One of the delightful surprises of writing this blog is being found by other Willems and Zimmermann descendants. The photos of the pulpit below were sent to me by Dennis Zimmerman who lives in Winkler, Manitoba. He is another great-grandchild of Heinrich H. Zimmermann. HHZ’s son Henry (1895-1977) was Dennis’ beloved grandfather.
The pulpit is in a scale model replica of the Brotherfield Mennonite Brethren Church near Waldheim, Saskatchewan. I’d heard that my great-grandfather Zimmermann made the pulpit for the Brotherfield MB Church, but gave it little thought. The snapshot my dad had was dark. I couldn’t see any details, just saw the usual pulpit shape. I had no idea how beautiful it was until I saw these photos Dennis sent.
My aunts Mary Davis and Rosella Noble said that their Grandpa Zimmermann was a carpenter and made beautiful cupboards in people’s houses when he lived in Reedley. They also said he painted flowers on them. Those flowers can be seen on the top of the pulpit.
Heinrich Zimmermann was not just a carpenter. This pulpit is a beautiful piece of furniture, and I’m wondering if the factory where he worked in Sergejevka might not have been a furniture factory. The Mennonites in Russia did build furniture, and this pulpit looks very much like some of the painted furniture in the book, Mennonite Furniture: A Migrant Tradition (1766-1910).[i] I’ve not yet found mention of a furniture factory in Sergejevka, but that does not mean there wasn’t one there. I will see if I can find out more information.