University of Illinois Extension

Major John Wesley Powell

It was 1869 and Major John Wesley Powell with nine other men in four boats began a journey that would take them 1,000 miles through uncharted rivers and canyons to discover the wonders of the Grand Canyon. He was 35 years old, a geologist, teacher and wounded Civil War veteran. He had lost his right arm in the Battle of Shiloh in the Civil War. In 1895, he wrote The Canyons of the Colorado about his first expedition through the Grand Canyon.