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Vast tomes seem to have been written about just about every personality in the world of hunting, and most of these books are based on abundant source material – often straight from the horse’s mouth.
However, when it comes to one of the most influential figures in our firearms history, everything that has been written is based on secondary sources. This is the incredible story of a true genius of gun design, a man who abhorred attention and fame.
It is a little unclear whether it was on the 21st or 23rd of January 1855 that John Moses Browning first saw the light of day. He was born in the small town of Ogden in the newly
established State of Utah. His 50-year-old father, Jonathan Browning, had been baptized into the relatively new Church of Mormon 13 years earlier, and had gone to the new territories of the Wild West to search for a sanctuary where the family could practise its faith without persecution. He set up shop as an ironmonger and gunsmith in the town of Ogden and took a second wife, as was customary for pious Mormons. John Moses was
The town’s school had just one teacher, who taught all the children together in a single, large classroom. Other than this, John Moses never received any formal education.
John Moses started to help out in his father’s workshop at the tender age of six, and also worked in the family’s tannery.
Even from this early age, it was working with guns that captured the young boy’s interest. At 10 years old he managed to cobble together a >
the first child from this relationship, and 21 years later, when his father produced his last child with his third wife, his siblings numbered 22.
Ogden was almost totally isolated from the outside world during John Moses’s childhood. All transport in and out of the town was by horse-drawn wagon over a long and dangerous trail through the wilderness. Bad weather, hostile natives and wild animals all presented hazards to travellers.