Annie Oakley

A Wild West Star

“Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.”

early life

Annie Oakley was born Phoebe Ann Moses, on August 13, 1860, in Darke County, Ohio. Both of Annie's father and stepfather died when she was a child. Annie went to live in the Darke County infirmary, where she received schooling and sewing instructions while helping in the care of orphaned children. Annie returned to her mothers care with her second stepfather in her early teens. When Annie got older the way she could help her family was by hunting for a local grocery store. she earned so much from her skill that the time she was 15, Annie was able to pay of the mortgage on her mothers home.

A Wild West star

Soon Annie became a Wild West star. After beating Frank Butler at Buffalo Bill's Wild West shooting competition, in 1875 the two got married the following year. Annie and Frank embark on a union that would last them more than half a century. They began working professionally in1882, after Butler's male partner fell ill, Annie took his place. She took the stage name of Oakley, believed to be taken from a Cincinnati locale. Oakley and Butler joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show in 1885. The couple toured with the show for more than half a decade, with Oakley receiving the spotlight and top billing. Butler worked as her manager, assisting Oakley with her stunning displays of marksmanship. Audiences were wowed, she could shoot the end of a cigarette out of her husband's mouth. She could hit the edge of a playing card deck30 paces and shoot a deck of cards thrown in the air before the deck hit the floor. Annie also preformed in front of royals such as Queen Victoria.

continued performing

After Oakley and Butler continued preforming they were in a railroad accident in 1901 , Annie was partially paralyzed for a time, yet she recovered to continue to performing. She did stage work in the 1903 melodrama The Western Girl and joined the Young Buffalo show in 1911. Oakley and Butler retired in 1913, settling in Cambridge, Maryland. The same year the couple adopted a dog, named Dave, who would become part of their later shows. Oakley as a top entertainer for the Wild West show and via her additional exhibition work, sharing money with her extended family and giving donations to charities for orphans. During World War 1, Oakley volunteered to organize a regiment of female sharpshooters, but her petition was ignored, so instead she helped raise money for the Red Cross with exhibition work at Army camps. During her retirement, Oakley pursued hobbies such as hunting, fishing, and thought marksmanship to other women. In the early 1920's Oakley and Butler were involved in a car accident in which they were both severely hurt, but Annie did manage to perform again in 1924. Annie died in 1926 on November 3 in Greenville, Ohio. the news of her death saddened the nation and brought forth a wave of tributes. Butler died on November 21, 1926.