JOHN OLIVER WEST
In the profession of law, one of two elementals play a prominent part in the attainment of success, one being great talent and the other great industry. Coming from the former condition are the minority, who lend emphasis, color and brilliance to a vocation which :rests largely upon the dry foundations of fact, while to the latter and larger class is given the task of upholding the substantial pillars of jurisprudence and maintaining those inviolable tenets which secure the greatest justice and the greatest liberty to the society of mankind. Among the lawyers of the younger generation who are practicing with great success at the bar of Harnett County, one whose solid talents and well-stored mind contribute to a whole of great practical importance to the community is John Oliver West, who has been engaged in practice at Dunn since 1921.
Mr. West was born on a farm in Sampson County, North Carolina, August 4, 1893, and is a son of Handy H. and Sudie (Hargrove) West, the former a native of Sampson County and the latter of Duplin County, this state. Handy H. West was born in 1862 and was reared to agricultural pursuits, to which he applied himself in early life, and in which he continued to be engaged throughout an industrious and honorable career, his death occurring May 12, 1925, when he was sixty-three years of age. He was a man who held and merited the esteem of the people of his community, because of his honorable dealing and his good citizenship. He was not a politician or a public man, but could be counted upon to support movements for higher morality and the institutions of learning and religion. Mrs. West passed away February 13, 1913.
John Oliver West received his early education in the rural schools of Sampson County, where as a boy and youth he devoted the rest of his time to assisting his father in the improvement and cultivation of the home acres. He was also given one year of instruction at Buies Creek Academy, and secured a teacher's certificate, which enabled him to teach school for three years in Sampson County and two years in Pitt County. Teaching with Mr. West, however, was but a means toward an end, for he had set his heart on a career in the law, and eventually took a correspondence course in that profession, in addition to which he attended summer school at Wake Forest College for two years. In this manner he was able to secure the training which allowed him to pass the examination, and in August 1921, he was admitted to the bar. He at once established himself in practice at Dunn, where he has since built up a large and important clientage, including some of the leading business houses of this thriving little city. He maintains offices in the Wilson-Lee-Turlington Building on Broad Street, and his practice is of such a character as to carry him into all the courts, he being equally at home in any branch of his profession. On September 1, 1926, he formed a partnership with D. M. Williford for the general practice of law under the firm name of West & Williford. As a lawyer Mr. West possesses a thorough knowledge of the technicalities of law and their application, as undertaken by the general rather than by the special practitioner. Clear and logical in presenting a case to a jury, he is keen in locating the weak points in the armor of his antagonist, but his success has been gained without animosity. He is a close student of his profession and a member of the Harnett County Bar Association and the Dunn Bar Association, of which latter he is secretary. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masons. In 1918 Mr. West enlisted in the United States navy for the World war and saw nine months of service, being discharged in December 1918. He belongs to the American Legion and to the Dunn Chamber of Commerce. A republican in his political convictions and allegiance, Mr. West has been prominent in the ranks of his party, and in 1926 became a candidate for the office of state representative from his district. His home is located on East Pearsall Street.
On September 30, 1919, Mr. West was united in marriage with Miss Etta Hargrove, who was born in Sampson County, and is a daughter of Wiley G. and Sarah A. (Wilson) Hargrove, natives of the same county. Mr. Hargrove spent his entire life as a farmer in Sampson County, where he was highly respected and esteemed and where his death occurred in August 1923. Mrs. Hargrove still survives and is a resident of Dunn.
To Mr. and Mrs. West there have been born three children: Gordon O., born September 28, 1920, who died December 3, 1921; John Oliver, Jr., born September 26, 1922; and Darrow Gay, born June 6, 1924. Mr. and Mrs. West are consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in the work of which they take an active part.