William A. Testerman

Biography of William A. Testerman

William A. Testerman
William A. Testerman

William A. Testerman is a true frontiersman and in many ways and districts he has shown forth the proof of this. He was born in Newton County, Missouri, on August 6, 185 1, being the son of Harvey and Nancy (Eads) Testerman, natives of Tennessee, whence they came to Newton County, Missouri. The father died in 1853 and our subject was brought up with his mother and stepfather, Perrin Fay, with whom he came to Fredonia, Wilson County, Kansas.

In 1872 he went to Sherman, Texas, then on to western Texas where he was a cowboy for years. The Comanches were hostile at that time and as he was a member of the Texas Rangers, he had many skirmishes with the redskins, but was never wounded, although he has seen many killed by their deadly arrows. Mr. Testerman was with the noted scout, Jack Stillwell and had much frontier experience. His health failed and, alone on horseback, he made the trip to San Juan, Colorado, encountering hostile Indians and much hardship. He was without food for three days and laid out at night. He mined in Colorado and also had a hay ranch, and in 1878 left that country for Goldendale, Washington. He bought some horses there and in 1879 drove them to Wyoming.

On May 8, 1881, Mr. Testerman married Miss Annie B., daughter of Ephraim and Sarah J. McFarland. Mr. and Mrs. McFarland came from the east to Linn County, Oregon, in pioneer days and there Mrs. Testerman was born. Soon after his marriage, Mr. Testerman took another trip with horses to the east, this time taking his wife with him. They had a fine time, hunting deer, birds, antelope, and catching fish. Following this delightful trip, Mr. Testerman settled in Gilliam County, Oregon, and secured twelve hundred acres of fine land. He did well raising wheat and the year of the panic had fifteen thousand bushels, which he hauled twenty-five miles and sold for nineteen cents per bushel. This strain ruined him financially and he was forced to come to the reservation with borrowed money. He rented land from the Indians in the vicinity of Lapwai, and in 1899 he bought his present place of one-half section from the state, it being school land. His estate is located four and one-half miles east from Nez Perce. The farm is in a high state of cultivation and Mr. Testerman is one of the heavy property owners of this section. He has a fine residence, excellent barn, and all outbuildings and improvements that are needed on the farm. Mr. Testerman rents one hundred and twenty acres of Indian land nearby and does a general farming business and also raises stock. He own a share in the tramway to Kamiah. Eight children have been born to this happy couple, Charles A., James F., Annie B., William M., Ada C, Ida E., Harvey E. and Robert L.

Mr. Testerman has always been an intrepid and skillful frontiersman and although much in the midst of rough men. he has never allowed himself to be intemperate or immoral and is the possessor of an unsullied reputation.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903

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