STORIES
Women

Annie Oakley

by Ellie from Westerville


Annie Oakley was just a normal girl like you and me. She was born on August 13, 1860. The famous Annie Oakley that we all know was born in Patterson Township, Drake County, Ohio. Annie’s real name was Phoebe Ann, but her sisters thought that it was too fancy a name for such a little girl. From then on she was known as Annie.


Annie had a mother and father just like you and me. Annie’s mother’s name was Susan Moses. Her birth father’s name was Jacob Moses. He died when Annie was 5 years old from too much exposure to cold weather. Her mother remarried 3 times after he died. Annie had 4 sisters and 1 brother.


Annie had a much harder life than you would expect. At age 10 she was sent to the local infirmary because her family couldn’t care for her. Not long after Annie got there a farmer turned up looking for a young girl to help care for his wife’s baby. The family (known as “the wolves”) treated Annie like a slave more than a mother’s helper. She was there until she was twelve and ran away.


Here are some fun facts about when she was a kid. When Annie was a teenager she earned $200 from hunting rabbits, pigeons and other small animals to pay her mother’s mortgage. Also two of Annie’s sisters died of tuberculosis. Annie was so famous that a musical of her life called “Annie Get Your Gun”, was created in 1946. It was later made into a movie.


At age 15, Annie was invited to a shooting match against Frank E. Butler. She won by one shot and she won his heart too. She married him when she was 16. From then on, the legendary Butler and Oakley team began. Annie performed all the tricks with Frank as her assistant. Annie and Frank never had any children but they say that when she joined the Wild West, she was known for loving them.

Before Annie got married, she made a living by shooting wild game and selling it to the local grocery store. After Frank and Annie got married, they joined the Wild West Show for 16 years. At age 35, Annie quit the Wild West Show and became an actress.

There are many different versions of how Annie acquired such a magnificent skill with any gun. One of them is that she was just born with the skill. Annie was only really famous when she was in the Wild West Show. Everybody wanted to come see the “Little Girl with a Gun” (she was only 4 feet and 11 inches tall).

Annie made many major accomplishments. She was dubbed ‘Little Sure Shot” by the famous Native American Chief Sitting Bull. At 90 feet in the air she could shoot a dime tossed in mid air! Shooting the ashes off of Frank’s cigarette was a normal part of the show. Annie did not have all the fame and fortune that everybody thinks she did as she also gave lots of money to charities and sometimes she gave free tickets to her show to orphans.

In 1884, the Statue of Liberty was given to the USA. In 1888 Richmond, Virginia introduced the electric street car. In 1892 the Pledge of Allegiance was published. The first electric light bulb was made by Thomas Edison too.

Once the Prince of Germany invited Annie to shoot the ashes off the cigarette in his hand and she accepted. As part of her act she would extinguish candles on a revolving wheel while riding by on a horse. Annie was in a train wreck but there is no information on whether she was hurt or not. When Annie Oakley was older she wrote a book called “Powders I Have Used”. It was about all the gun powders she used over the years. Every once in a while Annie would still go to shooting matches.

After a happy life, Annie sadly died on November 3, 1926, at 66 years old. Eighteen days later Frank joined her. She is now buried in a little cemetery in North Star, Ohio.

Page created on 5/12/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/12/2011 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Annie Oakley - Women in History
Annie Oakley - Cowgirls.com