The Wizard of the Colorado River

Depiction of Jack Mellon

During her arduous journey into the war zone of Arizona in 1874, Martha Summerhayes gave high praise to a riverboat pilot, Captain Jack Mellon, known as the “Wizard of the Colorado.” Mellon, who came to the river in 1864 and spent 46 years navigating it, virtually invented the “crawfish” method of cutting through sandbars. River runners swore all Mellon needed was two inches of water and he could traverse the sandbar-studded waterways of the Colorado with his cargo-laden steamboats.

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