Salt-river meaning

A river, about 320 km (200 mi) long, rising in eastern Arizona and flowing generally west to the Gila River near Phoenix. It has been used for irrigation for many centuries.
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River in SC Ariz., flowing into the Gila River: c. 200 mi (322 km)
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(archaic US slang) Used in reference to losing an election; found especially in the phrase "rowed up Salt River".
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Origin of salt-river

After the Salt River in Kentucky. Various explanations exist.