Southern Utah News Articles
Cowboys and buffalo wranglers: historic ranching on the Kaibab
Are you a descendent of someone who ran cattle or sheep on the Kaibab Plateau or a person interested in local history? Would you like to know more about historic ranching on the Kaibab? The public is invited to join Forest Service and Park Service archaeologists on March 28, as they share the colorful history of ranching and range management of the north rim country that included legendary characters such as Buffalo Bill and Teddy Roosevelt. Historic photographs and maps will also be on display.
Members of the community who had family members or friends that ranched the plateau and surrounding lands are encouraged to bring photographs and tales to share at the event. The agencies hope to expand their collections of historic information on this important chapter in local history.
Often referred to as “the mountain” by locals, the Kaibab Plateau played an integral role in the livelihood of early residents of Kanab and Fredonia. Many families living in the area can trace their ancestry back to cowboys who ranched the north rim country in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The first resident to bring cattle and horses to the Kaibab was Levi Stewart of Kanab. Stewart built a small homestead and sawmill on the Kaibab at Big Springs in 1871. Members of John Wesley Powell’s mapping expedition visited the Stewart ranch in the 1870s while surveying the canyon country for the U.S. Geological Survey. Stewart’s children also established a ranch operation at DeMotte Park that later became known as the VT Ranch. In the 1880s the Orderville United Order, a local Mormon cooperative, ran a dairy, cattle and sheep operation on the mountain. John W. Young, Brigham Young’s son acquired the Order’s holdings in the late 1880’s eventually selling to the Baz Z Ranch and the Grand Canyon Cattle Company which employed many local residents.
Through the years, members of the Pratt, Jackson, Hamblin, Mace, Riggs, Church, Findlay, Button, Johnson, Robinson, Swapp, Judd, Vaughn, Roundy, Hatch, and Mackleprang families, just to mention a few, ran livestock on the forest. Many of the place names on the Kaibab are linked to these individuals. Carved aspen trees and rock faces can still be found bearing the name of these early cowboys.
The presentation will be held Saturday March 28, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. Arizona time at the North Kaibab Ranger District Office in Fredonia. For more information, please contact Connie Zweifel, North Kaibab archaeologist, at 928-643-8165.