By Barbara Patton

On April 22, 1857, Edward Beale, California rancher and former Navy lieutenant, reported to Secretary of War John B. Floyd in Washington D.C. By order of President Buchanan, Beale was appointed to direct a survey and construct a “military road from New Mexico Territory to California.” Thirty-five-year-old Beale was considered an American hero having served bravely with Commodore Stockton and, in 1848, trekking across Mexico to deliver news of California gold strikes to eastern authorities.  In 1853, he was appointed  Secretary of Indian Affairs in California.

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