employee of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company.
Michael Zimmer had only the advantages of the public schools and, beginning as a boy, he helped his father and in that way acquired a fundamental knowledge of the blacksmith and iron-working trades. Michael Zimmer is a fine craftsman, and wood working has been a lasting hobby and as a leisure-time occupation perhaps nothing gives him more satisfaction than turning out intricate scrolls and other figures in wood. This was a skill he picked up and largely developed through his own efforts. He has also worked as a de signer in ornamental iron. At one time during his early manhood he was employed by the Chicago Malleable Casting Company, and later he went with the McCormick Harvester Company. From 1886 to 1890 he was with the Story & Clark Organ Factory. Here his skill at scroll made him one of the company's highly paid experts in designing and executing the wood scroll and inlay work for the organs. For a number of years Mr. Zimmer was in the grocery and market business, and still later conducted a real estate and insurance office. His personal popularity as a citizen has always been supplemented by power as a leader among men, and he would have been a force in politics had he never aspired to public office. He served as a member of the Chicago City Council and in November 1910, was elected sheriff of Cook County, serving four years. He was also for six months city comptroller. In 1915 he gave up his business, at the personal request of Governor Dunne, and went to Joliet to take over the arduous and difficult responsibilities of handling the state penitentiary as warden. From this office he resigned in 1917 and, returning to Chicago, became warden of the Cook County Hospital and has been head of the business and executive administration of that great institution practically since the new hospital was completed. When it comes to noting some of the other points of community service it is difficult to enumerate them or give a just idea of their importance. The chief object of his interest in the unfortunate has been crippled children. While a member of the City Council he was responsible for an appropriation to support a school for crippled children, known as the Spaulding School. He has been called the god father of that institution and has kept in touch with every successive development of its facilities and service. The Spaulding School is a recognized model the country over among institutions of its class. Mr. Zimmer is on the executive committee and is vice president of the Chicago Plan Commission. He became a member of the commission when it was established in 1909, and deserves an important share of the credit for the magnificent accomplishments which have been carried out under the auspices of that commission and which have largely re created the material form and arrangement of the city. To other organizations to which he has expressed some of his community service have been the Kiwanis Club and the West Side Club, of which he is a former president. He is a member of the Lions Club, the Midwest Athletic Club, the Steuben Club, German Club of Chicago, Iroquois Club and Knights of Columbus. Michael Zimmer married Rose McConville, who was born in LaSalle County. Illinois. She passed away in 1924. She had five children: Alice Zimmer; Ellen, wife of Eric F. Grundin, a Chicago attorney, and mother of three children; Harry Michael, in the insurance business at Chicago; and Rose and Mabel, twins, the former the wife of Henry J. Riggert and the latter the wife of Fuller B. Bailey. ("ILLINOIS, The Heart of the Nation" by Hon. Edward F. Dunne, Volume IV, 1933, Transcribed by Kim Torp)
1860 Mortality Schedule for the Town of Palos
1880 Mortality Schedule for the Town of Palos
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