ST. GEORGE — He’s a local cowboy, a historian and an author, and on Nov. 18, Lyman Hafen recounted cattle drives of days past to a gathering of knowledge seekers at a local museum.

Lyman Hafen presented to cowboy enthusiasts about the old cattle drives and introduced his new Christmas book at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers museum, Nov. 18, 2023 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

“This is one of my favorite subjects to talk about — ranching,” Hafen said about the cowboy life being the common theme in all of his books.

Hafen has a wealth of knowledge about the cowboy past of Southern Utah, Southern Nevada and Northern Arizona. He was the guest speaker for the Daughters of Utah Pioneers museum Nov. 18.

Hafen also had on hand copies of his new Christmas children’s book “A Christmas Journey.

A full lecture room of attendees listened to Hafen — the former president of the Zion Forever Project, founding editor of St. George Magazine and a published author.

Hafen discussed his experiences on the cattle drives that covered Southern Utah, Southern Nevada and parts of Arizona, including the Arizona Strip. These excursions took place from when he was a boy in the late 1950s until he was a young man in the 1970s. He also told of cattle drives that happened before he was born.

One tale involved gathering the remaining cattle of the Parashont Ranch in the Grand Canyon. The Adams family was selling the ranch to the Gublers of Santa Clara and needed the cattle collected.

“Before that transaction could occur, they needed all that cattle out of there, which was a total impossibility,” Hafen said jokingly.

Included in Lyman Hafen’s presentation was information about cattle brands, St. George, Utah, Nov. 18, 2023 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

He explained the cattle ranching royalty lineage for the area, including the prominent families like the Jensens, Russels, Stansworths, Woods and Bundys.

A chart of the prominent brands was on display along with actual branding irons other tools used during the cattle drives and.

Another story focused on Lincoln Bundy and George Iverson who were out on the Arizona Strip cattle driving when they heard over the radio the infamous speech and news of the “day that will live in infamy” — Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day — and how it affected their lives. Bundy became a fighter pilot while Iverson was a Marine who was part of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Bundy’s plane was shot down during World War II and he went missing while Iverson gave his life at Iwo Jima. Bundy’s family did not find out what occurred when he went missing until the 1990s. He said the ranching families were very patriotic.

“It was their dream to come home and be cowboys,” Hafen said.

This story was published in Hafen’s book “Far From Cactus Flat” in 2006.

Hafen has authored over a dozen books. All the books hold historical connections with the Southwest and historical events. He signed copies of his new Christmas book “A Christmas Story” and his other books.

Attendees listen to Lyman Hafen during his presentation at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers museum, St. George, Utah Nov. 18, 2023 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

His latest work is about finding the true meaning of Christmas and was illustrated by Ester West. The main character Grace spends Christmas in Boston with her grandparents with uncertainty of Santa finding her there instead of her usual home. A story from her grandpa reminds her of what Christmas is all about.

Additional copies will be available Dec. 1.

This is not his first children’s book; in 2019 Hafen wrote “A Snowball’s Chance” and in 2021 he wrote “Ohh Christmas Tree.”

He said he appreciates the opportunity to share the stories of the cowboy way.

“Seems like there is a lot of interest,” he said. “The main thing to remember is that there are true cowboys and cowgirls amongst us who are doing amazing work. A lot of times we don’t realize that world is still there.”

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