Annie Oakley

One of the most prominent figures in American folklore, Annie Oakley, was proud to call Ohio home. She was born Phoebe Ann Mosey in August of 1860 in a log cabin about five miles east of North Star in Darke County, Ohio. She learned how to use a rifle at the age of 15 and began hunting game for resale at the Katzenberger & Brother’s grocery store in Greenville.  The story goes that she was so successful at hunting game, that she was able to pay off the mortgage on her mother’s house at the age of 15. Her shooting ability was soon discovered by a Cincinnati hotel owner whom invited her to participate in a shooting contest against a well-respected marksman, Frank Butler. She performed so well at the contest that she was asked to appear in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Some of her tricks included firing a cork out of a wine bottle from 90 feet away or shooting out a candle flame. Her performances gained worldwide attention and was asked to display her abilities for United Kingdom’s Queen Victoria, Italy’s King Umberto, and is well known for shooting ashes off a cigarette held by Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II. It is believed that if she would have missed and shot Wilhelm, World War I would have been prevented. She also played a large role in recruiting women to the United States armed forces and taught more than 15,000 women how to use a gun. She changed her name to “Annie Oakley” after living in the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati. Through her humble beginnings and rise to become an American icon, she always maintained her Ohio roots. She continually gave back to charitable organizations in the Ohio area. In popular culture, the Broadway Musical “Annie Get Your Gun” is a fictitious account of Oakley’s life.

 

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