Cowboys' Life at Pipe Spring


Pipe Spring was the headquarters of the Winsor Castle Stock Growing Company, the Southern Utah Tithing Office cattle herd, and later the Canaan Cooperative Cattle Company; all owned thousands of head of cattle. Laborers were needed to manage the cattle. It is not known exactly how many cowboys worked for the various companies. Some worked year-round while others were hired seasonally for roundups and branding. Some cowboys at Pipe Spring worked to pay their annual tithe to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Cowboys remained an important part of Pipe Spring and Arizona Strip life through the early decades of the 20th century.

Cowboys at Pipe Spring
Cowboys Working
Cowboys Working

“[T]hese Mormon herdsmen lead an active life that is not entirely devoid of interest. For entertainment they can hunt, or contemplate the spectacular scenery of the deserts. They seem to live on horseback and are constantly running after their livestock, or bringing them back from the farthest reaches of their ranches. This work is hard, laborious and too often lonely. [T]hey must attend to the reproduction of the animals whose savage state makes this operation difficult and often dangerous. They are also charged with branding the newborns with the special stamp that each owner has to identify animals in his herd.”

–Albert Tissandier, Six Mois aux Etats-Unis (Six Months in the United States).

Tissandier made these observations while visiting Pipe Spring in May of 1885. “It was really something to be hired a ‘cowboy’ at the early age of 13. I was paid $1.00 per day, and the round-up lasted 25 days. With that $25 [I] bought a regular cowboy saddle, in excellent condition, from one of the cowboys in the round-up, plus
a 30-foot lariat (lasso in cowboy language), with a genuine brass hondo.”

–Hoyt Palmer, reminiscing about the 1920s.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Pipe Spring National Monument
HC 65 Box 5
406 Pipe Springs Road

Fredonia, AZ 86022


(928) 643-7105

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