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Beale Narrative

Small Older Beale: Small Older Beale

General Beale

Have you ever wanted to go on an adventure? Edward F. Beale was a great adventurer. He sailed on ships, crossed the deserts, fought in wars, and even brought camels to America. Beale went on many adventures.

Edward Beale was born February 4, 1822. When he was 14 years old he was chosen to be a midshipman. Becoming a midshipman meant that he was learning to be an officer in the navy. He was even sponsored by the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson. Beale learned very well.

Edward Beale was promoted many times. In 1846 a war was starting with Mexico. Beale was sent to California to help fight. In one battle Beale and his company was surrounded. Beale, Kit Carson, and an Indian scout volunteered to try to sneak through enemy lines to get help. All three made it and the soldiers were saved. Beale won an award for his bravery.

Beale made a trip from California to Washington, D.C. It was very dangerous to cross the desert and the wilderness but he made it. He made this trip six or seven times. He went back to California. He was in California when gold was discovered. The navy sent Edward Beale to Washington to tell the news. He carried 8 pounds of gold nuggets and gold dust. The army sent another man but Beale beat that man by two months and was the first man to bring proof that gold was found in California. This started the gold rush of 1849. Beale was married and had a ring made for his wife from the gold he carried across the country.

Beale resigned from the navy and got a job working in California. He made a lot of money, $13,000. He was a good businessman.

The next year the president put Beale in charge of Indian affairs. He started a reservation for the Indians. Beale was one of the few honest Indian agents. He was honest and he was fair.

Small majordomo: Majordomo's house

Majordomo's house on Tejon Ranch

In 1854 Edward Beale had the army build a fort at Tejon. This fort was built to protect the Indians. Many of the American settlers were very unkind to the Indians. This fort was also started to catch thieves and cattle rustlers on their way to Los Angeles. The only way to get to Los Angeles was through the Grapevine and right past the fort.

Beale worked as the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for six years. He resigned and began to work on finding good places to make roads across the desert to California. While he was working at road building he learned about the army's experiment with camels. The army brought 78 camels to America to use in the desert. Edward Beale worked with those camels. He thought the camels were great. They tested the camels against horses. The camels could carry more weight, go longer without water, and could eat plants that horses could not. Camels were better than horses. The only problem with the camels was that the men who worked with them hated the camels. They did not understand camels and when the men were mean to the camels, the camels fought back. The camels would spit and bite with their sharp teeth. They even trampled some men to death. Beale took some of the camels to Fort Tejon. After the army gave up, Beale bought some camels and kept them at his Tejon Ranch. He even used a pair of camels to pull his buggy on trips to Los Angeles.

Small clocktower: Small clocktower

The Beale Clock Tower.

In 1860 the American Civil War started. Edward Beale was given an army job. His job was Surveyor General. This meant that he was in charge of building roads. He really had a secret job of keeping California in the Union and not joining the other side.

Small Truxtun Beale: Small Truxtun Beale

Truxtun Beale

Edward Beale bought the Tejon Ranch while he was here in Kern County. After the Civil War he retired and worked at his huge ranch for eleven years. His ranch was 270,000 acres.

Edward Beale traveled back and forth from Washington, D.C. to California many times. This was very difficult to do because he traveled before there were roads. He was one of the men who started the roads. He had many adventures. He died in Washington D.C. in 1893.

None of Beale's family live in Kern County today but we have a lot of places to remember him. We have Beale Park, Beale Avenue, and the Beale Library. Truxtun Avenue is named for his son Truxtun Beale. Truxtun Beale built the Beale Clock Tower in memory of his mother. Edward Beale was a great man. He had many adventures and helped Kern County to become what it is today.


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