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 John Alexander “Jack” Mellon

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John Alexander “Jack” Mellon

Birth
Digby, Digby County, Nova Scotia, Canada
Death 17 Dec 1924 (aged 81–82)
Coronado, San Diego County, California, USA
Burial San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA
Plot Lot 69 Grave 5
Memorial ID 175151907 View Source
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John Alexander Mellon (1842 - 1924), Jack Mellon was destined to become one of the most famous of the Colorado River captains, working the river for over forty-four years. He was a New Brunswick sailor, who first went to sea at the age of ten.
Because of the shallow depths of the Colorado River, Captain Mellon devised a system called the "crawfish" in order to maneuver over the sandbars if the "grasshopper" (poling) did not product the desired effect. To crawfish, the anchor and capstan were utilized to turn the sternwheeler around so that the paddlewheel would cut a channel through the sandbar.
Along with Issac Polhamus, another infamous riverboat captain, they purchased the Colorado Rive Steam Navigation Company in 1886 and continued to work the Colorado River supplying materials, food, mail, ore, and fuel along the Colorado River from Yuma, AZ to Rioville, NV, considered to be the head of navigation of the Colorado River during high water.
The coming of the 2nd transcontinental railroad along the 35th parallel in 1883 was the beginning of the end for steamboat navigation on the Colorado River.
The township of Topock, AZ was first named after Captain Mellon, but was misspelled as "Mellen."
Captain Jack's first wife was Maria Jesus Ariza. They produced five children with one daughter surviving into adulthood, Deborah M. Rice who was residing in Watts, CA in 1924 at the time of her father's death.


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