Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Frank E. Butler For Western Wednesday...!

What's that, you say? Never heard of Frank Butler? Bet you know of his wife...Annie Oakley.

Butler was quite a figure in his day, and famous in his own right. For some of us his name doesn't get remembered all that much, though.

Frank Butler

Photo credit: Heritage Auction Gallery

Annie Oakley is one of the most famous names to come out of the Old West. Her skill as a sharpshooter was legendary, and she became an American icon once she joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. However, it is usually forgotten that her husband, Frank E. Butler, was right beside her all the way.

Butler was also a marksman who took part in variety shows. As part of his act, he would invite members of the audience to test their skill against him. Unsurprisingly, he would usually win. However, on one occasion in Cincinnati, Ohio, his opponent turned out to be a small, 15-year-old girl named Annie Oakley. The two of them went head-to-head: 25 targets, 25 shots. Annie went 25-for-25, but Butler missed his last shot. Instead of feeling humiliated, he was instantly enamored with Annie and began courting her. The two eventually married sometime between 1876 and 1882 (the records are a bit hazy).

Initially, Butler remained the performer of the family, while Annie simply tagged along. However, one night, his regular partner fell ill, so Annie substituted for him to the roaring approval of the crowd. Realizing they had a golden act on their hands, the Butlers became a performing duo, eventually earning a spot on Buffalo Bill’s popular show. By then, Annie was the big draw, so Butler took on a managerial role. Both died in 1926, just 18 days apart. Supposedly, Frank refused to eat after Annie died and starved himself to death.

What a great bit of history of one of the most iconic couples in American history. It's always interesting to find out more of the back story, don't you think?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.


Mamahen said...

That IS interesting.....Will see everyone on the patio :))

Chickenmom said...

I didn't even know she had married -
thanks for that tidbit of history, Mr. Hermit! I'll bring the Dunkins!

linda m said...

I had no idea Frank Butler was so famous. Thanks for this bit of history. See you all on the patio. Thanks for the Dunkins, Chickenmom.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Oh yes, I have heard of Frank Butler. He was sharp-shooter, too who married Annie. Here are a couple of posts where I talked about Annie and Frank:

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
Glad you found it interesting. I try, ya know?

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Phyllis...
From what I've read, she would rather stay at home sewing than be in show business.

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Linda...
He evidently knew when to become her manager and stepped up, letting her become the star. Smart man!

Thanks for the visit today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
I figured you must already know about him. You beat me to the punch on this one!

Thanks for coming by this morning!