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Copyright 2009 John Zipperer 

From Berlin and London and Reutlingen ...

Who Are the Zipperers?

The Zipperers in our family came to the United States from Germany and settled in the Chicago area. Rev. John Zipperer was born at Languen, Wuerttemberg, Germany, December 22, 1859, and died in Chicago February 17th, 1933, 73 years later. He was licensed as a minister by the German conference in 1879, and lived a while in Reutlingen, where he finished his course in Evangelical Theology.
Family of John and Louise Zipperer
Above, my great grandfather's family (my father's grandfather) stands for a portrait. My grandfather, Paul, is in the second row on the far right. In the front row center is my great grandmother Louise and her husband, John.
Grandfather Rev. John Zipperer
Rev. John Zipperer (above), my great grandfather (my father's paternal grandfather), came to the United States to serve a church and, ever the good German, got off the boat wanting a cigar and a beer. Told he couldn't have either as a clergyman, he relished his visits to my grandfather's home, where he was liberally supplied with both.
My Father's Maternal Grandmother
Above, my great-grandmother (my father's maternal grandmother) and her family in Switzerland, before she came to the United States. I do not know if they brought any chocolate with them.

In America he preached one year in the Kansas Conference, coming to Illinois in 1886. He retired from active service in 1921. His father was Johannes Zipperer (October 18, 1818, to January 20, 1903) and his mother was Apolonia Zipperer (November 23, 1818, to February 8, 1904).

Rev. John Zipperer married Julia Louisa Ehrhardt in 1887, and they had several children. Julia's father was also a reverend. If there is a connection with the Austria Zipperers and the Zipperers from Germany, we have not yet unearthed it.

There is a family folktale that the Zipperers originated on the island of Zapora, off of Crete. My sister researched this with the help of a Greek Archeology Professor from Cornell and learned that there is no longer an island by that name; it was split by an earthquake and is now merely two small islands used for grazing by local goat herders.

The legend, actually, was that three sons were fighting over the land, so the father banished them. They settled in three areas: Germany, Austria, and Russia.

Who Are the Holts?

My mother supplies some info on her family. Her great grandfather, Richard Holt, came from London, England (though she's not sure about the date; it was sometime in the 1800s). He married Emma Mattison from Pennsylvania. They lived in Port Washington, Wisconsin (near Milwaukee), and raised six children: Richard, Edith, Ethel, Charles, Frances, and William. Charles Holt was her grandfather, and he married Mary Tippman August 11, 1900.

Mary Tippman was the daughter of C. Fred Tippman, from Saxony, Germany, and Margaret Reiter. (Old courthouse records being somewhat sloppy, there's uncertainty about where she came from).

Anyway, Charles and Mary Holt lived in Port Washington and had seven children: Emeline, Walter (Wally), Ralph (Toody), Frances (Tootsie), Edith and Roland (who was called Raleigh). The seventh child, Harry, was a son who died at birth in 1906.

Walter Charles Holt was my mother's father, or just Grandpa Holt as I knew him. He married Elvira (also known as Vera, or Vi, though I think it's cool that I have an"Elvira" in my family somewhere) Steig, also of Port Washington. We do not know a lot about her family's history, but we do know that her grandfather was a tailor and spoke mostly German.

This may be one of my favorite photos of all time. My great grandparents Holt (my mother's grandparents) are shown kissing (Above). The occasion was their 40th wedding anniversary. They are shown in their wedding photo (front row, below). I don't know the names of the people standing behind them.
And we come to the recent past. Here is my mother, Carol Holt Lahey, shown when she was about 20.

As my mother writes: "I believe [my Aunt] Ethel said [Elvira's] mother (hell on wheels) was from Berlin." Hmmm, that part of the family is starting to sound more and more interesting! I will try to get more information about them in the near future. Anyway, they had two children: Ethel Emeline and Carol Frances — my mother. (I agree with my mother, who noted how neat it is that those names come down through the families.)

My great grandfather, Charles (Charlie), worked at a furniture manufacturing plant in Port Washington. He was a master woodworker and did a lot of fancy inlaid wood designs on tabletops, etc. He made the case for the mantel clock, which now sits in my mother's living room, as a gift for his wife Mary.

My grandfather, Walter Holt, began working at a gas station in Port Washington in his teens. Then motion pictures arrived and he began working at a theatre in that town. He later moved to Milwaukee and began working for Marcus Theatres (a large theatre chain in Wisconsin). He began as a projectionist and moved up to serve as manager of a theatre. Shortly before he retired, he was managing the Rialto Theatre in Kaukauna, plus an outdoor theatre between Appleton and Kaukauna (both in northeastern Wisconsin). My mother has a certificate that he received from the Allied Theatre Owners of Wisconsin in 1963. It is the Showmanship Award for "...his outstanding public relations program in connection with his 'Summer Reading Club for Children' at the Kaukauna Free Public Library."

And They Knew It Was much More than a Hunch

These two branches of my family merged in the early 1950s, when my mother, Carol Frances Holt, met and married my father, Burton Earl Zipperer, in Chicago. They soon moved north to Wisconsin, where they had four children: Jeffrey Allen, Andrew Paul, Susan Elizabeth, and John Burton.

Of course, there is more information (and pictorial representation) to come. I've collected more information on my paternal grandmother, Lillian Becker (later Zipperer).

Wow, You Know a Lot, Zippy!

The photos are courtesy of my father, Burt Zipperer, and mother, Carol Holt Lahey.

The information comes from the recollections of my mother, father, aunt, and the research carried out by my sister, Susan Zipperer. I'll try to get more out of her, particularly the U.S.-portion of the great Zipperer family saga.

Those of you who know me know that I am quite proud of my family. So, come back and enjoy this history of it. And if you know anything about either branch of my family that would be interesting to add here, please let me know.