Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cowboys in My Family

My grandfather was a cowboy. His grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1853 from Denmark to help settle the Utah Territory with the Mormons. The family arrived in New Orleans by ship and made the arduous journey over the plains. (Their trip was documented, and I received a copy of this hand-written account from my aunt several years ago.)

They settled in Spring City, south of Salt Lake. We visited the town in 2012 on a long road trip. After miles of barren desert, I was amazed to see trees and lots of green as we neared the area.

My great-grandfather, Marinus Lund, settled a farm and raised cattle. He even had his own brand.

It had been pressed into fresh concrete, and years later, one of my great uncles (by marriage) made a rubbing of it. I’d love to know where the original brand is, if it still exists.

My grandfather was one of twenty-three children. His mother died when he was seven, after giving birth to thirteen children. His father married a woman who already had six children, and they had four more together. Only two of the twenty-three died in infancy. The rest went on to live full lives—with many marriages. However, they were not polygamous.

Marinus’s family lived in a cabin on the farm. One of my second cousins made a sketch of it.
I can’t imagine raising twenty-three children in such a small place. We tried to find it when we visited, but apparently, it no longer exists. The town historian found the lot number from old tax records after we left. Maybe we’ll go back sometime and see if we can locate it.

My grandfather was a blacksmith and built a forge in his back yard in California. He used it well into his eighties.

Shortly after his marriage, he moved to Nevada, where my father was born. Two years later, they moved to Alberta, Canada to join his brother, Mariuns DeLoss Lund (known as DeLoss).

During their time in Canada, my aunts were born. For some reason, they decided to move to California.

Because my father died when I was very young, and he and his sisters were raised by other relatives, I never knew the reasons for either move.

DeLoss’s son, Clark Lund, became a professional cowboy, and competed in the Calgary Stampede. He won the All-Around in Calgary in 1939. In 1990, he was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Clark’s son, DC Lund (Darwin Clark), a veterinarian, also became a professional cowboy. He was named 1965 Southern Alberta Steer Wrestling Champion and was named All-around Champion in 1974. In 2010, he was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

His wife, Patty Ivins (Lund), is a Calgary Stampede pioneer. She was one of the first barrel racing champions in 1959 and 1960.

Their son, Corb (Corby) Lund, competed as a child. However, his interest turned to music. He is famous in Canada as a country-western artist. You can find videos of him on YouTube.

When she was little, our daughter, Kim, was obsessed with all things cowboy. For her second birthday, her godfather gave her a cowgirl outfit. She wanted to wear it every day. She mounted her Wonder Horse and rode for hours.

Now she lives in Texas and wears her boots most of the time. She says she always felt at home there. Maybe she comes by her cowboy roots naturally.


  1. What an interesting history! I hope you find the homestead and brand some day, and get to blog about them in more detail.

    1. I loved finally seeing the town. We found headstones in the graveyard of my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. We also found a tiny one marking the grave of one of the twins who died as an infant: a square block with the name and a lamb on the top. Really sad to see. My great-grandmother's headstone is broken. We've been trying to get it repaired. It's in a private cemetery, so we'd have to pay for it. (My cousins would be happy to help.) The town historian said the person who used to do these kinds of repairs died. She said she'll let us know if she finds someone else. It is an interesting history, to be sure.

  2. Interesting! My husband's mother is 3/4 Indian and there were and still are many cowboys in the family. A few have done the Omak Stampede here in Washington and have won. His father's brother had a cattle ranch when I first came into the family. I have fond memories helping bring in the cattle to get branded and being a California girl had a difficult time seeing the calves get separated from their mothers during the branding and would gather them all up and hug them. Tom's family thought I was kind of weird to be so worried but then I was a 'California girl'! I was in heaven during those days since I also had a cowgirl outfit like your daughter but I didn't have a wonder horse to ride. Only a sawhorse with a head I made out of cardboard! I had to wait 40 years to get my first real horse and pretended I was a cowgirl!

    1. I only had a hobby horse my dad made from an old broom handle and a cut-out horse head. My mom made the mane out of yarn. I loved it. I'm sure my brother rode it, too. I don't know what happened to it. My mother had a habit of throwing our things away, so she probably added the "horse" to her trash pile.

      I was never crazy about horses, but Kim always was. She took riding lessons growing up and loved riding. When we visited Peggy Boone, she told us to have Kim visit her and ride her horse. Unfortunately, Peg lived in New Mexico--a little far to travel for a weekend.

      Another friend lives in Arkansas and has invited her to visit and ride their horses. She still hasn't done it, and she doesn't know anyone in Texas with horses. If she did, I'm sure she'd go riding.