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.

Sources:

Buffalo Bill Center of the West, “Annie Oakley,” at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Oakley

Wikipedia, “Annie Oakley,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Oakley

YouTube, “Annie Oakley Shooting Glass Balls, 1894”

 

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