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John B. West, the register of the land office, at Lewiston, was born in Leicester, North Carolina, July 31, 1861. The family to which he belongs is of English origin and its founders in America became residents of the south in colonial days and participated in the development of that part of the country, taking part in many of the events which go to form its history. Erwin West, the father of our subject, was a native of North Carolina and married Miss Caroline Dover, who was likewise born in that state. They had a family of fifteen children, eleven of whom are now living. The mother departed this life in 1898, at the age of sixty-seven years, but the father still resides on the old homestead, highly respected throughout the entire countryside where he has so long continued his residence. He owned an extensive plantation, and while not a slave-owner or a believer in slavery neither was he an abolitionist. His neighbors were slaveholders and he was willing that they should keep them, as he could see no feasible plan for doing away with the system. When the country became engaged in civil war, he was opposed to the severance of the Union, but such was the excitement and such was the pressure brought to bear on him that he was forced to join the Confederate forces. A number of his neighbors, however, who held views similar to his own, escaped to the north and joined the Union army to fight under the old flag. This so enraged the secessionists that they secured thirteen young boys, the sons of the Union men, stood them up in a row and shot them down. One of the boys begged not to be shot in the head, but his request was disregarded, and the bullets pierced him in the same manner as they had the others. This so horrified and exasperated Mr. West that he resolved to fight on the side which had his sympathies and which he believed to be right. Accordingly at the first opportunity he escaped, and joined the Union forces, remaining as a follower of the stars and stripes until the close of the war. When peace was restored and his country saved, he returned to his southern home, where he is now passing the closing years of an upright and honorable life, a worthy and law-abiding patriot.
John B. West, whose name introduces this record, having acquired his preliminary education in the public schools of North Carolina, supplemented it by study in the Weaverville College, and in the Wesleyan University. He studied law with Mayor W. H. Malone and J. S. Adams, of Asheville, North Carolina, and was admitted to the bar, having carefully prepared himself for the labors of his chosen profession. He received an appointment as internal revenue collector, and held that position until August 8, 1891, at which time he started for Moscow, Idaho, arriving at his destination on the 16th of the month. There he engaged in the practice of law with good success until April 1898, when, through the instrumentality of Senator Shoup, his warm personal friend, he was appointed by President McKinley to the position of register of the land office. He has always been a stalwart Republican, unwavering in his allegiance to the party, and unfaltering in his support of its men and measures. He entered upon the duties of his office May 16, 1898, and is now filling the position in a most capable and acceptable manner. He served as chairman of the Latah county Republican central committee for eight years, devoting much of this time and energy to the advancement of his party’s interests, and his labors were most effective. In the discharge of his official duties he has ever been prompt and faithful, and no trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed.
Socially Mr. West is connected with the Masonic fraternity, the Modern Woodmen of the World and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and he and his wife are members of the United Artisans. Mrs. West formerly bore the maiden name of Susan M. Henderson, and their marriage was celebrated May 17, 1889, at Carlock, Tennessee. Their marriage has been blessed with a son and daughter, Bonnie Lee and James Everett. They have a nice home of their own in Moscow, and enjoy the confidence and esteem of a wide circle of friends.