Annie Oakley Room

About Annie Oakley

Born Phoebe Ann Moses in Ohio’s Darke County on August 13, 1860, Annie rose to stardom from humble roots. According to legend, in 1875, the famous marksman Frank Butler was accepting challenges from local marksmen, he took on young Annie Moses in a shooting match. Frank lost, 23 to 21. Later, whenever he said that he had purposely thrown the match, Annie would just flutter her eyes and smile. The couple was married within the year. Frank soon managed himself and Annie into Buffalo Bill’s “Wild West” show. During her entrance, Annie waved and blew kisses to the audience. She was an ambidextrous shot who fired rapidly and with unerring accuracy.

On the rare occasions when she missed a shot, she immediately fired again. On occasion, she intentionally missed and then pretended to become petulant, stamping her feet in frustration, and throwing her hat. Then when she did hit the mark, the audience would roar louder than ever. Among her favorite shotguns were a Lancaster and a Francotte, her favorite rifles included a Winchester and a Marlin, and she used Colts and Smith & Wesson handguns equally well.

During her tour of Europe, she met Prince Albert Edward during the Golden Jubilee. Prince Albert Edward wanted to meet the cast members. When the prince was introduced to Annie and extended his hand, Annie passed it by and shook the princess’ hand first. She told the prince, “You’ll have to forgive me, I’m an American, and in America, women come first.” In the fall of 1894, Annie Oakley performed in front of Thomas Edison’s moving-picture machine. Eventually, Annie and Frank retired to Cambridge, MD., where shooting remained a big part of their lives.

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