PARKER BROTHERS: KNIGHT OF THE TRIGGER
Author: Ed Muderlak
Publisher: Old Reliable Publishing, Dec 2002
A fact-based historical novel of the life & times of Captain A.W. duBray, Parker Brothers' shooting professional & on-the-road salesman from 1884 to 1926. 6x9 inches, 232 pgs.
Ed Muderlak has staked out territory as the guru of 19th century shooting sports. His first book, Parker Guns: The "Old Reliable", was hailed by Steve Bodio as "...the best and most accurate book yet on Parkers." Guns magazine said that "Muderlak combines a lively, enjoyable prose style with his encyclopedic knowledge." Ed's latest book, Parker Brothers: Knight of the Trigger, is a fact-based historical novel of the life and times of Captain A.W. du Bray, Parker Brothers' shooting professional and on-the-road salesman from 1884 to 1926.
Parker Brothers: Knight of the Trigger reads like The Old Man and the Boy while having Wild Times shooting ducks with Fred Kimble; Captain du Bray competed in the pigeon ring with Doc Carver, Captain Bogardus, Annie Oakley; he hunted buffalo for the commissary while fighting Indians with Custer's 7th Cavalry. And as to the tradeoff between fact and fiction, Ed quotes Robert Ruark: "...about 90% honest remembrance, with a litttle embroidery to conform with practicality."
Captain du Bray was born in Essex, England, in 1848 and passed away 80 years later in Alameda, California. His father died when he was young, and his mother sent him to Normandy, France, to be raised by his paternal grandfather, a gentleman farmer and consummate sportsman. After college, du Bray lived the life of a wealthy remittance man, went on the le grand tour to Argentina, bought and sold a sheep rance on the Patagonian frontier, and immigrated to America arriving at New York in August of 1870. He promptly headed to the western prairies on a hunting expedition, joined the prestigious St. Paul Minnesota Sportsmen's Club, excelled in the pigeon ring, and was befriended by men of wealth and influence.
Du Bray speculated in land and lost his fortune in the Panic of 1873. After being reduced to wood chopping and mule skinning, he met General Custer who appointed him transportation agent for his quartermaster. But a mix-up in orders kept our hero at Fort Abraham Lincoln, while Custer and his regiment rode to their doom. The troops returned to Fort Lincoln in September 1876, and by December, 30 officers who survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn had signed a petition asking that du Bray be given a commission in the 7th Calvary,...but it was not to be.
Although a civilian, du Bray requited himself admirably as an Indian fighter agtainst the Nez Perce at Canyon Creek, MT, where he earned the life-long friendship of Capt. Benteen. Expecting an officer's commissiion, he signed up as an enlisted man, but history and red tape conspired against him. He mustered out of the army in 1890, "ranked" first sergeant, and began a 36 year career as an on-the-road salesman for Parker Brothers, makers of the "Old Reliable" Parker gun.
There was a charm about A. W. du Bray that endeared him to the rich and the famous; the shooting professionals like Carver, Bogardus, Buffalo Bill Cody, Frank Butler and Annie Oakley, "knights of the trigger", started calling him Captain du Bray. He wrote hundreds of shotgun-related articles for the various pulp-weekly newspapers using the pen name "Gaucho," but never immortalized himself with a book. Parker Brothers: Knight of the Trigger is Ed Muderlak's effort to correct this omission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ed Muderlak spends winters, with his wife, Nancy, on their sailboat in the Caribbean.