Millar Scholarships

The Millar Scholarship Fund was established in 1968-1969 and has been providing college scholarships to Reynolds District high school graduating seniors since 1970.  Some years, the financial awards have helped as many as sixty students with college expenses.

The fund – which earns a modest annual return from its original investment – was set up by Jessie May Zimmerman Millar, who died December 2, 1968, at age 84.  She and her husband, Thomas Millar, who had died ten months earlier, had no children.  However, both she and her dairyman husband valued education.  They wanted to use the money they had accumulated over the years for scholarships.  Her will stated that the money would go to a graduate from a high school in the Reynolds District.  It was her wish that the scholarship be given to students who have shown desire and ability, but lack the financial means to attend a university.  Representatives from Jessie’s church, Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church, and the appropriate staff of the high school would decide the awards.

To understand it all one surely must ask – who were the Millars anyway?

That’s where we get into some serious Oregon history.  Let’s go back to November 29, 1845 in Philadelphia when Jacob Zimmerman and Lena Schoepfel were married.  By 1851 they had two children and had joined a wagon train of emigrants bound for the Oregon Territory.  They arrived in October, 1851, and located on Hayden Island near where the Jantzen Beach Shopping Center is today.  However, in the spring of 1852, floodwaters engulfed the island and washed out the Zimmermans.  They then moved to east Multnomah County near Fairview Lake and thus became one of the founding families of Fairview.

The Zimmermans purchased a 331 acre Donation Land Claim on December 30, 1869, near what is now Sandy Boulevard and just west of what is now 172nd Avenue.  Today the Zimmerman Heritage Farm and farmhouse still occupy part of that acreage.

In 1881 Jacob Zimmerman rented operation of the farm to his son, George.  George Zimmerman married Jessie McCall on September 26, 1883.  They had four daughters.  The first was our benefactor Jessie May Zimmerman, born July 27, 1884.

She was reared in that farmhouse at 17111 NE Sandy Boulevard.  On September 12, 1906, at the age of 22, she married Thomas Millar at that same Zimmerman House.  They married under the grade arbor on the west side of the house.  They moved to property nearby.  She and her husband ran the dairy.  He died February 7, 1968.  She died about ten months later on December 2, 1968.  Before she died she drafted a will that provided the scholarship fund for graduates of Reynolds High.

Jessie May’s Siblings:

Olive Hope Zimmerman was born April 26, 1889, in the Zimmerman House.  She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1913.  On July 16, 1919, she married the Rev. Paul D. Holfman.  Olive died in Burbank, CA on December 23, 1980, at the age of 91.

Mabel June Zimmerman was born in the Zimmerman House in 1891.  She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1913 with Olive.  Mabel died at age 23 on December 2, 1914 by choking on a chicken bone.

Isobel Faith Zimmerman was born July 3, 1899, in the Zimmerman House. She graduated from the University of Oregon in mathematics and science.  She taught at Portland’s Franklin High School from 1930-31 school year and retired the school year 1960-61.  She never married and lived in the Zimmerman House all her life.  She died August 6, 1992 at the age of 93.  She willed the house and contents to the Fairview-Rockwood-Wilkes Historical Society for the enjoyment of future generative and also to be used as a tool for educating others about Oregon’s agricultural pioneers.

History of the Property:

Zimmerman House built in 1874
Photo linked from Fairview Rockwood Historical Society

Jacob and Lena Zimmerman built the first home in 1870, which was a log cabin.  They planted pear trees on the west side of the cabin. These trees still grow and produce.  Then in 1874 they built the farmhouse.  The brick dairy building (the buttery) was built in the 1890s.  George’s dairy products were sold from here.  It still stands near the road.  In 1899, George and his wife remodeled the house.  Family members and local history preservationist place the Zimmerman House on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

A visit to Zimmerman Heritage Farmhouse would give you a better appreciation for the Zimmerman and Millar pioneer families and the Millar Scholarship Fund.  The house is open for tours every month on the third Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

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