LAS VEGAS — It has been widely reported that Cliven Bundy’s family claims to have ranched in the Bunkerville area since the 1870s even though a federal judge held a different view of Bundy’s history.
Bundy repeated a similar claim Thursday when he told TheBlaze website: “My family has preemptive, adjudicated livestock water rights filed with the state of Nevada. They were established in 1877 when the first pioneers entered the valley. Among those first pioneers were my grandparents from my mother’s side. My father either bought or inherited his Nevada state livestock water rights and I, in turn, have done the same.”
Contrast that with the 1998 opinion from U.S. District Judge Johnnie Rawlinson in a case where it was determined Bundy wouldn’t be allowed to use federal land for his cattle because of failure to pay grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management. Rawlinson wrote that it wasn’t until roughly 1954 that “Bundy or his father or both have grazed livestock on public lands owned by the United States and administered by the BLM.”
Clark County Recorder documents show the 160-acre Bunkerville ranch Bundy calls home was purchased by his parents, David and Bodel Bundy, from Raoul and Ruth Leavitt on Jan. 5, 1948. The purchase included the transfer to the Bundys of certain water rights, including water from the nearby Virgin River. Cliven Bundy was born in 1946.
Separate records from the website FamilySearch, which is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, indicate that Christena Jensen was born in Nevada in 1901 and that Bodel Jensen was born in Nevada in 1924. Christena Jensen’s parents originally were from Utah. This is the side of the family where Cliven Bundy claims long-standing livestock water rights.
Federal grazing districts were established with passage by Congress of the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934. The Las Vegas area grazing district was established Nov. 3, 1936. The Bureau of Land Management was formed in 1946, the year Cliven Bundy was born.
County records show the earliest construction on Bundy’s ranch was in 1951. The land is zoned rural open land. Since 1994 the ranch has been jointly owned by the David A. and Bodel Bundy Trust and the Bundy Revocable Trust.
Census records show that Cliven Bundy’s paternal great-grandfather, Illinois native Abraham Bundy, lived in Littlefield Village in Mohave County, Ariz., as early as 1900. Abraham Bundy was credited in 1916 with establishment in Mohave County of Bundyville, otherwise known as Mt. Trumbull, according to a history of the Arizona Strip on the Northern Arizona University website.