Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Annie Oakley For Western Wednesday...!

Way too often here at the Hermit's, we focus on the bad types of the old days. This time we go the opposite direction!

This particular lady's name is probably the best known in the history of the Old West. By all accounts, she was a true lady of the first order! Well dressed and well mannered, she seems to have made a positive impression on all she met. I'd say she deserves a closer look!

Aug 13, 1860:
Annie Oakley is born

Annie Oakley, one of the greatest female sharpshooters in American history, is born in Patterson Township, Ohio.

Born Phoebe Ann Oakley Moses, Oakley demonstrated an uncanny gift for marksmanship at an early age. "I was eight years old when I made my first shot," she later recalled, "and I still consider it one of the best shots I ever made." After spotting a squirrel on the fence in her front yard, the young Oakley took a loaded rifle from the house. She steadied the gun on a porch rail, and shot the squirrel through the head, skillfully preserving the meat for the stew pot.

After that, Oakley's honed her sharpshooting talents. She was never a stereotypical Wild West woman who adopted the dress and ways of men. To the contrary, Oakley prided herself on her feminine appearance and skills. She embroidered nearly as well as she shot, liked to read the Bible in the evenings, and favored gingham dresses and demure sunbonnets.

In 1876, a Cincinnati hotelkeeper that heard of Oakley's marksmanship set up a Thanksgiving Day shooting match between Oakley and a traveling exhibition sharpshooter named Frank Butler. Annie managed to outshoot the professional by one clay pigeon. Oakley's skills and attractive appearance impressed Butler, and he continued to correspond with the young woman while he traveled. By June, the couple had married, and Oakley joined her husband's act as "Annie Oakley" the "peerless wing and rifle shot."

In 1885, the couple joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, and Oakley soon became one of the most popular acts. A typical show consisted of Oakley shooting a cigarette out of her husband's mouth or a dime from his fingers. She also did backward trick shots where she sighted her target only with a mirror. Her ability to shoot holes through playing cards led Americans of the day to refer to any free ticket to an event as an "Annie Oakley," a reference to the holes that were often punched in the ticket for validation. When the great Sioux war chief Sitting Bull briefly traveled with the show, he grew fond of Oakley and gave her the nickname Watanya Cicilia—Little Sure Shot.

Oakley stayed with the traveling show for more than 15 years, giving performances around the world. In 1901, a head-on collision with a freight train injured Oakley's back. She returned to performing after a year of rest and toured with several shows for the next decade. In 1913, Oakley and Butler retired, though they continued to give occasional demonstrations for good causes.

In 1921, a devastating auto accident permanently crippled Oakley. She and Butler moved to Greenville, Ohio, her home county, and she lived the remaining years of her life in the quiet countryside. She died there in 1926 at the age of 66.

Nice to find out that some of the better known folks from the Wild West were not so wild after all! Sounds as though she would certainly be someone you would want as a neighbor and friend!

Better have our coffee inside this morning, as it's just way to hot already to be comfortable.


Chickenmom said...

I think Barbara Stanwyck played her in a movie a long time ago. The only other woman we ever heard about was Dale Evans. Too bad there weren't more lady cowgirls! Hot here too and still waiting for some rain. I'll bring peach cobbler for all.

Mamahen said...

Nice to read interesting and pleasent facts about a fellow "Buckeye"! CM Wish I could give you some of our rain, since we have flood warnings issued. Peach cobbler sounds yummy! See you both in the kitchen,and thanks Hermit for the invite!

Momlady said...

Interesting woman, Ms. Coffee sounds good this morning. Trying to send rain your way Mr. Hermit. We've certainly had enough here for awhile.

linda m said...

She certainly was a colorful woman. We could use a few more like her. Annie pursued her passion without regard to her sex. Too bad she got injured. Very humid this morning here but supposed to get less humid as the day progresses. Then it's on to mow the lawn.

JO said...

She was a interesting women to say the least.

Coffee with the gang in the kitchen sounds like a nice start to the day.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Peach cobbler is one of my favorites!

Dale Evans was the hero of my sisters. All wanted to be her!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Mamahen...
I'll sure take the rain. They keep saying some is coming, but very little so far!

Maybe we could do a rain dance on the patio later?

Thanks for coming by this morning.

Hey Momlady...
You certainly have had your share of the wet stuff!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Linda...
I think it's great that she got to spend her life doing what she wanted.

We should all be so lucky!

Many thanks for coming over today!

Hey Jo...
I'd say that interesting just about covers it.

Coffee with friends is always a great way to start the day!

Thanks, sweetie, for the visit this morning!

Dizzy-Dick said...

You are right, she is someone you would want for a friend. You sure wouldn't want her as an enemy (grin).