The history of the Pike County Courthouse clock

Published 6:30 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Frank L. Zimmerman was born in 1854 in Pennsylvania to parents William and Julia Zimmerman, who were of German descent.  He could trace his ancestry from the Thirty Years War and is in the fifth collateral generation of the famous Dr. Johann  Zimmerman, the physician for Frederick the Great.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

Mr. Zimmerman was a watch maker and jeweler by trade.  He came to Troy in 1880 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and in 1882, he brought his wife from Philadelphia to join him in Troy.  He was a Mason for over 50 years and helped establish nine lodges in Southeast Alabama.  Mr. Zimmerman was also an observer of the U S. weather bureau at Troy beginning in 1910.  He is most well-known for keeping the court house clock in working order.

In 1953, The Troy Messenger ran a story about the old court house clock.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

After more than a half-century of service to the citizens of Troy, the old court house clock has been put out of service.  This symbol of time for hundreds of Trojans for many years has finally stopped.  The clock ran down just past two o’clock Tuesday afternoon, October 13, 1953.

A group of citizens started the clock again by winding it, but the old timepiece has stopped again.

According to the best information available, the clock was purchased second hand and brought to Troy in 1898.  Previously it was in the old Moses building has been torn down and the First National Bank now stands on the site.  It is not known exactly how many years of service it gave while located in the Moses building but Trojans know that it has served this community for the past approximately 55 years.

Until his death in 1934, a local jeweler, Frank Zimmerman took care of the clock.  For the past several years Herman Moll has serviced the old timepiece.  It is believed that the works in the  clock are “Howard.”

Some citizens say their first recollection of school days are centered around the clock and the beautiful musical tone it used to have when striking.  The feeling of most people now when talking of the old clock is one of sadness.

Another interesting story about Mr. Zimmerman was written on April 21, 1915.

Frank L. Zimmerman, Sr., of Troy, is perhaps the only man in Troy who ever saw Abraham Lincoln, and he saw him only after Lincoln’s body lay in state at Philadelphia, in the old Independence Hall.

According to Mr. Zimmerman, who was then a boy of thirteen years of age, Lincoln’s body was carried to Philadelphia after the assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, in April, fifty years ago.

Mr. Zimmerman says that he was one of the thousands in Philadelphia who viewed the body as it lay in state.

The fiftieth anniversary of the death of Lincoln recalls this to mind.

Lincoln was shot at 10:20 p.m., April 14, 1865.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.