|by Nancy Cioch|
History of the Timmermans
Written by Nancy Cioch
Ira Timmerman was the first of the Timmermans to live in Snell's Bush. One month after his marriage to Adaline Heller, on Jan 29, 1851, he bought the farm on Snell's Bush. (Melvin Timmerman's farm today) Ira paid $5,500 for it from Henry Dockey who had owned it for 17 years. He lived there until about 1868. In 1858, the old frame house was becoming too small for his family of five children plus his wife's parents and her brother. He built the large brick house and tore down the old one. Their 11th child was born in 1868 and that year, Ira bought the farm at Manheim Center. Corliss Timmerman told this story:
"My Dad told me that Ira had purchased a coal oil lamp and since he did not have any other container for the oil, had put it in one of his black whiskey jugs which was empty at the time. This jug was stored in the pantry near the whiskey jug. It was the habit for the oldsters of those days to have a nip before the noon and night meals and Uncle Hans Heller would hurry and get washed up before anyone else got to the pantry and the jug first. One noon he was not gone long before he came back sputtering and spitting, damning the boys as someone had switched the jugs and Hans had a mouthful of kerosene. Ira tried to find out who had done it but no one seemed to know. Dinner was over and all was quiet when Ira noticed a grin on William's face. "What's so funny?" asked Ira and William answered, "I was just wondering if we would have to put a wick in Uncle Hans to burn the oil out." It is needless to say who got the licking.
In the period 1865-1870 there was a woolen mill in Ephratah and every spring, Ira and his wife would drive to this mill with a democrat wagon load of wool to be cleaned, carded, spun and woven into cloth for pants, shirts, etc. They even grew flax for linen which was used for finer cloth such as tablecloths and other garments. Not too long after the Civil War, Ira Timmerman built the farm buildings at Manheim Center. Also the hotel and south of that a one half mile race track which became a favorite meeting place for all the people for miles around. Around the race track were many concessions such as games of chance, shell games and other amusements. Including a steam-driven merry-go-round complete with calliope music. The hotel was a gathering place for many of the German emigrants, many coming from Dolgeville, as Ira was fluent in the German spoken by them. In fact, Ira could not speak English until he attended school taught by a Yankee teacher down on the old Turnpike where he was born and brought up. The hotel was used as a voting place for many years. It also had a ballroom used for town meetings as well as dances. Under the ballroom was a large space used for a cockpit as rooster fights were very much in vogue at that time. Corliss's parents ran the hotel for a few years then moved to Snells Bush. Father was in the hotel for 17 years, then leased it for a long time and finally sold it. " Corliss said that his parents never belonged to the Snells Bush church. His mother was denied membership on the grounds that anyone who sold whiskey and served it over a bar was not a fit person to belong to that church. This was ordered by David Snell who died in a drunken stupor. In spite of all his parents supported and attended services and his Mother worked with the Ladies Aid Society for suppers and other doings but could not belong and had to step out of sight when photographs were taken.
According to a newspaper dated August 29, 1882, "Races occur at Ira Timmerman's track in Manheim tomorrow and the next day. All races will be to harness. Purses to be from $60 to $200." Another item dated October 23, 1883 had, "Good weather favored the races at Timmerman's last week and a large number of people were present to witness the sports. The gambling tables were in full blast during the races." Ira's hotel burnt down some time later.
In 1884 William and Carrie (Caroline Broat) bought the home farm from Ira, for $14,000. At that time Little Falls was the center of the cheese industry. Farmers took their milk to the neighborhood cheese factories and the finished cheese was delivered to Little Falls where it was shipped far and wide. Later when Wisconsin became a larger producer, the cheese business declined locally and a recession set in. By 1901 William and Carrie were unable to meet their mortgage payments and nearly lost the farm. The mortgage of $10,580 was reduced to $4,580 since no one else was likely to keep up payments. This enabled William to hold onto the farm until times got better. William and Carrie had two sons, Clarence and William Ira. Clarence and William Ira graduated from Little Falls Academy. Clarence went on to Albany Business College and graduated as an accountant. William Ira was also sent to business college in Utica.
Clarence took over the operation of the home farm. Grandfather Ira announced when William Ira finished his education that he wanted him to come and live with him. Carrie did not want Will to go to live with old Ira but he had to go and in a few years inherited the Manheim Center farm. Ira Timmerman died in 1904. Will married Leta Bellinger in 1907.
William was kicked by a horse in the hip and suffered a broken hip which in those days went unset. He was a cripple, unable to do any work on the farm. Melvin says that he remembers it but Aunt Bertha said it was before her marriage. Grandfather William could walk a little way with his cane. In summer he spent many hours sitting on the front porch; in winter he was confined to the house. Grandfather William lacked one month of being 74 when he suffered a stroke at the dinner table and died a few days later, on June 6, 1926. Melvin was nearly 17 at the time that the will was read. The farm was left to Melvin with Uncle Clarence having life use of it. Grandmother Carrie broke her hip and was confined to bed for quite a long time before dying of pneumonia on the 4th of July at the age of nearly 85.