Annie Oakley

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Annie Oakley


Born: Phoebe Ann Oakley Moses (Mozee)

August 13, 1860 in Patterson Township, Darke County, Ohio

Education: no formal education

Quaker parents-Jacob and Susan from Pennsylvania

Inn keepers until after a tavern fire destroyed everything

Rented a farm in Ohio

Father, veteran of War of 1812-died 1866 from pneumonia and exposure during a blizzard

Annie was fifth of seven children.

Slave to local family at age 6

Ran away-abuse

Poor farm/house


Little Sure Shot – Sitting Bull (5 ft. tall)

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

17 years-star

90 ft. shoot dime in midair

Ashes from cigarette

Playing card

1901 train wreck-spinal injury 5 operations; partially paralyzed

1922, 62 year old 100 clay targets from 16 yards

Died pernicious anemia November 3, 1926-Greenville, Ohio at age 66


Overcame poverty, mistreatment and physical injury with determination and strength of character

Broke barriers for women; showed compassion and generosity

performed for Queen Victoria and Kaiser Willheim II, Prince of Persia

tomboy; watched father hunt with Kentucky rifle

met and married Frank Butler, top shooter and vaudeville performer

1885 top act for Buffalo Bill

Retired 1910 pursued hunting and fishing

first American female superstar

.22 caliber rifle and 90 ft. split a playing card and 5-6 holes in it before hitting ground

Born cabin in Ohio on Indiana border

Mother widowed with 7 children; remarried and had another child; widowed again

March 15, 1870-age 9, Annie and older sister, Sarah Ellen sent to county poor farm; learned to embroider and sew

Mental and physical abuse when living with the “wolves”

1872 reunited with family and mother had remarried a third time

8 yrs old-trapping, shooting, and hunting-supported family

Sold game to locals in town in Greenville, and restaurants and hotels

Paid $200 mortgage on farm at age 15


Spring 1881 in Cincinnati met Frank Butler (1850-1926) took $100 to beat anyone bet

Butler missed after 24th shot; Annie won money and his heart

Married June 20, 1882

“Aim at a high mark and you will hit it.”

Lived in Cincinnati for awhile

Took last name from neighborhood of Oakley

She assisted Frank then he was her assistant in show.

1885 joined show

“Watanya Cicilla” Little Sharp Shooter

Europe – Queen Victoria; King Umberto I of Italy; Prince of Prussia – Kaiser Wilhelm II-ashes of cigarette

(WW I) asked for a second shot; better aim no war.

Rivalry with Lillian Smith (1871-1930)

Promoted service of women in combat in U.S. armed forces; wrote a letter to President William McKinley on April 5, 1898 “offering the government t he services of a company of 50 ‘lady sharpshooters’ who would provide their own arms and ammunition should the U.S. go to war with Spain.” Her offer was not accepted.

Teddy Roosevelt named his men the Rough Riders after Buffalo Bill’s Rough Riders of the World

1903 sensational cocaine prohibition stories selling well

William Randolph Hearst false story of being arrested; 6 years winning 54/55 libel lawsuits-newspapers

Collected less in judgment versus legal expenses but restored reputation

Set records into 60’s

Auto accident in 1922-steel brace on right leg

Extensive quiet philanthropy for women’s rights

November 3, 1926 died of pernicious anemia

Frank died 18 days later

Entire fortune given to family and charities
Queen Victoria – “very clever little girl”

“I’ve made a good deal of money in my time, but I never believe in wasting a dollar of it.”

“highest ambition” to be “considered a lady”; mortified with false cocaine story

Retired in Maryland and North Carolina

150,000 people in 40 cities the first season of show

The next year 360,000 on Staten Island

Conservative dress; let the rifle do the talking

Baughnan and Butler with Sells Brothers Circus then Graham and Butler in theatres

Samuel and Nancy Edington in the county poor farm

Promo posters


Riding bicycle; standing on a galloping horse; mirror; Shoot wick burning candle

Sitting Bull $65 for a photo of the two of them; wanted to adopt Oakley

Sells Brothers Circus 40 weeks- 181 towns-13 states-11,000 miles

London 30-40,000 people a day “Yankeeries”; American Exposition

Paris Exposition-100th Anniversary of French Revolution; new Eiffel Tower; 32 million visitors

President France offered her a post in the French army

King of Senegal wanted to buy her for 100,000 francs to kill tigers in his country

Thomas Edison-electric gun?

Shooting demonstration - kinetoscope-Thomas Edison in West Orange, New Jersey

40,000 shots a year

Silver cup by townspeople “prize it more highly than anything ever presented to me.”

August 11, 1903 stole trousers to get money for cocaine; false reports coast to coast

Livid and demanded retractions; most complied

Not mollified 55 libel suits until 1910

Hearst detective found nothing

Won 54/55 $900-$27,500

Loses money clearing her name

Accident fractures hip and right ankle
Mozee (Mosee or Moses)

Locked out of house – snow

“the reason for so doing would take too long to tell”

Lead poisoning – bullets

Pernicious anemia – red blood cells abnormally formed; can’t absorb B12; autoimmune disease

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