A sure rifle shot who became a national celebrity, Annie Oakley was born on this date in 1860. Take accurate aim at an adorably ambitious all around airplay archive about Annie activated anthology album and age anniversary on Crosscurrents, 8/13 at 8 am.
The fifth of seven surviving children, Oakley was born Phoebe Ann Moses on August 13, 1860, in rural Darke County, Ohio. Although she became a Wild West folk hero, the sharpshooter spent her entire childhood in the Buckeye State. Called “Annie” by her sisters, she reportedly chose Oakley as her professional surname after the name of an Ohio town near her home.
Oakley proved an expert shot at a young age.
Annie tagged along with her father as he hunted and trapped in the woods. From an early age, Annie showed an extraordinary talent for marksmanship. “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.” Steadying her father’s old muzzle-loading rifle on a porch rail, she picked off a i a local grocery store.
She outgunned a professional sharpshooter—and then married him.
A Cincinnati hotelkeeper arranged a shooting contest between 15-year-old Annie and a traveling professional sharpshooter named Frank Butler who regularly challenged local marksmen as he toured the country. Butler, who reportedly chuckled when he first saw his opponent, hit 24 out of 25 targets. The teenager hit all 25. After winning the shooting match, Annie won Butler’s heart. The two married the following summer and remained wedded for 50 years.
Oakley offered to raise a shooting women to fight in the Spanish-American War.
on April 5, 1898, Oakley penned a note to President William McKinley. The performer told the president that she felt confident that his good judgment would prevent war from breaking out between the United States and Spain before adding: “But in case of such an event I am ready to place a company of fifty lady sharpshooters at your disposal. Every one of them will be an American and as they will furnish their own arms and ammunition will be little if any expense to the government.” That offer and a similar one Oakley made during World War I were not accepted.
Her name is synonymous with free tickets.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, ushers traditionally punched a hole or two in free tickets to the circus, theater or sporting events in order to differentiate them from those of paying customers when tabulating receipts. The pock-marked tickets resembled the playing cards that Oakley would shoot holes through during her performances, which led to free admissions being referred to as “Annie Oakleys.” According to the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term also became a part of baseball lingo to refer to a walk because it was a “free pass” to first base.
Thanks to Thomas Edison, she became a movie star.
In 1888, Oakley acted in Deadwood Dick, a financially unsuccessful play. At the Paris Exposition the next year, though, she met Buffalo Bill Cody’s friend Thomas Edison. In 1894, Oakley visited Edison in New Jersey and showed off her shooting skills for the inventor’s Kinetoscope. The resulting film, called The Little Sure Shot of the Wild West, featured Oakley shooting a rifle to break glass balls. Although she didn’t continue acting in film, she did act in The Western Girl, a play in which she portrayed a sharpshooter, in 1902 and 1903.
“Aim at a high mark and you’ll hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second time. Maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect.”
“For me, sitting still is harder than any kind of work.”
“I ain’t afraid to love a man. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either.”