Jesse was the son of Daniel & Mary (Arter) Zimmerman. He worked as a truck driver and well driller. He and his brother Merton were also the first school bus drivers in Plainfield, IL. He married Lulu Boner on 15 October 1904; they had one son, William. Jesse died while working at a local gravel pit. He was working on his truck when the ground beneath it gave way, overturning the vehicle on him and killing him instantly.