Lawrence D. Test was born December 5, 1869, on a farm near Salem, Ohio. He attended public schools near his parents’ farm until he was 14 at which time the family moved near York, Nebraska. He continued in public school at York and studied for a year and a half in a Methodist seminary.
In 1894, he married Roe Calfee and moved immediately to a farm. He remained near York for the next 10 years, engaging in general farming and fattening beef cattle for market. March 1, 1905, the Tests moved to Mitchell and engaged in the wholesale ice cream business for four years. He purchased the present farm two miles south of Mitchell, South Dakota in 1909.
When Mr. Test moved to his farm, he began dairy farming in a small way with a herd of 10 common cows. Five years later, in an effort to improve his herd, he purchased five purebred Holsteins. From this nucleus, grew a herd of 30 purebred Holstein cows practically all of which were registered. The herd was headed by a sire that won first in his class at the South Dakota State Fair and second at both the Wisconsin and Minnesota fairs in 1939.
The herd was enrolled in a cow testing association for three years. The Test herd made the remarkable record of averaging 551 pounds of butterfat per cow for one year, with the top cow producing 685 pounds of fat.
All of the milk produced was bottled and sold on a retail route conducted by a son.
The business of the Test dairy farm at the time of Mr. Test’s recognition was conducted on a factory producing basis with Mr. Test, Sr., running the farm, feeding the cows and producing the milk, while his son delivered the milk to consumers and kept the accounts in order.
Mr. and Mrs. Test had four children, three daughters and one son. All of them attended college.
He was an active member of the Methodist Church with which he was associated since he was 14. He was a trustee of the First Methodist Church of Mitchell, and was a member of the Farmer’s Union.