LAVINGTON, Dude (1907-1993)




Author Tags: Essentials 2010

QUICK REFERENCE ENTRY:

Born in Content, Alberta (near Red Deer), Harold “Dude” Lavington grew up breaking horses and breaking bones, riding a bronco named Calamity. He arrived in the Chilcotin area, near Nasko, B.C., in 1931. Working with his brother Art, he mainly ranched in Baker Creek Valley, three hours from Quesnel. “A cowboy must be blessed (or cursed) with nine lives like the proverbial cat,” Lavington wrote. “[Or else] he would never make it to the allotted three score and ten—or even to maturity.”

Lavington provided a classic example of pioneering cowboy literature in his autobiography The Nine Lives of a Cowboy (1982), followed by a collection of mostly true ranching tales, Born to be Hung (1983), which went through nine printings.
Like a cowboy keeping track of heifers, Lavington, in February of 1991, could report precise sales for The Nine Lives (11,857) and Born to be Hung (8,198).

After his first wife, Ruth, a former schoolteacher, had died giving birth to his only child, a daughter, Lavington remarried in 1953 to Margaret Paul of Vancouver, who answered his newspaper personal ad for a wife.

H. “Dude” Lavington died in Salmon Arm in 1993 at age 85. Five years later he was inducted into the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame in Williams Lake in its inaugural year.


FULL ENTRY:

Born in Content, Alberta (near Red Deer) on September of 1907, Harold 'Dude' Lavington grew up breaking horses and breaking bones, riding a bronco named Calamity. He came to the Chilcotin area near Nasko, British Columbia in 1931 and ranched in the Williams Lake area, specifically in Baker Creek Valley. "A cowboy must be blessed (or cursed) with nine lives like the proverbial cat, or he would never make it to the allotted three score and ten — or even to maturity," Lavington once wrote. He provided a classic example of pioneering cowboy literature in a bestselling autobiography called Nine Lives of a Cowboy, followed by another collection of mostly true ranching tales, Born to be Hung. As of February, 1991, Lavington reported his sales precisely for Nine Lives (11,857) and Born to be Hung (8,198). Born to be Hung has gone through nine printings. A contemporary of fellow cowboy author Rich Hobson, he was inducted into the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame in Williams Lake in 1998, the year it was started. Dude Lavington died of cancer at Shuswap Lake General Hospital in Salmon Arm in 1993. He was 85.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
The Nine Lives of a Cowboy

BOOKS:

Nine Lives of a Cowboy (Sono Nis, 1982, $9.95 ISBN 0-919203-20-5)

Born to be Hung. (Sono Nis, 1983, $9.95 ISBN 0-919203-09-4)

[BCBW 2010] "Ranching"