Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Annie Oakley On Western Wednesday...!

So many stories and tales have sung the praises of Annie Oakley, but the truth may surprise you just a bit.

Annie didn't look like a cowgirl at all. In fact, she was very lady-like in dress and actions. In case you don't know much about her, this little bit of history may solve that problem.

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.

This woman made quite an impression on many folks over the years, and to this day she is still considered to be one of the better female shooters in our history.

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. More rain coming in.


Mamahen said...

A case again where ledgen n facts don't quite is fine.....found a recipe for peach dumplings....anyone care for one?

Mamahen said...

Really need to learn to proof before I print :))

Chickenmom said...

Would love to be able to shoot as well as she did! Peach dumplings, Mamahen? There is going to be a big crowd around Mr. Hermit's table this morning!

linda m said...

Guess all those old westerns on TV glamorized her more than necessary. Thanks for telling us the real story. Sure wish I could shoot that well. Would love to have a peach dumpling. Thanks Mamahen.

John said...

Need more like her!

JO said...

Good story, you know me it's all about the history.

Peach dumplings sounds like something I need to try with some good coffee.

Rob said...

That was another pleasant story about a famous person who led a normal life.

Peach dumplings? Never heard of such, count me in!

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
The peach dumplings sure sound good!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Phyllis...
Guess that everyone wants to sample the dumplings!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Linda M...
Sometimes folks want to make the past more exciting by stretching the truth a bit.

Thanks for stopping by this morning!

Hey John...
That would be a good thing, that's for sure!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Jo...
I figured you would like this one!

Thanks, sweetie, for stopping by today!

Hey Rob...
Guess that history just can't stand it when famous folks turn out to be normal!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Felinae said...

Thanks for another great post Uncle Hermit. Have a great day!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I also posted about her. Check out my old blog posting about her here: