Annie Oakley was born Phoebe Ann (Annie) Mosey on August 13, 1860, in a cabin less than two miles (3.2 km) northwest of Woodland, now Willowdell, in Darke County, Ohio, a rural western border county of Ohio. Her birthplace log cabin site is about five miles east of North Star. There is a stone-mounted plaque in the vicinity of the cabin site, which was placed by the Annie Oakley Committee in 1981, 121 years after her birth.
Annie began trapping before the age of seven, and shooting and hunting by age eight, to support her siblings and her widowed mother. She sold the hunted game to local shopkeepers in Greenville. 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.
Traveling show marksman and former dog trainer Frank E. Butler (1847–1926), an Irish immigrant, placed a $100 bet per side (worth $2,181 today) with Cincinnati hotel owner Jack Frost that Butler could beat any local fancy shooter. The hotelier arranged a shooting match between Butler and the 15-year-old Annie, saying, “The last opponent Butler expected was a five-foot-tall 15-year-old girl named Annie.” He soon began courting Annie, and they married. They did not have children.
Here is a picture of the Buffalo Bill Traveling Wild West show which she participated in.
Oakley continued to set records into her sixties, and she also engaged in extensive, albeit quiet, philanthropy for women’s rights and other causes, including the support of specific young women she knew. on a comeback and intended to star in a feature-length silent movie.
Her health declined in 1925 and she died of pernicious anemia in Greenville, Ohio, at the age of 66 on November 3, 1926. Her body was cremated in Cincinnati two days later and the ashes buried at Brock Cemetery near Greenville, Ohio. Assuming their marriage had been in 1876, Oakley and Butler had been married just over 50 years.
In the third First Ladies mystery book series, I feature Edith Roosevelt: the Clue of the Dancing Bell. It begins with a National Park Exposition in St. Paul, MN where a murder occurs. Needless to say, the Annie Oakley imposter is considered a suspect. Many imposters factor into this mystery, including Teddy Roosevelt.
The links for my website, Barb’s Books, and Goodread’s are below.
Many thanks to Wikipedia for the information.