The pioneer real estate man of Nampa, and a man to whose activities the city and surrounding country owe much of its importance, Benjamin F. Walling is regarded as one of the city’s most representative men. He is a westerner by birth, and has spent practically all of his life in this part of the country, where he has brought himself from obscure and humble youth to a position of independence and prominence among his fellows. Mr. Walling was born near Salem, in Polk county, Oregon, November 24, 1848, and is a son of Jesse and Eliza Ann (Wise) Walling. His father, a native of Virginia, came to Oregon in 1847, from the state of Iowa, making the journey overland by ox team. He was engaged in the business of buying and shipping grain to England and had many and varied interests, being also a merchant and steamship owner, and a large and successful owner of land on the Pacific coast. His death occurred when he was fifty-two years of age. His wife was a native of New York, and was taken by her parents to Iowa in girlhood, there meeting and marrying Mr. Walling. She accompanied him in the overland trip to Oregon, bravely and uncomplainingly sharing the dangers and hardships of that long and perilous trip, and proved a valuable aid to him in his early struggles for a competence, and a dignified head of his home when he had attained prominence.
Benjamin F. Walling was the fourth in line of a family of thirteen children, and secured his education in the public schools of Oregon, which he attended until he was eighteen years of age. After leaving school he at once started assisting his father in his various enterprises, being associated with him until the time of the elder man’s death, when he removed to California. One year later he entered the Sierra Nevadas at a milling camp, there embarking upon a mercantile career, but subsequently disposed of his interests and went to Hood River, Oregon, when he conducted the Mount Hood Hotel for upwards of five years, meeting with much success. In 1886 Mr. Walling came to Idaho and settled in Nampa when the town was marked by a section house and miles of desert waste. He here assisted in founding and building up the town, platting tracts of land and erecting many structures. On coming to this place he started to deal in real estate, and with this business he has continued to be connected to the present time. He is a charter member of the Chamber of Commerce. Politically, he is a Democrat, but he never cared for public office, and has declined all overtures to that end.
Mr. Walling was married at Albany, Oregon, November 6, 1872, to Miss Georgia M. Conley [sic], daughter of J.B. Conley [sic], a pioneer of that state, and four children have been born to them: Jesse J., who is associated in the real estate business with his father at Nampa; Dora, who is deceased; Frankie G., single and engaged in the millinery business at Nampa; Benjamin F., Jr., who lives in this city. The members of this family are well known and high esteemed in Nampa, where they have numerous warm friends. Mr. Walling takes a pardonable degree of pride in the fact that the left home without funds, and through his own efforts has builded up a large business and made his name respected by his associates. All matters that pertain to the welfare of Nampa or the vicinity find in him an interested listener, and when movements of a beneficial nature are started, he is bound to be found in the vanguard with other earnest, hard working citizens.
Source: French, Hiram T. 1914. History of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company.