Women Of the Wild West

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon

© 2018 by Women of the Wild West Proudly created with Wix.com

Annie Oakley 

Annie Oakley is portrayed by Martha Birkett

Born Phoebe Ann Mosey; August 13, 1860, Annie was an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter. Her "amazing talent” first came to light at 15 years old. 
It’s thought that as a was of escaping her tormented family life, Annie began trapping before the age of seven, and shooting and hunting by age eight. She earned enough income to support her siblings and her widowed mother. She sold the hunted game to locals in Greenville, who shipped it to hotels in Cincinnati and other cities. She also sold the game herself to restaurants and hotels in northern Ohio. Her skill eventually paid off the mortgage on her mother's farm when Annie was 15.  She won a shooting match, against traveling-show marksman Frank E. Butler, whom she later married. Their love would be noted by many who encountered them to be a love to last all time.  
They joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show a few years later. Annie became a renowned international star, performing before royalty and heads of state.  Annie soon became well known throughout the region and her three-year tour only cemented Annie as America's first female star. She earned more than any other performer in the show, except for "Buffalo Bill" Cody himself. She also performed in many shows on the side for extra income. 
In Europe, she performed for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, King Umberto I of Italy, President Marie François Sadi Carnot of France and other crowned heads of state. Annie supposedly shot the ashes off a cigarette held by the newly crowned German Kaiser Wilhelm II at his request.
From 1892 to 1904, Annie and Butler made their home in Nutley, New Jersey.  Annie promoted the service of women in combat operations for the United States armed forces. She even wrote a letter to President William McKinley on April 5, 1898, "offering the government the services of a company of 50 'lady sharpshooters' who would provide their own arms and ammunition should the U.S. go to war with Spain.
The Spanish–American War did occur, but Annie's offer was not accepted. Theodore Roosevelt, did, however, name his volunteer cavalry the "Rough Riders" after the "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World" where Annie was a major star.
The same year that McKinley was fatally shot by an assassin, 1901, Annie was also badly injured in a train accident, but recovered after temporary paralysis and five spinal operations. She left the Buffalo Bill show and in 1902 began a less taxing acting career in a stage play written especially for her, The Western Girl. Annie played the role of Nancy Berry who used a pistol, a rifle and rope to outsmart a group of outlaws. 
Despite her injury and change of career, her shooting expertise continued to increase into her 60s. 
Throughout her career, it is believed that Annie taught more than 15,000 women how to use a gun. Annie believed strongly that it was crucial for women to learn how to use a gun, as not only a form of physical and mental exercise, but also to defend themselves.   She said: "I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies."
Annie passed away in 1926, Butler was so grieved that he stopped eating and died 18 days later.  Anne’s ashes were poured into his casket and the two were buried together in Ohio, at Brock Cemetery.