From OTTAWA: OLD AND NEW A complete history of Ottawa, Illinois - 1823-1914
The furniture and undertaking establishment of E. E. Gladfelter, 222 W. Madison St., was founded in 1862 by Simon Zimmerman and has been in continuous operation ever since. Mr. Zimmerman, born on a farm near Highspire, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, January 6, 1821, came to Ottawa in 1847. Having learned the carpenter's trade before migrating west he engaged in building operations for a while after reaching this city. Shortly afterward, however, he entered into partnership with Henry Coles and began the manufacture of furniture in the Rugg building near the canal. In 1862, he sold his interest in the factory to George H. Rugg and purchased Mechanics Hall, the site of the present Gladfelter store, in which he opened a retail furniture establishment. Previous to this, on February 6, 1861, Mr. Zimmerman was married to Olive Cooper, who was born near Schenectady, New York, August 7, 1831. Miss Cooper came to Ottawa along about 1855, and was a vest maker. At one time she was connected with the vest making department of Fiske & Beem; at another time she had charge of the machines and sewing room of A. Alschuler's tailoring establishment. In the conduct of his business, Mr. Zimmerman was eminently successful. He was careful, conservative, energetic and honest, and throughout his career, from the date of his marriage until his retirement, his wife, who, her household duties having been disposed of, spent all her time in her husband’s store, ably assisted him. Mr. Zimmerman continued in the active management of the business until 1889, when his son-in-law, E. E. Gladfelter, assumed charge. The business, however, was run in the name of S. Zimmerman until his death, which occurred in 1894. Mrs. Zimmerman, still living, made her home with Mr. and Mrs. Gladfelter. There were two daughters in the family, Jennie, who lived in Ottawa, and Anna (Mrs. Gladfelter).