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John Mullan (road builder) facts for kids

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John Mullan Jr.
A balding, bearded man
John Mullan in the 1870s or 1880s
Born (1830-07-31)July 31, 1830
Died December 28, 1909(1909-12-28) (aged 79)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Soldier, civil servant, lawyer
Years active 1852 to 1884
Known for Building the Mullan Road in Montana, Idaho, and Washington state
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch US Department of the Army Seal.png U.S. Army
Years of service 1852–1863
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain

John Mullan Jr. (July 31, 1830 – December 28, 1909) was an American soldier, explorer, civil servant, and road builder. After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1852, he joined the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey, led by Isaac Stevens. He extensively explored western Montana and portions of southeastern Idaho, discovered Mullan Pass, participated in the Coeur d'Alene War, and led the construction crew which built the Mullan Road in Montana, Idaho, and Washington state between the spring of 1859 and summer of 1860.

He unsuccessfully sought appointment as Territorial Governor of the new Idaho Territory, although he played a significant role in the territory's formation and the establishment of its boundaries. Leaving the United States Army in April 1863, he failed at several businesses before profiting immensely as a real estate dealer and land attorney in California. At one point, the law firm he co-founded was the largest land speculator in the state. He later became an agent and lobbyist for the states of California, Nevada, and Oregon and for the Washington Territory, securing reimbursements from the federal government. The tarnished reputation he earned as a land speculator, coupled with state politics, led the three states and the territory to deny him most of the income he expected to generate from this business. He died penniless and ill in 1909.

Mullan also served from 1883 to 1887 as one of the commissioners of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, a private organization acting as an agent of the federal government.

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