Annie Oakley (1860-1926)


  • Phoebe Ann Mosey went by several names: Annie Oakley, Little Miss Sure Shot, Watanya Cicilla, and Mrs. Frank Butler.
  • She was born in Ohio, 1860.
  • Her family were poor Quakers who owned a small log cabin in the wilds.
  • She was only five feet tall.
  • Her father died of pneumonia when she was nine years old so she took to trapping, hunting, and shooting to feed her widowed mother and six siblings.
  • She sold any surplus meat to local shopkeepers, and was so successful that in six years she had earned enough to pay off the mortgage on the family farm.
  • At the age of fifteen, Annie won a shooting match against a professional marksman – Frank Butler – who later became her husband.
  • In 1885, the Butlers joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and Annie became an international star who played before royalty throughout Europe.
  • Aside from Buffalo Bill Cody himself, she was the highest paid performer.
  • During the tour, she became friends with Chief Sitting Bull.  He named her Little Sure Shot.
  • Annie Oakley’s sharp-shooting skills are legendary.  She could split a playing card at thirty paces – hit the ash off a lit cigarette – pop a dime tossed in the air – knock corks out of bottles – and shoot out a burning candle, among many other tricks.
  • In 1901, a train accident left her with a serious back injury.  But after she recovered, her skills were stronger than ever.
  • She taught thousands of females to shoot, claiming: “I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies.”
  • Oakley was an avid supporter of women’s rights.  After her death it was discovered that her entire fortune had been given to family members and charity organizations.
  • She died in 1926.  Her husband of fifty years passed away three weeks later.  They are buried together in Ohio.


Buffalo Bill Center of the West, “Annie Oakley,” at

Wikipedia, “Annie Oakley,” at

YouTube, “Annie Oakley Shooting Glass Balls, 1894”


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