Happy birthday, Annie Oakley! Sure, it was yesterday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate.
I don’t know about you, but Annie Oakley is one of those people who I hear a lot about and then when I really think about, it I don’t know that much about her. Well, unsurprisingly, she is awesome, so take a look!
Things You May Not Have Known About Annie Oakley
Her birth name is Phoebe Ann Moses.
She began trapping at a young age and was shooting and hunting by age eight to support her siblings and her widowed mother.
She beat a man in a bet and they got married a few years later:
- Traveling show marksman and former dog trainer Francis E. Butler placed a $100 bet per side (worth $2,091 today) that he 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.” After missing on his 25th shot, Butler lost the match and the bet. He soon began courting Annie, and they married on August 23, 1876.
She valued her reputation more than money.
- In 1904, sensational cocaine prohibition stories were selling well. The newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst published a false story that Oakley had been arrested for stealing to support a cocaine habit. The woman actually arrested was a burlesque performer who told Chicago police that her name was “Annie Oakley”. The original Annie Oakley spent much of the next six years winning 54 of 55 libel lawsuits against newspapers. She collected less in judgments than were her legal expenses, but to her, a restored reputation justified the loss of time and money.
During her lifetime, the theatre business began referring to complimentary tickets as “Annie Oakleys”. Complimentary tickets usually have holes punched into them which is reminiscent of the playing cards Oakley shot through during her sharpshooting act.