FrankMelbourneIn the early 1890’s several men claiming to be rainmakers were making headlines — from explosive-laden balloons launched to blast rain from the sky (see Part One of the series) to the super-secret formulas Frank Melbourne, a.k.a., the “Rain Wizard”, claimed would produce copious amounts of rain in drought-stricken parts of the West and Midwest (see Part Two).

Frank Melbourne began broadening his horizons in 1892 and making plans for that year’s rainmaking wizardry.  In early January he was promising rain to farmers around the Rapids City, South Dakota area, for which he would charge ten cents per acre of coverage.  In late January Melbourne was on his way to the State of Sonora, Mexico where it hadn’t rained for about eight months.

The Mexican government was willing to pay his expenses, but wouldn’t grant further compensation until rain was produced.  By early March rain had indeed fallen at Hermosilla and Melbourne began negotiating another deal with the State of Chihuahua.   Meanwhile, back in the States rainmaking companies were sprouting up.  In February of 1892 the Goodland Artificial Rain Company filed its charter with the Kansas Secretary of State.  Melbourne would now have competition.

This article is no longer available for free at this site. It was re-written and enhanced, complete with footnotes and sources and has been published in the August 2018 issue of Digging History Magazine.  Should you prefer to purchase the article only, contact me for more information.

I invite you to check out Digging History Magazine.  Since January 2018 new articles are published in a digital magazine (PDF) available by individual issue purchase or subscription (with three options).  Most issues run between 70-85 pages, filled with articles of interest to history-lovers and genealogists — it’s all history, right? 🙂  No ads — just carefully-researched, well-written stories, complete with footnotes and sources.

Want to know more or try out a free issue?  That’s easy if you have a minute or two.  Here are the options (choose one):

  • Scroll up to the upper right-hand corner of this page, provide your email to subscribe to the blog and a free issue will soon be on its way to your inbox.
  • A free article index of issues is available in the magazine store, providing a brief synopsis of every article published in 2018.  Note:  You will have to create an account to obtain the free index (don’t worry — it’s easy!).
  • Contact me directly and request either a free issue and/or the free article index.  Happy to provide!

Thanks for stopping by!