James R. Walling was born in Tennessee in 1812. He married Martha Gordon and they had a daughter, Amanda, born in 1836, and a son, Robert, born in 1838 in Tennessee. Some time in 1839 they moved to Texas and settled in the Daly Community. After they came to Texas, there were six sons and two daughters born to them. The two youngest sons, James (Jim), born in 1855 and Davidson (Dave) born in 1858 were said to have been raised by an aunt and uncle, Dave and Nancy Walling Gordon. Dave and Jim Walling married sisters. Dave married Clarkey Ann Baxley on May 22, 1879. Jim married Caroline Baxley. Dave and Clarkey Ann settled in the Union Community, three miles north of Grapeland. They had seven children who lived to maturity: Eugene, Julian, Flora, Minnie, Ima, Curtis and Otto. A son, Earl, died in 1890 at the age of three, and a son who died shortly after birth in 1882. Dave Walling was a progressive and diversified farmer who shipped potatoes, watermelons, peaches and truck produce in carload lots. The I&GN Railroad built a spur near his farm for his use. He also had several brick kilns where he made fired clay bricks which he used in the construction of several buildings in Grapeland, one of which is the building formerly occupied by Kennedy Bros., built in 1909 and is still standing. He helped to organize the Guaranty State Bank (now Grapeland State Bank) and was elected its first president on June 15, 1911, but died two weeks later (June 27, 1911). The following is quoted from the Grapeland Messenger on June 29, 1911: ‘Mr. Walling was 53 years old and a native of Houston County. His life having been spent among us, our people all know and love him. He was a good man in the true sense of the word — one whose life has made the world better by his having lived in it. He was an energetic man and a hard worker, for the simple fact that idleness was detestable in his sight. He was always progressive, always doing something for the up- building of his community and town.’ Three of his sons, Eugene, Julian and Curtis were building contractors, In 1912, Eugene Walling and John Tyer established Grapeland’s first manufacturing industry, a plant making modern (for the time) pressed, cement bricks, A number of building, both residential and business, were constructed by the Walling brothers in Grapeland. Eugene and Herbert Leaverton built the old Grapeland School building. The Leaverton residence, now owned by Dr. E.G. Cutshaw, was one of the homes constructed by them. The building now occupied by Grapeland Propane and Fuel Company, and Oakes Variety Store were built by Eugene Walling after the fire in 1913. The present building occupied by Walling’s Pharmacy was constructed by Curtis Walling in 1965.
Dave Walling’s youngest son, Otto, became a registered pharmacist in 1923 and started his own business in 1927. The present Walling’s Pharmacy is owned and operated by Otto’s son, Daniel David Walling, who is also a registered pharmacist. Those grandchildren of Dave Walling who presently reside in Grapeland are: Leora Smith Leamons (Mrs. A.C.), daughter of Flora Walling Smith; Florence Walling Morris (Mrs. Homer) and Myrtle Walling, daughters of Julian Walling; and Daniel David Walling, son of Otto Walling.