13 Facts About Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley was an American sharpshooter and performer who rose to prominence as one of the stars of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. She was born Phoebe Ann Moses on August 13, 1860.

Annie, who grew up in an impoverished Quaker household in Ohio, learnt to shoot at a young age to help put food on the table. She rapidly showed an aptitude for marksmanship and won multiple shooting competitions, drawing the eye of showman Frank E. Butler, whom she later married.

Annie’s extraordinary shooting abilities and daring antics, such as firing cigarettes out of people’s mouths, established her a celebrity in the entertainment world, and she went on to become one of the most famous ladies of her day.

Annie was a passionate supporter for women’s rights and constantly spoke out about the significance of women learning to defend themselves, in addition to her ability with a rifle.

She passed away on November 3, 1926, at the age of 66, but her legend as one of history’s finest sharpshooters continues on.

Annie Oakley Facts

1. Annie Oakley, whose real name was Phoebe Ann Mosey, was born on August 13, 1860

Annie Oakley, whose real name was Phoebe Ann Mosey, was born on August 13, 1860, in Darke County, Ohio. She was the sixth of nine children born to Susan and Jacob Mosey. Her family lived in a small log cabin, and they faced financial hardships.

Annie Oakley

2. Oakley became an expert sharpshooter and a renowned exhibition shooter

Annie Oakley’s shooting prowess quickly gained attention. At the age of 15, she competed in a shooting match against Frank E. Butler, a traveling show marksman. Oakley outshot Butler, hitting 25 out of 25 targets while he hit 24. Impressed by her talent, Butler fell in love with her and they soon married.

3. At the age of 15, Annie Oakley saved her family from poverty by shooting game and selling it to restaurants and hotels

Oakley’s exceptional marksmanship skills developed at a young age. She started hunting as a way to provide food for her family. By the age of eight, she was able to shoot game birds and sell them to local restaurants and hotels. Her accuracy was remarkable, and she could hit small targets consistently.

4. Annie Oakley joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in 1885

In 1885, Annie Oakley joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, which was founded by William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Her performances in the show catapulted her to fame. She became one of the star attractions, captivating audiences with her accuracy and precision.

5. Oakley was often billed as “Little Sure Shot” due to her diminutive size

Oakley’s ability to shoot targets while riding on horseback or performing daring stunts amazed spectators. It was during this time that she earned the nickname “Little Sure Shot” due to her small stature and remarkable marksmanship.

Her involvement with the Wild West show allowed her to tour extensively in the United States and Europe, gaining international recognition for her skills.

Miss Annie Oakley

6. Annie Oakley performed for many important figures of her time

Annie Oakley’s fame as a sharpshooter led her to perform for numerous prominent figures of her time. One of her notable performances was for Queen Victoria of England during the Jubilee of her reign in 1887. Oakley’s incredible shooting skills left a lasting impression on the Queen, who was reportedly astonished by her accuracy.

In addition to Queen Victoria, Oakley performed for other notable figures, including King Umberto I of Italy and President William McKinley. Her captivating performances and exceptional shooting abilities earned her a reputation as one of the most skilled marksmen of her era.

7. Oakley was a strong advocate for women’s rights and believed that women should have the same opportunities as men

Beyond her achievements as a sharpshooter, Annie Oakley was a vocal advocate for women’s rights. She believed that women should have equal opportunities and encouraged them to become proficient in shooting and self-defense. Oakley used her platform and influence to challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes.

8. Annie Oakley was a proponent of gun safety and responsible gun ownership

Oakley’s commitment to gun safety and responsible gun ownership was unwavering. During her career, she emphasized the importance of proper handling and education regarding firearms. Oakley taught thousands of women how to shoot safely, providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary for self-defense.

9. Oakley was a master of various shooting techniques

Annie Oakley’s shooting techniques were nothing short of extraordinary. She mastered various challenging feats, such as shooting targets while looking into a mirror. This skill required her to aim and shoot accurately without directly seeing the target.

Additionally, Oakley showcased her exceptional hand-eye coordination by shooting objects thrown into the air, hitting them with astonishing precision. Her repertoire of impressive shooting tricks solidified her status as a true marksmanship prodigy.

10. She was a role model for many women and inspired generations of female shooters and athletes

Annie Oakley’s remarkable skills and achievements made her a role model for countless women. She shattered gender stereotypes of the time, proving that women were just as capable as men in traditionally male-dominated fields. Oakley’s talent, determination, and independence inspired generations of female shooters and athletes who followed in her footsteps.

11. Annie Oakley was an excellent horse rider and often performed trick riding stunts during her Wild West shows

In addition to her shooting prowess, Oakley was an excellent horse rider. During her performances in the Wild West shows, she would often engage in trick riding stunts. Oakley could ride standing on the back of a galloping horse, showcasing her incredible balance and agility. She would even shoot targets while riding at full speed, further demonstrating her exceptional skills.

12. She starred in a silent film titled “The Little Sure Shot of the Wild West” in 1914

Oakley’s fame extended beyond her live performances. In 1914, she starred in a silent film titled “The Little Sure Shot of the Wild West.” The film showcased her shooting skills and featured Oakley performing various tricks and stunts. Although the film is now considered lost, it played a significant role in preserving her legacy on the silver screen.

13. Annie Oakley was married to fellow performer Frank E. Butler, who she met during a shooting competition

Annie Oakley’s personal life intertwined with her professional career. She was married to fellow performer Frank E. Butler, who not only supported her but also became her manager.

Butler played a crucial role in promoting Oakley’s career and ensuring her success as a renowned sharpshooter. Their partnership and mutual respect contributed to Oakley’s enduring impact.

Even after her passing on November 3, 1926, Annie Oakley’s legacy continues to thrive. She is remembered as one of the greatest female shooters in history, with her name synonymous with excellence and precision.

Oakley’s life and achievements serve as a reminder of the power of determination, perseverance, and breaking barriers, making her an enduring symbol of strength and empowerment. Her impact on the world of shooting sports and gender equality remains an inspiration to this day.