Benjamin F. Walling

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.

Jesse J. Walling

Important real estate interests at Nampa, Idaho, claim the attention of Jesse J. Walling, who was born at Albany, Oregon, November 22, 1873. He attended the public schools of Albany, Hood River, and Portland, Oregon, but when he was thirteen years of age his parents removed to Idaho. In 1886 the father established the present real estate business at Nampa under the name of B.F. Walling, but in 1915 he retired from active business and returned to Portland to live. In the same year the company was reorganized and is now operating under the name of the Walling Land Company, Limited. They handle principally farm lands in the Boise valley but also do a building and loan business, having developed this department of the enterprise to extensive proportions.

The paternal grandfather of our subject was one of Oregon’s famous pioneers of 1847, having gone to that state from Virginia. He crossed the plains with ox teams, passing through the Boise valley and crossing the Snake river at the mouth of the Boise. He settled at Lincoln, Polk county, six miles from Salem, and there engaged in farming. His death was an accidental one and was caused in his fifty-sixth year by a runaway pet horse. One the maternal side Jesse J. Walling’s grandfather was J.E. Comley, a Kentuckian by birth, who in 1851 crossed the plains with ox teams to Albany, Oregon, where he located. Members of the family on both sides have been instrumental in the early growth and later development of Portland, Albany and Salem, Oregon, and also of Boise and Nampa, Idaho, and the impress of their life’s labors has remained upon these states.

B.F. Walling, the father, was born on the home farm at Lincoln, Oregon, in the development of which he continued until his removal to Nampa in 1886. For three years previous to that date he had cultivated the farm independently after his father’s death. Arriving at Nampa, he found that the town had just been platted and he both fifty-three lots and also purchased a relinquishment claim of one hundred and sixty acres of land just north of the town. At that time there was just one small residence on the north side of the tract, the next sign of improvement being the post-office, a small frame building, which now stands in the rear of the Farmers & Merchants Bank. In 1887 a branch railroad was built to Boise and the depot on the Oregon Short Line was moved from King Hill to Nampa. In the fall of 1890 the first irrigation canal — the Phyllis Canal — was built, this irrigating about forty-five hundred acres. In 1900 it was enlarged to irrigate thirty-four thousand, five hundred acres. The Ridenbaugh canal was put in operation in 1891. With the advent of irrigation real estate received a great impetus and B.F. Walling, having foreseen the future of the town, came in for a large share of the profits. In 1904, after the government had begun to develop the irrigation possibilities of the section, Nampa took on a new lease of life and began to expand accordingly. B.F. Walling had much to do with the continued and helpful development of the town, his being the oldest real estate firm in Nampa, of which town he also is the pioneer.

B.F. Walling was born in Lincoln, Polk county, Oregon, November 24, 1848, while his wife, who was in her maidenhood Georgia M. Comley, was born at Albany, Oregon, in 1854. They were parents of four children: Dora M., the deceased wife of D.A. Baxter, who was for many years superintendent of schools; Frankie G., living at LaGrande, Oregon; Ben. F., Jr., in business in Portland, Oregon; and Jesse J., of this review.

Jesse J. Walling rounded out the public school education already referred to by two years’ attendance at Albany College, Oregon, where he was a student in 1892-3. He subsequently gave his close attention to his real estate interests, ably cooperating with his father. The continued success of the firm is largely due to his rare foresight and close study of local conditions. He is considered on the best informed real estate men in his district and, moreover, enjoys the highest reputation for reliability. It is therefore but natural that success in large measure has come to him. In 1904 Mr. Walling was elected a member of the board of directors of Boise-Payette Water Users Association, H.A. Partridge being the other member from this district, but after the water was turned into the canals they retired from the board. Outside of his real estate business in Nampa, Mr. Walling is also successfully engaged in farming near this city.

On March 10, 1896, he was united in marriage to Ella Madden, a daughter of Charles F. Madden, who was numbered among the honored pioneers of this state. Mr. Madden died in January, 1919, at the venerable age of eighty-eight years. Mr. and Mrs. Walling have many friends in Nampa and are very popular in the social set of this city and vicinity. They are ever ready to cooperate in measures and movements undertaken on behalf of the development of their city and district and are public-spirited American citizens.

Source: Hawley, James H. 1920. History of Idaho: The Gem of the Mountains. Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company.

Jesse J. Walling

Under the present form of government of the State of Idaho, and particularly because of existing conditions, the office of commissioner of public investment is one of the most important pertaining to the welfare of the general public. The citizens of the state may well be thankful that they have in this post such an able and conscientious public official of this nature as Jesse J. Walling, who, while still retaining his real estate investments at Nampa, spends the greater part of his time at Boise in the discharge of his duties at the State House.

Mr. Walling was born at Albany, Oregon, November 22, 1873, and is a son of Benjamin F. and Georgia M. (Comley) Walling. His paternal grandfather was J.D. Walling, a native of Virginia, who went as a pioneer to the Oregon Territory as early as 1847, and there established himself as a farmer, subsequently engaging in the mercantile business, in both of which lines he was successful, and at all times maintained himself as a public-spirited and to-be-relied-upon citizen. The maternal grandfather of Mr. Walling was J.B. Comley, who was born in Kentucky and migrated to the Oregon Territory in 1851. A mechanic by trade and later a millwright, he erected and operated several mills in Oregon during the pioneer days, and, like Mr. Walling, was noted for his sturdy and sterling traits of character.

Benjamin F. Walling was born in Oregon, where he received a public school education, and as a young man assisted his father in the elder man’s business enterprises. Later he established himself in the real estate business at Nampa, Idaho, where for thirty years he was identified with large operations and became one of the well-known and highly respected men of his community. In 1916 he disposed of his Idaho holdings, retired from business and went to Portland, Oregon, when his death occurred December 1, 1929. Originally a Republican, he subsequently transferred his allegiance to the Democratic party, but was never an office seeker. He married Georgia M. Comley, also a native of Oregon, who still survives him as a resident of Portland, and they have had four children, of whom three are living: Jesse J., of this review; Frankie G., of Portland, Oregon; and Benjamin F., of Seattle, Wash., who is connected with the Massachusetts Mortgage Company.

Jesse J. Walling attended the public schools of Oregon, including the high school at Albany in that state, and his first employment was in connection with this father’s agricultural ventures. Later he entered the realty business, in which he became largely interested in city and farm property, and in this connection he still maintains an office at Nampa, Idaho, where he established an office in 1901. He has been the medium through whom some large transactions have been effected, and is well and favorably known in real estate circles not only at Boise and Nampa, but throughout Idaho and Oregon.

Mr. Walling came to Boise first in 1887, when the population aggregated about 3,000 souls. It could hardly be called a city at that time, as there were no electric lights, water works or other modern improvements, and, with the exception of one block of cement, nothing but board walks, while there but two or three improved farms in the vicinity. He has seen many changes during that time and has contributed in large degree to the development and growth of this thriving city. A Democrat in politics, he served for some years as deputy county assessor, and likewise was one of the organizers and a director for the first five years of the Payette Water Users Association, which board was in charge during the construction of this project. On January 5, 1931, under appointment of Governor Ross, he became commissioner of the department of public investment, in which capacity he has rendered valuable service to his fellow-citizens, at this time devoting his entire attention to the duties of his office. For twenty-nine years Mr. Walling has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which organization he has numerous friends. He has taken a sincere and wholesome interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare of his community, and few men are held in greater esteem.

Source:  Defenbach, Byron. 1933. Idaho: The Place and its People. Chicago: The American Historical Society, Inc.

Benjamin Franklin Walling, Jr.

Benjamin Franklin Walling, Jr., a representative of one of Oregon’s honored pioneer families, is numbered among the successful young business men of Portland where he is now engaged in dealing with investment securities, with offices in the Lewis building. He is a typical western man, wide-awake, alert and enterprising and at all points in his career has been actuated by a progressive spirit and firm determination that has enabled him to overcome all obstacles and difficulties in his path and press steadily forward to the goal of success. He has been instrumental in the promotion of large irrigation projects and other public utilities and through his activities has contributed in substantial measure to the development and upbuilding of the northwest.

Mr. Walling is one of Oregon’s native sons. He was born at Hood River, July 4, 1884, of the marriage of Benjamin F. Walling, Sr., and Georgia M. (Comley) Walling, the former born in Spring Valley, Polk county, Oregon, November 24, 1848, while the latter’s birth occurred near Albany, in Benton county, this state, February 7, 1854. The paternal grandfather, Jesse D. Walling, was born in Ohio, April 1, 1816, and in 1836 he became a resident of Illinois. On the 1st of December, 1839, he wedded Miss Eliza A. Wise, of New York, and in 1847 they crossed the plains to Oregon as members of a company led by Captain Davidson, reaching Spring Valley, Polk county, on Christmas day of that year. There the grandfather followed farming for two years and in 1849 he went to California in search of gold and engaged in mining in that state until 1851. Upon his return to Oregon he established the town of Lincoln, in Polk county, where he built the first docks, stores and flouring mill, also becoming a pioneer in the steamboat business on the Willamette and Columbia rivers, being owner of the Peoples Transportation Company, his labors constituting an important element in the development and upbuilding of the state. Mr. Walling also outfitted the rescue party which went to the assistance of the William Dierdorff company which was stranded in the Cascade mountains while en route to Oregon City in the fall of 1854. Mr. and Mrs. Walling reared a family of fourteen children. He passed away May 9, 1870, at the age of fifty-four years, his being due to a runaway accident caused by a pet horse of the family. His wife’s demise occurred at Portland on the 10th of January, 1893, at which time she was seventy-one years of age. J.B. Comley, the grandfather on the maternal side, was born in Lancaster, Kentucky, September 21, 1827, and at Natchez, Mississippi, he married Dorinda McFadden, who was a native of Louisiana, born November 20, 1830. In 1853 the crossed the plains from St. Joseph, Missouri, in an emigrant train under command of Dr. O.P. Hill, settling in that year in Benton county, Oregon. While journeying near the Platte river, a member of the party named Babb, who was riding a white mule, accidentally killed a squaw and fearing the revenge of the Indians they colored the mule black with the assistance of Drs. O.P. and R.C. Hill, building a false bottom in the wagon, in which they concealed Babb. For many days the Indians followed the train in quest of Babb but finally abandoned the search without molesting the party. To Mr. and Mrs. Comley were born three children, of whom Georgia M. was the only daughter. At Albany, Oregon, on the 6th of November, 1872, she was united in marriage to Benjamin F. Walling, Sr., and subsequently they removed to California, after which they returned to Oregon, taking up their residence in Hood River in November, 1875, the father there engaging in the hotel business until 1886. In that year, he went to Nampa, Idaho, arriving there just as the town was being platted. He purchased fifty-three lots and also took a relinquishment claim of one hundred and sixty acres a short distance north of the town and became active in real estate circles there, being the pioneer in that line of endeavor in that locality. He was long connected with the business life of the city, his efforts proving a potent force in its development and improvement and he there continued to resided un 1915, when he retired from business pursuits and removed to Portland. To Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Walling, Sr., were born four children: Dora M., [sic] now deceased, who became the wife of D.A. Baxter who served for many years as superintendent of schools at Nampa, Idaho; Frankie G., living at La Grande, Oregon; Benjamin F., Jr., of this review; and Jesse J., a prominent real estate dealer of Nampa, Idaho.

In the public schools of Nampa and Boise, Idaho, and of Portland, Oregon, Benjamin F. Walling, Jr., pursued his education and when a young man of twenty-one years he engaged in mining in the Silver City district of Idaho, successfully continuing his operations along that line until 1907. In 1909, he became interested in irrigation, pumping water onto the lowlands along the Snake river. People at that time were very skeptical regarding the project, which, however, later became a great successes. Subsequently Mr. Walling went to Salt Lake and became identified with the Beaver irrigation project in Beaver county, Utah, the scene of his operations being two hundred and six miles south of Salt Lake City. He was engaged in that work for two years and the venture proved a most successful one. He afterwards engaged in the bond business in Chicago, Illinois, and in Boise, Idaho, raising eleven hundred thousand dollars in Chicago and St. Paul, when but twenty-five years old, for the purpose of financing the Beaver irrigation project. Subsequently he engaged in the bond business in Seattle and not finding the work congenial he turned his attention to coal mining. While residing in Washington he became interested in a project promoted by two banks of that state, one located at Seattle and the other at Centralia, for generating electric power from coal mines to supply the cities of Centralia and Chehalis, Washington, but both institutions became insolvent and Mr. Walling lost considerable money in the venture. However, he subsequently retrieved this loss, returning to Centralia where he installed a two thousand horse power generating plant which is still in operation. Later with an associate he took over the Maxwell Land & Irrigation Company at Hermiston, Oregon, and carried that project through to a successful completion. He was also the organizer of the Sherman Light & Power Company and in association with another formed the Washington-Idaho Water, Power & Light Company, which serves Lewiston, Idaho, and vicinity and also towns in southwestern Washington, his activities thus providing a most important element in the development of various sections of the northwest. Subsequently he disposed of his interests in these various companies and removed to Portland, Oregon, where he is now residing, dealing in investment securities. His initiative, spirit, resourcefulness and splendid executive ability have led him into important relations and his connection with any undertaking insures a prosperous outcome of the same, for whatever he undertakes he carries forward to successful completion. Although at times he has encountered discouragements and difficulties, which many another man would have found insurmountable, he has never lost courage but has steadily advanced until success has crowned his efforts.

On the 18th of March, 1908, in Caldwell, Idaho, Mr. Walling was united in marriage to Miss Erma B. Hart, a daughter of James B. Hart, a resident of Salt Lake City who crossed the plains in an early day, becoming a pioneer of Utah. The only child of this marriage is a son, Benjamin Walling. In his political views Mr. Walling is a staunch republican, interested in the welfare and success of the party but without aspirations for public office, preferring to devote his time and attention to the management of his extensive business interests. He belongs to the Masonic lodge and in his daily life exemplifies the beneficent teachings of that order. The name of Walling has ever been an honored one in connection with the pioneer development and later progress of Oregon and Benjamin F. Walling, Jr., is actuated by the spirit of advancement and enterprise which dominated his forbears and which has been a most effective force in the upbuilding of the northwest. Although still a young man he has accomplished much, for his his life has been one of intense activity, intelligently directed into those channels through which flows the greatest good to the greatest number and his efforts have brought him a measure of success that is most desirable, at the same time proving of benefit to his fellowmen in many fields. His integrity has never been open to question and his many sterling qualities of characters have gained him a high place in the respect and regard of all who have been brought into contact with him.

Source: Carey, Charles Henry. 1922. History of Oregon. Volume 3. Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publishing Company.