Annie Oakley was born in 1860 in Darke County, Ohio, USA. She was a sharp-shooting star of the Wild West and died in 1926, at the age of 66.
Phoebe Anne Moses was born on a farm. When she was very young, she used to watch her father and his friends shoot animals: she wanted to try, too. They laughed at her because they thought she was too young and not strong enough to hold a gun properly. But she surprised them all by learning to shoot and becoming very good at it. Her family was quite poor, too poor to give Annie a good education. When she was a child, her family had to borrow money from the bank to keep their farm. Annie hunted game, which she sold to help pay the mortgage on the family farm: no rabbit was quick enough to escape he bullets!
Annie married a
marksman whom she met at a shooting competition. Together they started their own shooting show and they performed in variety shows and circuses around the country.
When Annie Oakley (her stage name) was twenty-five, the legendary Buffalo Bill saw her perform and said she was too good to perform in small shows: her skills deserved a bigger, better-known show. That year, she and her husband joined the famous 'Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show'. For the seventeen years that she was part of the show, Annie was the main attraction. She was such a good shot that she could split a playing card from the side, standing ten metres away. She could hit a coin thrown in the air and even shoot cigarettes held between her husband's lips. Annie Oakley travelled to Europe with the Wild West Show. When she was in Berlin, the Kaiser Wilhelm insisted that she shoot a cigarette from her lips.
When Annie was forty-one, she was seriously injured in a train crash. Everyone thought that would be the end of her career. But she recovered quickly and as soon as she was well enough to perform she continued to amaze her audiences for many years.
In 1946, years after her death, a musical called Annie Get Your Gun was written about Annie Oakley. However, she was much quieter in real life than the character in the musical. Some of the stories about her shooting skills are almost too extraordinary to be true. Annie Oakley has become a legendary figure of the Wild West.
Annie Oakley - A Legendary Figure written by Cristina Nuta for FamousWhy.com
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