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It has been the discovery of the rich mineral deposits of the northwest that has led to the development of this section of the country, and among those who have been prominent in promoting the mining interests of Idaho is Benjamin F. Hastings, late mining inspector of the state. An excellent judge of the value of ore, and a man of unimpeachable integrity, he was well qualified for the position which he so acceptably filled, and all concerned commended him for the straightforward, prompt and reliable manner in which he discharged his duties.
A native of Mississippi, Mr. Hastings was born in the city of Vicksburg, on the 31st of August 1848. His ancestors were English people who took up their abode in Pennsylvania at an early period in the history of the Keystone state. They took an active part in the affairs which shaped the destiny of the colony, and representatives of the name aided in the struggle for American independence. Benjamin Franklin Hastings, father of our subject, was born in Lan-caster County. Pennsylvania, and when a young man removed to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he married Miss Ann Caroline Baker, a native of Somersetshire, England, and a daughter of Amos Baker, Esquire. On the discovery of gold in California, in 1849, Mr. Hastings, Sr., made a voyage around Cape Horn to the Pacific coast and became prominently engaged in the banking business in Sacramento, Virginia City, Nevada, and in San Francisco. He died in the last named place in 1882, at the age of sixty-five years. He was a man of excellent business ability and unquestioned integrity and left to his family the priceless heritage of an untarnished name as well as a goodly competence. In the family were ten children, but only two are now living, Benjamin F. and James, the latter now a resident of California.
In 1852 Benjamin F. Hastings of this review was taken to California by his parents. He was then only three years of age, and since that time he has resided in this section of the country. He attended the public schools of the Golden state, continued his studies in Philadelphia, and completed his education abroad, studying both in England and in Paris, France. In 1868 he came to Idaho and for a year engaged in mining near Silver City, but at the expiration of that period returned to San Francisco and accepted the position of receiving teller in the banking house of John Sime & Company. At the time of the Pioche excitement, in 1870, he went to that region, where he spent four years, and in 1875 he returned to Silver City, where he has since made his home. He has made judicious and extensive investments in mines, has operated a number successfully, has sold others at good profits, and still has valuable mining property in the vicinity of Silver City. He also has some good residence property here, and is one of the substantial citizens of this section of the state. He was elected to the office of state inspector of mines in 1896, and his term expired in January 1899.
He has always been a stanch Democrat in his political affiliations, and in 1886 was elected on that ticket to the position of sheriff of Owyhee County. On the expiration of his term of service he received his party’s nomination for re-election. Mr. Hastings was united in marriage to Mrs. Anna Kimberly, of Dallas, Texas. They are both members of the Episcopal Church, and are very highly esteemed in the community in which they make their home. Mr. Hastings has a wide acquaintance throughout the state, especially in mining circles, and his election to an important office indicated the confidence reposed in him and the high regard accorded him.