Annie Oakley

August 13, 1860 – November 3, 1926

“Miss Annie Oakley”, “Watanya Cicilla” (Little Sure Shot), “Little Miss Sure Shot”

  • America’s first female star
  • Annie Oakley taught more than 15,000 women how to use a gun
  • Sixth of nine children ( born Phoebe Ann Mosey )(Phoebe Ann Moses)
  • began trapping before the age of seven
  • began shooting and hunting by age eight
  • 1865 – Her skill paid off the mortgage on her mother’s farm (when Annie was 15)
  • 1872 – Annie ran away from the home where she was “employed”
  • 1881 – Thanksgiving Day, Baughman & Butler shooting act was being performed in Cincinnati – Frank E. Butler placed a $100 bet he could beat any local “fancy shooter”, Butler lost the match and the bet
  • 1882 – Oakley married Frank Butler
  • 1885 – They joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show
    ( She earned more than any performer, except for “Buffalo Bill” Cody himself )
  • 1889 – Paris Exposition
  • 1898 – Oakley promoted women in combat ops for the US Military
  • 1894 – Performed in the eleventh film made = The “Little Sure Shot of the Wild West,” (the 11th movie made on earth, by the inventor of motion pictures)
  • 1902 – left the Buffalo Bill show for good
  • 1902 – The Western Girl a stage play written especially for her
  • 1904 – A newspaper reporter wrote a libelous article, Oakley spent 6 years dealing with libel lawsuits (lost only one of 55)
  • 1912 – Annie Oakley House built in Cambridge, Maryland
    Oakley collected less in judgments than her legal expenses
  • Oakley continued to set records into her sixties
  • 1922 – She hit 100 clay targets in a row from 16 yards (at age 62)
  • Oakley was involved in extensive philanthropy for women’s rights and the support of young women she knew
  • 1922 – a car accident forced her to wear a steel brace on her right leg
  • 1925 – visited to the Grand American (Shotgun shoot) and “breaks a 97”
  • 1925 – she died of pernicious anemia in Greenville, Ohio at the age of 66 
  • 1925 – Butler was so grieved by her death he stopped eating and died 18 days later 
  • Oakley’s ashes were placed in one of her prized trophies and laid next to Butler’s body in his coffin 
  • After her death, it was discovered that she spent her entire fortune on her family and her charities
  • 1981 – Annie Oakley Committee placed a stone-mounted plaque in the vicinity of her birth site
  • 1996 – The Annie Oakley House added to the National Register of Historic Places 
  • Trapshooting Hall of Fame
  • National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame 
  • National Women’s Hall of Fame
  • Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame
  • New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Oakley’s personal possessions, performance memorabilia, and firearms are on permanent exhibit in the Garst Museum and the National Annie Oakley Center in Greenville, Ohio

Oakley believed that women should learn to use a gun for the empowering image that it gave

I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies.

Oakley believed strongly that it was crucial for women to learn how to use a gun, as not only a form of physical and mental exercise, but also to defend themselves

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