William E. Timberlake was born in St. Charles County, Missouri, on June 26, 1838, the son of Benjamin E. and Eliza M. (Overstreet) Timberlake. The father was a contractor, born in Madison County, Kentucky, in 1808, and his mother, formerly Mrs. Ball, was also a Kentuckian. The mother of our subject was born in Albermarle County, Virginia, in 1817 and her parents were Virginians. Our subject lived with his parents until he was eighteen years of age, then went to work for himself in the community until twenty-nine years old; he then decided to come west and in 1867 we find him in Walla Walla. In his boyhood days, he had gained his education from a subscription school, walking many miles and then paying for the privilege of learning. This arduous way had hardened him into the traces of life, he was filled with vigor and ready for the occasions presented in the west. He clerked for a time, then went to Lewiston and was soon in the mining town of Warren, where he spent four years clerking, from 1868 to 1872. Then he went to Walla Walla and on May 1, started for Texas, where he bought a herd of cattle, then left there June 20, landing in southern Colorado, October 1, 1872. Wintering there, the next spring found him on the drive again, and on November 13, 1873, he turned his stock on the range in Routt County, Colorado. He handled them there until June 25, 1880, then sold out and came to Lewiston, landing there on July 25. He had been very successful in the cattle business, but in 1879, at the breaking out of the Utes, he lost heavily, and now has a claim of twenty thousand dollars against the government, which is being litigated. Arriving in Lewiston, he purchased the Raymond house, on July 30, 1880, and from that date until March 4, 1901, he was installed as manager of that popular house, and continued as such until March, 1901, when he leased the hotel.
Mr. Timberlake has real estate interests in the country and property in Lewiston. At one time he was interested in the Lewiston Mercantile Company but sold out in 1901. At present he has mining interests. At one time Mr. Timberlake was elected mayor of Lewiston but refused to serve, and has always declined the honor of public office, but has labored hard for his friends’ election. He is allied with the Democratic Party, and laconically remarks that he has been trying to elect a Democratic president.
Mr. Timberlake was married in 1876 and has now one grown daughter. Mr. Timberlake had relatives on both sides of the struggle in the Civil war and was in and out of the lines on both sides and had many thrilling experiences. While in the stock business he was active against the Indians in the outbreak. One of his herdsmen, Mowery by name, was killed by the Indians. Swift Timberlake, of Liberty, Missouri, who for so many years fought the James and Younger boys, and traced them so much, was a noted officer in the entire country, and a cousin of our subject. While Mr. Timberlake was in the stock business, the government sent special agents out from Washington a number of times to quell the Indians and prevent their driving him out of the country.
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Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903