He was the fifth generation of men in a row to rise to the highest level of civic life in Uri and around Switzerland. By 1550 he was living in Lugano where he served as the chief clerk. He became the treasurer of the Canton of Uri in 1558. In 1564 he moved to Thurgau and lived for two years in the Frauenfeld Castle where he served as the landvogt, or bailiff, of Thurgau.
He likely returned to Uri in 1566 and was made a Knight in the Order of St. Michael in 1567. In 1570 he was appointed the steward, or top deputy, of the Canton of Uri and from 1579-81 he served a term as the Landammann of Uri. The office had also been held by his father Mansuetus, his grandfather Johann, his great-grandfather also named Johann, and his great-great grandfather Walter Zumbrunnen.
Johann was also a representative to the Swiss diet from 1558 to 1587, and an envoy to King Henry III of France in 1582. He was a representative to the Religious Council of Milan with King Phillip II in 1588. During the Council of Trent, from May 1562 to June 1563, he represented seven Catholic bishoprics in Rome with Pope Pius IV.
According to the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland: “He was probably the noblest and most distinguished man of the time in Uri, an intimate friend of Charles Borromeo, and with the Knight Melchior Lussi a chief promoter of the Catholic interests in central Switzerland.”
In 1580 he donated 2,000 florins (nearly $300,000 in modern terms) to the Einsiedeln monastery. With his brother Josue, he was the donor of a bell for the St. Martin Church in Altdorf. He left no known heirs and died in 1588.
Name: Johann Zumbrunnen
Offices: Chief clerk in Lugano, 1550; treasurer of Uri, 1558; landvogt of Thurgau, 1564-66; Knight in the Order of St. Michael, 1567; Steward of Uri, 1570; landammmann of Uri, 1579-81; representative to the Swiss diet from 1558 to 1587; envoy to King Henry III of France in 1582; representative to the Religious Council of Milan with King Phillip II in 1588.
Father: Mansuetus Zumbrunnen
Mother: Barbara Aschwanden
Siblings: Erasmus Zumbrunnen, Magdalena Zumbrunnen, Margarita Zumbrunnen, Walter Zumbrunnen, Dorothea Zumbrunnen, Lucretia Zumbrunnen, Mansuetus Zumbrunnen, Kunigunda Zumbrunnen, Hugo David Zumbrunnen, Josue Zumbrunnen
Spouse: Anna Schuler
Children: None known
Cousin: Martin Zumbrunnen