Augusta, ME (August 16, 2017) - As I travel around the nation, seeking and finding the places where American heroes were born and raised, I frequently encounter the stories and the people that have built the mystique of this nation. Sometimes the bulk of the story lies behind the one who has fallen in battle.The fallen, because of their youth, do not have the opportunity to become more than a paragraph in a local book of remembrance. But their parents, grandparents and others in their family trees did live a full life. A life of adventures and worthwhile escapades upon which entire chapters of American history have been written. 

That is what I found on the World War I honor roll of Augusta, Maine when I researched the name of Beale, Walker B. This Army 1st Lieutenant was just 22 years old when he was killed in action in France, on September 18, 1918. He still had the look of a kid that would gleefully say "Ten and A HALF" when asked his age. That extra six months is important to the over-achievers. After all, a lot can be done in 180 days, and Walker Beale knew that from listening to the tales of his family. 

Walker's grandfather was General Edward Fitzerald Beale, a man who made each day of his 71 years count. He didn't read about American history, he made it. The elder Beale served in uniform or diplomatic mufti under five American presidents from Millard Fillmore to U.S. Grant. He was known to hang around with guys like Kit Carson, Bill Cody and Grant before he became a famous general and President. He was in California to see, and even promote, the Gold Rush. He won medals for valor in the Mexican War, surveyed pioneer roads that opened the West. To say the least, the man was well connected.

Edward Beale's father and mother, George Beale and Emily Truxton, traveled as insiders. Emily's father was, Commodore Thomas Truxtun, the first officer of the Continental Navy with a long list of battle experiences on his resume. 

Walker's father, Truxton Beale, served as a United States Ambassador to several foreign countires and was a strong political influence in both San Francisco and Philadelphia. In fact, several members of the Beale and Blaine families were politically inclined, US Senators and presidential candidates are found in the tree. On Truxton Beale's gravestone is the phrase "I prefer to die rather than be dishonered." He died at age 80 in 1936, grieving for his son every day of that eighteen years.

There is much more in Walker Beale's family tree that can teach a number of chapters of US history, but the purpose of this visit to Kennebec County is to honor the fallen. Writing more of the Beale and Blaine families might come later as supplemental pages of content. 

1st Lt Beale was killed by an artillery shell that also took out other officers near him. He was the only son and was to have inherited a large house just across the street from Memorial Circle. Instead, his family made a gift of it to the State of Maine with the request that it be used as the Governor residence. That, I suppose, was their effort to ensure that Walker Blaine Beale would be continually honored as a descendent of warriors and statesmen, and who would himself had been a statesman had he not been killed whie serving as a warrior.  

 

 

 

 

 

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