Annie Oakley – The Sure Shot Rifle Queen

Day 98 of Colourisation Project – August 13

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

Phoebe Ann Mosey was born this day, August 13 1860, in Darke County, Ohio. Better known as Annie Oakley, she was an American sharpshooter and a legendary figure of the American West. Her extraordinary skills with a rifle made her a national celebrity and the star attraction in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

Annie Oakley developed her superb precision shooting abilities as a teenager, winning numerous medals and earning enough to pay off the mortgage for her mother’s home.

Annie Oakley

Photo: Baker’s Art Gallery, Columbus, Ohio – Annie Oakley  c 1880- Coloured by Loredana Crupi

In 1876 at age 16 she married fellow marksman Frank Butler and together they lived and performed in Cincinnati for a time. She adopted the stage name, Annie Oakley after the city’s neighborhood of Oakley, where they lived.

Renowned for unparalleled shooting abilities, Annie Oakley’s most famous feat was to repeatedly split a playing card edge-on using a .22 caliber rifle at 90 feet (27 m) and put several more holes in the card before it could touch the ground.

She traveled to Europe several times with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West troupe, where she soon became the toast of London, Paris, and other major cities entertaining dignitaries and royalty including the Prince of Prussia, King Umberto I of Italy, Queen Victoria, German Kaiser Wilhelm II and President Carnot of France and other noted figures such as Oscar Wilde.

On their return to New York Annie Oakley was hailed a superstar. After years of being on tour and performing around the country she retired in 1913. She and Butler spent the rest of their lives indulging in their favourite pastimes, hunting and shooting.  Performing occasionally at charity events, Oakley gave shooting lessons to other women. During World War I, she raised money for the Red Cross by giving shooting demonstrations at army camps around the country.

A revered international star, Annie Oakley excelled in a man’s world and won fame and fortune doing what she loved.  The small town girl from Ohio who never missed a shot died of pernicious anemia at the age of 66 on November 3, 1926.  After 50 years of marriage, Butler reportedly was so overcome with grief that he stopped eating and died 18 days later on November 21.  They were buried in Greenville, Ohio.

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“When a man hits a target, they call him a marksman. When I hit a target, they call it a trick. Never did like that much.” – Annie Oakley 

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One Response to Annie Oakley – The Sure Shot Rifle Queen

  1. Pingback: ‘Colourful’ Buffalo Bill | Random Phoughts

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