Wayne County Biographies

Part of the Indiana Biographies Project

Zaccheus Test, A.M., M.D.

According to well authenticated family traditions the Tests are of Flemish extraction, but were residents of England fully two hundred and fifty years ago. They espoused the faith of the Society of Friends and three of them are said to have accompanied William Penn to America, settling in the eastern part of "Penn's Woods," or Pennsylvania. Thence some of them drifted to Salem, Salem county, New Jersey, and there Samuel Test, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born, January 8, 1774. He was a hatter by trade, but made farming and milling his chief business after his removal to Indiana. On the way west he stayed for a short period at Waynesville and Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1816 arrived in Union county, this state, where he lived many years. Finally he came to Richmond and died here, in 1856. He was a strong anti-slavery man and a Whig, and was very active in the Society of Friends, of which he was a life-long and a useful member. He married Sarah Maxwell, also a native of New Jersey, and to them were born ten children.

The parents of Dr. Zaccheus Test were Samuel, Jr., and Hannah (Jones) Test. The father was the second child of Samuel and Sarah (Maxwell) Test, and was born in Salem, New Jersey, August 6, 1798. He accompanied the family on its removal to this state, and in the spring of 1835 he came to the vicinity of Richmond and embarked in the manufacture of woolen goods, near the well known "Test Mills." He departed this life in 1849, respected and beloved by all who knew him. He, too, was a devout and faithful Friend and aided materially in the work of the church. Of his seven sons, the Doctor is the second. The eldest, Josiah, died in 1864; William, Rufus and Oliver, all reside at present near the Test Mills; Erastus is professor of mathematics in Purdue University, at Lafayette; and Lindley M. is engaged in the insurance and real-estate business in Peru, Indiana.

Dr. Zaccheus Test was born in the village now called Quakertown, Union county, Indiana, September 13, 1828. After irregular attendance at the common schools he entered "Friends' Boarding School" (now Earlham College), at its opening, in 1847, and after a two-years course went to Haverford College, at Haverford, Pennsylvania, where he was graduated in 1851. A year later he took up the study of medicine, being a student of Dr. William B. Smith, of Richmond, and graduated in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1855. Poor health compelled him later to give up the profession. Having assisted in the organization of the institution, he became, in 1859, a member of the faculty of Earlham College, where for several years he was in charge of the classical department. In 1866 he accepted a position in Howland School, Union Springs, New York, where he remained till 1879.

During all these years the Doctor was closely occupied in study, especially in the line of the history and systems of philosophy. In 1861 or 1862, Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania, conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts. In 1874-5 it was his privilege to spend a year abroad, mostly at the University of Tubingen, southern Germany, occupying the vacations more or less in European travel. Returning by way of England, he was appointed, in 1879, supervisor of German in the public schools of Richmond and served in that capacity up to the close of 1898. As an educator he has met with encouraging success. His heart and mind have been wholly in the great work, and he seems especially gifted by nature and training to lead and develop the mental faculties of the young.

In 1879 Dr. Test became a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church, and a year later was ordained a deacon. In 1883 he was admitted to the priesthood and for three years was the rector of the Connersville church. For fourteen years he has been the honorary assistant of St. Paul's parish in Richmond. Into religious work, as into everything else which he undertakes, he puts his whole soul and talents, and by the strength of his noble personality wields an influence for good that cannot be estimated.

In 1857 Dr. Test married Miss Elizabeth M. Pray, of Dublin, Wayne county, who died in 1870. Their two living children are Alice T. and Mrs. W. W. Gilford. Miss Alice is a graduate of the State University and of the State Normal School, and for several years has been a successful teacher in the schools of Richmond. In 1876 the Doctor married Miss Sarah Anthony, of Union Springs, New York, his present wife, a cousin of Miss Susan B. Anthony.

Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Union and Franklin Counties, Indiana, Volume 1, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1899