Annie Oakley’s English Setter

Phoebe Ann Moses was born in 1860 and died in 1926, long before many of us were around. We know her better as Annie Oakley, the American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter.

Annie fell in love with Frank Butler, and Frank had taken in a black, tan, and white English Setter whom, he said, looked at him with deep, soulful eyes. He named the dog “Dave” after a show-business friend, Dave Montgomery, and it wasn’t long before Dave was a member of the family. The Butlers were performers who put on displays of impressive shooting, and part of the exhibition included Annie shooting an apple off the top of Dave’s head. The idea is unsettling, but Annie was a sharpshooter aiming at her beloved dog, and these were very different times.

annie oakley, dogs, purebred dogs, english setter

Annie Oakley and Frank Bulter with “Dave”

After the United States entered WW I, Annie volunteered with the National War Council of the Young Men’s Christian Association, the War Camp Community Service, and the Red Cross. “Dave” became the “Red Cross Dog” by sniffing out donations of cash hidden in handkerchiefs.

Proving that newer generations didn’t invent the idea, Annie and Frank sent Christmas cards to their friends with the dog’s picture on the card which was signed, “Dave Butler.”

Sadly, Dave was struck and killed by a car in 1923 in Leesburg, Florida, in 1923. The local newspaper reported that Annie and Frank “feel the sorrow that parents would feel for the loss of a child.” That, we surely understand.

Photo of Annie taking aim shared with kind permission from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a site well worth the visit for fans of the old west and its legends
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Cody, Wyoming, USA.
MS6 William F. Cody Collection P.69.1188

Photo of Annie Oakley and Frank Bulter with “Dave” found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information

4 thoughts on “Annie Oakley’s English Setter”

  1. Dave was not allowed to be buried at lone oak cemetery as Annie wished but buried on a friend’s property would be neat if someone could find Dave so he could be placed in lone oak cemetery as per Annie’s wishes

  2. Poo dave most of my dogs get hit by cars and poor annie she lost a member of her family that day

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