Tuesday, July 5, 2016

American Biography: Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley is known for her sharpshooting skills.  She was amazing with a gun.  As a young woman, she supported her family by hunting.  She would supply several local restaurants with fresh game, and was able to support her family.  When she was 15 she won a shooting contest with proclaim sharpshooter Frank Butler.  Butler knew a good thing, so he married her.  He promoted her above himself, and in a few years Oakley and Butler became part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.  She paid off her mother's mortgage on the farm.  (Her father had passed away.)  Annie was only five feet tall.  Sitting Bull, who also traveled with the show for a time, befriended Oakley and called her Watanya Cicilla meaning Little Sure Shot.  She traveled all over the United States with the show, and even to Europe.  In 1901 she was in a train accident, and was recovering for some time.  She had five operations on her back.  She left the Wild West Show opting for quieter more peaceful show.  She was in a play written for her call "The Western Girl."  Some of the shooting tricks Oakley performed include shooting a hole in a dime, shooting a cigarette in her husband's mouth and shooting over her shoulder using a mirror.  There were other women sharpshooter, but none had the style and grace of Annie Oakley.  In 1904 a story was published in the Randolph Hearst newspapers claiming Oakley was addicted to cocaine.  Oakley sued for libel and won.  The Butlers never really settled down.  They preferred living in motels or resorts.  
Excerpts taken from WIkipedia and Bill O'Reilly's Legends & Lies: the Real West by David Fisher.

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