Joshua S. Zimmerman

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 524-525

JOSHUA S. ZIMMERMAN has been a prominent member of
the bar at Romney for over a quarter of a century. His
practice has involved a great deal of business organization
work, and he has been interested personally and as an at-
torney in the commercial orchard development in this sec-
tion of the state.

Mr. Zimmerman was born near LaPlata, at his mother’s
old home in Charles County, Maryland, January 16, 1874.
The Zimmerman family lived near Baltimore, and their
estate in that vicinity was the scene of activity of five
generations of the family. Rev. George H. Zimmerman,
the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in
Baltimore County, on the ancestral estate, about three
miles from the City of Baltimore, in 1838. He was a
graduate of Dickinson College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania,
and entered the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South. During the Civil war he was
chaplain in one of the Virginia regiments in General Ros-
ser’s command in the Army of Northern Virginia. After
the war he resumed his church work as pastor, and was
also presiding elder of Moorefield, Roanoke and Baltimore
districts. While in charge of the Baltimore District
he died in 1898. Rev. Mr. Zimmerman married Henrietta
A. Rowe, of Glymont, Charles County, Maryland, daughter
of William H. and Ann (Cox) Rowe. She died in 1888,
at the age of forty-six. There were three sons: Joshua
S., of Romney; Edgar R., of Ruxton, Maryland, member
of the firm T. T. Tongue and Company, Baltimore agents
of the Baltimore Casualty Company; and George H., min-
ing engineer of Whitesburg, Kentucky.

As a minister’s son Joshua S. Zimmerman lived in a
number of towns in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia.
However, most of his youth was spent in Woodstock and
Salem, Virginia, and he was a student in Roanoke College
at Salem in 1885-86, and in 1888 entered Randolph-Macon
College, where he graduated A. B. in 1892. For a time
he was a tutor on a Mississippi plantation at Shelby, and
in 1893 became a clerk in the Census Department of the
Government at Washington, during the second Cleveland
administration. He was a clerk there three years, and in
the meantime studied law, attending the night law school of
Columbia, now the George Washington University, graduat-
ing LL.B. in 1896.

Qualified by education and experience for his profession,
Mr. Zimmerman located at Romney, opening his office in
July, 1896. His first case before the Circuit Court was
West Virginia vs Smith, charged with “breaking and en-
tering with intent to commit larceny,” which case he lost.

Since then he has had a general practice in Hampshire
and adjoining counties and in both the Federal and State
Courts. Seven years after he began practice he was ap-
pointed prosecuting attorney to fill the unexpired term of
W. B. Cornwell, resigned, and was twice thereafter regu-
larly elected to the office, serving altogther nine years and
three months.

Mr. Zimmerman is a member of the dominant political
party of Hampshire County, has been a leader in the party,
served as chairman of the county committee, member of the
Second District Congressional Committee, and has attended
judicial, senatorial and state conventions. He was elected to
the House of Delegates in November, 1920, and was made
floor leader of his party. Governor Comwell appointed him a
member of the road commission to draft a new West Vir-
ginia State Road Law in connection with the fifty million
dollar bond issue authorized at the 1920 election, as an
amendment to the State Constitution. Mr. Zimmerman also
supported the strict prohibition enforcement legislation
introduced and passed while he was in the House.

Concerning his connection with the commercial orchard
industry in this locality, he promoted several companies, is
an officer in them and legal adviser, and is individual owner
of 150 acres of apple orchard. He is attorney for
the Capon Valley Bank at Wardensville, and handled
the legal matters in connection with the incorpora-
tion of this bank. During the World war Mr. Zimmerman
was a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the county
and was attorney for the County Food Administration. He
personally registered under the last draft.

On October 10, 1900, near Eomney, Mr. Zimmerman
married Miss Kitty Campbell Vance, daughter of John T.
and Mary Elizabeth (Inskeep) Vance. The Inskeep and
Vance families were pioneers in the South Branch Valley
and have been associated by marriage with the Heiskells,
Gilkesons and other well-known families of this region.
Mrs. Zimmerman was born on the old Vance estate near
Romney, second among four children. Her brother William
A., lives at Clarksburg, her second brother, Henry Machir,
is a farmer near Romney, and Frank Vance died in early
manhood. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Zimmerman are
Mary Elizabeth, a student in the Mary Baldwin Seminary
at Staunton, Virginia; George Henry, Vance and Kitty
Campbell at home.

Mr. Zimmerman is a member of the West Virginia Bar
Association, is affiliated with the college fraternities, Phi
Delta Theta and Phi Delta Phi, and is an active layman in
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, being steward of
the Romney congregation and for a score of years has been
superintendent of its Sunday school. He represented the
church in district and annual conferences. Mrs. Zimmerman
and several of the children are Presbyterians.