Tag Archives: Annie Oakley

Folly at the Fair - Historical Fiction Books to Read by Kari Bovée

It’s Release Day!

Chicago World’s Fair, 1893. “Little Sure Shot” Annie Oakley is exhausted from her work with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. But when a fellow performer scuffles with a man who threatens her harm, she has to keep her eyes peeled. And when the man is found dead under the Ferris Wheel, Annie won’t rest until she proves her defender is innocent.

Before she can rustle up any clues, an old friend asks Annie to protect her young daughter. And as more bodies turn up around the grounds, it’s clear there’s a serial murderer on the loose. Annie is going to need all her wits and sharpshooting skills just to stay alive, and to protect those she loves.

Can Annie live up to her reputation and put a bullseye on the killer?

Folly at the Fair is the third book in the Annie Oakley Mystery series. If you like strong heroines, Wild West adventures, and suspenseful twists and turns, then you’ll love this fast-paced whodunit.

Folly at the Fair - Historical Fiction Books to Read by Kari Bovée
Folly at the Fair – An Annie Oakley Mystery

That is the description of my latest release, Folly at the Fair, the third full-length novel in the Annie Oakley Mystery series .

By the time Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World came to Chicago to participate in the fair, Annie Oakley had become the darling of America, and in fact she’d become a world-wide sensation. Her skill with the shotgun and rifle had garnered her a loyal following. Her act often consisted of shooting live birds released into the air, splitting a playing card in two, and—a crowd favorite—shooting a burning cigarette out of her husband’s mouth.

After two wildly successful tours in Europe with the Wild West Show, Annie had performed for hundreds of thousands of people, and had hobnobbed with members of all socio-economic classes, from the poorest of the poor, to the nobility including Kings and Queens.

In this novel, Annie’s mettle is tested with the appearance of a long lost friend, a demanding schedule, a possessive fan, marital troubles, and murder. But with the help of her old friend, investigative journalist Emma Wilson, Annie is determined to set things right in the White City.

I had so much fun researching and writing this novel, and I hope you’ll like it, too!

Buy on Amazon

 

 

Lillian Smith- Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing:

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

Like Annie Oakley, Lillian Smith learned to shoot a rifle when she was barely big enough to hold it. Like Annie Oakley, Lillian Smith started competing in shooting contests before the age of 15, and like Annie Oakley, Lillian Smith impressed upon Wild West Show owner Buffalo Bill Cody that she needed to be in his show, but that is where the similarities end—and the rivalry between the two women begins.

 Annie Oakley had become the darling of the Wild West Show, besting her male sharpshooting counterparts at every turn, and her place in the show was on solid footing.Lillian Smith- Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee Modest, in both her appearance and comportment, Annie couldn’t have been more different than this upstart teenager who used coarse language and wore flashy clothing—something Annie probably could have tolerated until Lillian started bragging that “Annie Oakley was done for” now that she had joined the show. The rivalry began. Annie even started to tell the press she was born in 1866, instead of 1860, to narrow the age gap between the two. 

The two traveled with the Wild West Show to England to perform at Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Annie was further irritated when she was criticized in the press for first shaking the hand of Alexandra, Princess of Wales, before that of her husband, Bertie, England’s future King Edward, even though Lillian did the same. When Annie was presented to Queen Victoria, a drawing in an illustrated newspaper showed Lillian being presented instead. But most vexing of all was a letter published in an American newspaper, claiming that in England, Annie was being left out in the cold. This, of course, wasn’t true. Lillian Smith- Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari BoveeAnnie was still getting the lion’s share of press, and on the field at Wimbledon, Oakley bested Smith hands down and got a personal congratulations from the Prince of Wales. 

Nevertheless, the rivalry and the lack of support from Buffalo Bill Cody was too much for Annie to bear. She left the show at the end of the London run. Back home, Smith was ridiculed for her performance at Wimbledon, and allegations surfaced that she was cheating in her Wild West act. Finally, Cody realized Smith would never have the same showbusiness appeal as Annie. Smith left the show in 1889, and Annie came back just in time for the Columbian World’s Fair in Chicago.

In the first two novels of my Annie Oakley Mystery series, Girl with a Gun and Peccadillo at the Palace, I have fun with this rivalry between these two female sharpshooting sensations. You can find the books on Amazon.

 

 

8 Western Historical Mysteries You don't Want to Miss

8 Western Mystery Books You Don’t Want to Miss!

If you’re a fan of Western Mystery Books, this list is for you! From Darke County, Ohio to Ridgway, Colorado – there’s plenty of adventure and mystery to go around. Check out this list and see which ones you’ll be adding to your #TBR pile!

Award winning western mystery books by Kari BovéeThe Annie Oakley Mystery Series – Western Mystery books by Kari Bovee

Annie Oakley joins Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show to become an American Icon. But when a string of crimes takes place during their travels, including the murder of her Indian assistant, Annie fears someone is out to get her. With the help of a sassy, blue-blooded reporter, Annie sets out as an amateur sleuth to solve the crimes that threaten her good name.

This is the first of my Historical Mystery Books and  the Winner of the 2019 Hillerman Southwest Fiction Award

Read more about Kari Bovée’s Western Mystery books HERE…

 

Dire Wolf of the Quapaw - Western Mystery Books by Phil TrumanDire Wolf of the Quapaw by Phil Truman

He’s been hot on an outlaw’s trail for months.

But deep in Native American territory, he’s no longer sure who’s innocent and who’s a monster…

Quapaw tribal lands, new State of Oklahoma, 1910. Greenhorn Deputy U.S. Marshal Jubal Smoak knows he can either lay down the law or get stampeded. So after the gruesome murder of a young family, he relentlessly pursues the ruthless outlaw who gave him a bullet in the back. Trailing the man for months, he refuses to be put off the scent by foolish rumors of a mythical Native American monster.

 

Read more about Phil Truman’s Western Mystery Books HERE.


Western Mystery Books - The Double-A Western Detective Agency by Steve HockensmithThe Double-A Western Detective Agency by Steve Hockensmith

Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer’s dream has come true: The Sherlock Holmes-worshiping cowboy brothers are finally in business as professional detectives. But their fledgling A.A. Western Detective Agency faces a few challenges. Their partner, Col. Crowe, is almost as cantankerous and secretive as Old Red himself. The colonel’s daughter, Diana, insists on tagging along for the Amlingmeyers’ first assignment. And that assignment lands them smack dab in the middle of a range war — with Big Red and Old Red expected to shoot it out with rustlers rather than rustle up clues and solve a mystery.

 

Read more about Steve Hockensmith’s Western Mystery books here!

 

Western Mystery Books - Willow Falls by Ken PrattWillow Falls by Ken Pratt

Welcome to Willow Falls. The town young Matthew Bannister ran away from fifteen years before. Now famed U.S. Deputy Marshal Matt Bannister is coming home to reconcile with his family. He prayed he wouldn’t see his ex-best friend Tom Smith nor the only girl he ever loved, Tom’s wife, Elizabeth. However, old feuds unsettled never die and spark a powder keg of action when the desperate Moskin Gang kidnap Elizabeth and leave a murderous trail behind them. In anguish, Tom, the Willow Falls sheriff, turns to his despised old-friend to help get the woman they both love back alive, if they can.

Sometimes God’s greatest blessing is unanswered prayer.

 

Read more about Ken Pratt’s Western Mystery books here.

 

Western Mystery Books - The Sacketts by Louis L'AmourThe Sacketts – Volume 1 by Louis L’Amour

After finding six gold Roman coins buried in an English swampland, Barnabas Sackett invests in goods to trade in America. But he also has a powerful enemy with a grudge that goes back to Sackett’s father. On the eve of his departure, Sackett is attacked and thrown into the hold of a pirate ship. After managing to escape, he makes his way to the Carolina coast, where the raw, abundant land promises a bright future. However, before that dream can be realized, Sackett must first discover the secret of his father’s legacy.

 

Read more about Louis L’Amour’s Western Mystery books here.

 

8 Western Mystery Books (Historical Fiction) You Don't Want to Miss!Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson

Recovering from his harrowing experiences in Mexico, Sheriff Walt Longmire returns to Absaroka County, Wyoming, to lick his wounds and try once again to maintain justice in a place with grudges that go back generations. When a shepherd is found dead, Longmire suspects it could be suicide. But the shepherd’s connection to the Extepares, a powerful family of Basque ranchers with a history of violence, leads the sheriff into an intricate investigation of a possible murder.

 

Read more about Craig Johnson’s Western Mystery books here.

 

8 Western Mystery Books (Historical Fiction) You Don't Want to Miss! Divided Sky by Jeff Carson

One man is dead and another is missing down south near Ridgway, Colorado. When the local law enforcement reaches out to Chief Detective David Wolf’s department, his task is to check on former-sheriff Harold “Hal” Burton. Because a person of interest in the case has also gone missing–Burton’s estranged nephew, Jesse.

Out of loyalty to his old boss, Wolf is sucked into the case, and it soon becomes clear there is more going on than meets the eye. And as for disturbing clues, there are plenty to meet the eye when they arrive in Ridgway.

Read more about Jeff Carson’s Western Mystery books here.

 

8 Western Mystery Books (Historical Fiction) You Don't Want to Miss! The Dark Mystery of the High Mountains by Austin Grayson

Young Maggie Abernathy is widowed when her husband succumbs to madness and fever after months in their seemingly useless gold mine. When Maggie turns to the men of the local town for help, she attracts attention, both wanted and unwanted. In the meantime, strange events in the mineshaft suggest otherworldly forces. Will Maggie put an end to the disasters and expanding insanity, or will she have to make the same sacrifice her late husband did?

West has grown up in an orphanage and has gone through many hardships. He falls for Maggie, but his own enemies put her life at higher risk. Along with the earthquakes and madness which spreads like wildfire, he also has to empower himself against those enemies. No matter how hard his mission is, he stands by Maggie’s side and does everything possible to protect her. Will he help her to solve the mystery in the mountain or will the whole town be doomed to a dreadful fate?

Read more about Austin Grayson’ Western Mystery books here.

 

Is there anything else you’d have added to the list? Drop me a note in the comments below!

8 Western Historical Mysteries You don't Want to Miss

Award winning historical fiction book by Kari Bovée

Review of the Week: 1/22/20

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mary says:

HIstorical Fiction Books sleuth award winning kari bovee“Author Kari Bovee has fictionalized true characters in her lively mystery, Girl with a Gun. The story begins in St. Louis, Missouri, 1885.

Fifteen year-old Annie Oakley is the sole supporter of her mother and two younger siblings. Annie is an excellent marksman and sells game to the local markets to make ends meet. While in town one day, she competes in a shooting contest and is invited to become a part of the renowned Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.

Annie meets her assistant, Kimi, a fictionalized teenage Indian girl whose murder begins the story. Thus begins a string of events which could not only endanger Annie, but could also ruin the Wild West Show. True characters, which the author portrays with their known characteristics, include Frank Butler, Buffalo Bill, and Sitting Bull.

As the mystery thickens, Anne’s shooting and riding skills catapult her to fame. When a scandal erupts that could bring her career to a crashing end, she enlists the assistance of a newspaper reporter who has the resources to help unravel the mystery.

I enjoyed Girl with a Gun and learning more about Annie Oakley and her strong Quaker background. I appreciated author Bovee’s attention to detail and her obviously solid research, particularly of period clothing, guns used in that era, and horse behavior. The mystery novel also touches on Annie’s later interest in women’s suffrage and in teaching women how to use guns for self-defense. ”

Read more reviews for Girl with a Gun >>HERE<<

 

 

Historical Fiction Books Kari Bovee Indie Book Awards

Review of the Week: 1/8/2020

⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Ian Says:

 

Award winning historical fiction book by Kari Bovée

Review of the Week – 12/11/2019

Jim Says:

HIstorical Fiction Books sleuth award winning kari bovee“A great light and fun read that will take you to the old West’s most noteworthy wild west show and meet its most famous historical figures. A whodunit mystery, Girl with a Gun doubles as historical fiction – the word fiction is emphasized. Not everything that happens in Kari Bovée’s debut novel actually happened as Annie Mosey from Ohio transitioned to “Little Miss Sure Shot” in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Readers looking for a factual account should peruse the non-fiction and biography shelves.

For those who simply want to be entertained, and get a sense of life in 1885, then stand by for a good time as bodies keep dropping, a horse gets poisoned, and attempts are made on Annie Oakley’s life. Of the three major themes in mysteries, the reader will find them all in Girl with a Gun. There are multiple instances of characters seeking revenge; characters doing bad things while they attempt to obtain something that does not belong to them; and characters wanting to stop something that is happening that they do not like. Enough intertwining of facts with fiction, of plot weaving, and characters not being all they appear to make even Agatha Christi blush.

Author Kari Bovée manages to introduce some very important, and unexpected, serious themes into Girl with a Gun. We are faced right away with the choices available to women in 1885 – marriage, the whorehouse, or an uncertain life alone. Indeed, woman’s place in society is a major refrain as Annie doesn’t even get to choose her new name when she enters the show. Abuse of women and strong prejudices against Indians illuminate the dark underside of 1885 American society.

The strong bond between horse and human is today less understood by modern society but figures as a strong motivator in the plot. And like today, everyone has secrets – some of those matter to the outcome of the mystery and others are complications and red herrings tantalizingly introduced throughout the pages in excellent fashion.

Girl with a Gun will give the reader an inside view of the historic wild west show. We see jealousies, manipulation, rivalries, and choices to be made when the main attractions in the show come to understand they are just employees under the thumb of the owner. The reader learns quite a bit about horsemanship, shooting, showmanship, costumes and dress. Regardless of how the author adjusts the real world to tell her story, the life and times of Annie Oakley are vividly brought to life in a way that cannot be replicated by histories. Annie is depicted as a woman ahead of her times – brave, adventurous, willing to shoulder responsibility, and full of life. She is loyal to a fault. Readers will have no problem identifying with Annie and recognizing that her decisions, like their own, are sometimes made for all the wrong reasons. Supporting characters in the story are larger than life as are the real-world figures they represent.

Girl with a Gun is a major prize winner that bears your investigation. The book is very readable with a nice pace and short chapters. The major events of the story take place during April 1885 with the denouement occurring a few months later. There are some great lines worth remembering such as: “And as far as being friendly goes, I’m friendly, all right – just ask the boys.” Read the book. You will not be disappointed. Just ask the boys.”

Buy on Amazon

Girl with a Gun (An Annie Oakley Mystery #1)


Upcoming Book Release – Shoot like a Girl!

Watch this video about my upcoming e-book release, Shoot like a Girl, the prequel novella to Girl with a Gun. 

If you like Annie Oakley, you will love these tales of intrigue in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show!

You can purchase Girl with a Gun at these retailers.

Spark Press: https://gosparkpress.com/product/girl-with-a-gun/

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MyCdrs

Barnes & Nobel: https://bit.ly/2xTsplN

annie oakley mystery series kari bovee novel authorAre you a historical fiction fan? Do you love a good adventure and a strong female lead? Check out my Annie Oakley Mystery Series here!

 

 

 

 

Annie Oakley horse

The Life and Times of Annie Oakley (Repost from 2012)

Phoebe Ann Mosey, (or Moses) most commonly known as Annie Oakley, learned self-reliance at a young age. Her family lived in a cabin near Greenville, Ohio, where the winters were often treacherous. When she was six years old, Annie’s father left the home in a snowstorm. He returned frost-bitten and grievously ill. He died a few months later of pneumonia, leaving the family in a dire financial situation. Her mother married again but the finances did not improve. Unable to feed all of her children, Susan Mosey sent Annie and her older sister, Sarah Ellen, to the “poorhouse” also known as The Darke County Infirmary. Put in the care of the superintendent and his wife, and Annie and Sarah learned housekeeping skills in addition to embroidery and sewing.

In the spring of 1870, Annie was “boarded out” to a couple to help care for their son and help with household chores. The job paid fifty cents a week and the couple assured Annie and her mother she would receive an education. The couple did not keep their promises, nor did they pay on a regular basis. Not much is known of this couple, and Annie never mentioned their names but only referred to them as “the wolves.”

Exceptionally cruel to their young charge, the couple would often beat Annie or lock her in a closet. Once, when she fell asleep doing some darning, they punished her by throwing her out into the snow with no shoes for the night.

After two years of abuse from “the wolves,” Annie escaped and found her way back to her mother, who was again widowed and remarried. The family still lived in poverty.

Annie OakleyThe only item that remained in the house belonging to Annie’s father was his shotgun. Longing for her father, Annie taught herself to shoot and started hunting game to help feed her family. Word got out about Annie’s deadly aim and she soon started selling the game she killed to the locals in Greenville, as well as to the restaurants and hotels in Southern Ohio. Her birds were well sought after because Annie always hit the birds in the back of the head, leaving no shot pellets in the tender meat. By fifteen years of age, Annie made enough money to pay off the mortgage on the family farm.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1875, the Baughman and Butler shooting act came to Cincinnati. Shooting was a popular past time and shooting contests were the perfect way for people to showcase their talents. Frank Butler, the traveling show’s marksman placed a bet for $100 (equivalent now to about $2,000) that he could beat any local shooter. Annie’s friends and family urged her to travel to the big city and try her luck. In the end, luck had nothing to do with it, but pure skill did. Imagine Butler’s surprise when fifteen-year-old, five-foot petite Annie turned up as one of the challengers. One by one, the targets were released (either live birds or glass balls). Annie shot and then Frank shot, neither one missing until the 25th target.  Frank missed. The young, child-faced girl from Greenville won.

While most men might have had their pride wounded, or might have been angry at a teenage girl besting them at this coveted skill, Frank Butler’s reaction was quite different. Smitten by Annie, after the contest he gave her tickets to his show. Soon, the two fell in love and married. Annie joined the Baughman and Butler shooting act, not as a shooter, but as Frank’s assistant. One week, Baughman could not perform due to illness. Annie stepped in. Per her usual performance, she never missed a target and the crowd fell in love with the pretty petite sharpshooter. She permanently replaced Baughman and the couple took their show on the road.

In 1885, Annie auditioned for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Impressed with her accuracy and lady-like demeanor, Bill Cody hired her, and Frank became her manager. Annie soon became the star attraction of the show and remained so for seventeen years.

Whether she used a pistol, rifle, or shotgun, “Little Sure Shot,” as she was named by Chief Sitting Bull (also a star of the show,) rarely missed. Her feats included shooting a dime in midair at 90 feet, shooting the thin edge of a playing card at 90 feet and then puncturing it with six or seven more shots before it hit the ground.

Shooting the ashes off of a cigarette placed in Frank’s mouth always pleased the crowd. While touring in Europe, the Crown Prince of Germany demanded Annie shoot a cigarette from his mouth, but she would only do it if he held the cigarette in his hand. It wouldn’t do if the American “sure shot” blew the face off the Prince of Germany!

In 1901, Annie suffered massive injuries in a train accident while traveling with the Wild West Show through North Carolina. After five spinal surgeries and temporary paralysis, she recovered. The injury did not affect her shooting skill and she continued to set records.

Annie Oakley | Kari Bovee | Empowered Women in HistoryIn 1902 Annie left the Wild West Show to pursue a quieter life. She began an acting career and performed in a stage play written especially for her called The Western Girl. Annie also used her talents for philanthropy. She traveled the East coast, at her own expense, demonstrating the safe and effective use of firearms for World War I soldiers. Involved in women’s causes, Annie helped young girls, orphans, and widows to further their education. She believed it was crucial for women to “know how to handle firearms as “naturally as they know how to handle babies” and it is believed she taught over 15,000 women to use a gun.

In 1904, William Randolph Hearst published a false story that Annie Oakley had been arrested for theft to support a cocaine habit. The story caught fire and newspapers all around the country printed the report. The woman who had actually been arrested was a burlesque performer who used the name “Annie Oakley.” Still, the newspapers, ever eager for a story of a fallen hero, persisted.

Annie spent the next six years in court trying to regain her reputation. She won 54 out of 55 libel lawsuits against the newspapers. Hearst, in an attempt to avoid paying court judgments of $20,000, sent a private investigator to Darke County to get dirt on the famous sharpshooter. They found nothing.

Well into her sixties, Annie continued her philanthropic work and also participated in shooting activities. In 1922 Annie entered a shooting contest at sixty-two years of age. She hit 100 clay targets in a row from 48 feet. Later that year, she and Frank were in a car accident where Annie sustained more injuries. Again, the injuries didn’t stop her and she continued to set records until 1924.

In 1925 Annie’s health finally gave out. She died of pernicious anemia at the age of sixty-six.

Annie Oakley, an American hero, is considered a role model for men and women alike because of her accomplishments and her moral character. She has been the subject of numerous articles and biographies, film and stage dramatizations, and her story is present in many historical museums. She was also inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.

Annie Oakley’s motto for life: “Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you’ll hit the Bull’s-Eye of Success.”

On June 19, 2018, my historical fiction novel Girl with a Gun – An Annie Oakley Mystery was released by Spark Press. You can find a copy at these retailers:

Spark Press: https://gosparkpress.com/product/girl-with-a-gun/

Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2vWAXUq

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2xTsplN

Powells: http://www.powells.com/book/-9781943006601

References: www.annieoakleyfoundation.org/bio.html, Women in History, Living vignettes of notable women from U.S. History, www.lkwdpl.org/wihoio;oakl-ann.htm, Wikipedia,

annie oakley mystery series kari bovee novel authorAre you a historical fiction fan? Do you love a good adventure and an empowered female lead? Check out my Annie Oakley Mystery Series here!

 

 


Little Sure Shot – Annie Oakley

Phoebe Ann Mosey, (or Moses) most commonly known as Annie Oakley, learned self-reliance at a young age. The family lived in a cabin near Greenville, Ohio where the winters could be treacherous. When she was six years old, her father left the home in a snow storm. When he returned he was grievously ill and died a few months later of pneumonia, leaving the family in a dire financial situation. Her mother married again but the finances did not improve. Unable to feed all seven of her children, Susan Mosey sent Annie and her older sister, Sarah Ellen, to the “poor farm” also known as the Darke County Infirmary. They were put in the care of the Superintendent and his wife, and Annie and Sarah learned housekeeping skills in addition to embroidery and sewing.

In the spring of 1870, Annie was “boarded out” to a family to help care for their son and help with household chores. The job would pay fifty cents a week and she was assured an education. The promises were not kept. Not much is known of this family and Annie never mentioned their names, but only referred to them as “the wolves.”  They were exceptionally cruel to their young charge and would often beat her or lock her in a closet. Once, when she fell asleep doing some darning, they punished her by throwing her out into the snow with no shoes for the night. After two years of abuse from “the wolves,” Annie escaped and found her way back to her mother, who was again widowed and remarried. The family was still living in poverty.

The only item that remained in the house belonging to Annie’s father was his shotgun. Longing for her father, Annie taught herself to shoot and started hunting game to help feed her family. She assuredly did not want to go back to the poor house! Word got out about Annie’s deadly aim and she soon started selling the game she killed to the locals in Greenville, as well as restaurants and hotels in Southern Ohio. Her birds were well sought after because Annie’s aim was so sure, she always hit the bird in the back of the head, thus leaving no shot pellets in the meat. By the time she was fifteen years old, Annie had made enough money to pay off the mortgage on the family farm.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1875, the Baughman and Butler shooting act came to Cincinnati. Shooting was a popular past time and shooting contests were the perfect way for people to showcase their talents. Frank Butler, the traveling show’s marksman placed a bet for $100 (equivalent now to about $2,000) that he could beat any local shooter. Annie’s friends and family urged her to travel to the big city and try her luck. In the end, luck had nothing to do with it, but pure skill did. Imagine Butler’s surprise when fifteen year old, five-foot petite Annie turned up as one of the challengers. One by one, the targets were released (either live birds or glass balls). Annie shot and then Frank shot, neither one missing until the 25th target.  Frank missed. The young, child-faced girl from Greenville won.

While most men may have had their pride wounded or even been angry at the fact that a teenage girl had bested them at this coveted skill, Frank Butler’s reaction was quite different. He was smitten by Annie and after the contest he gave her tickets to his show. Soon, the two fell in love and were married. Annie joined the Baughman and Butler shooting act, not as a shooter, but as Frank’s assistant. One week, Baughman was sick and could not perform. Annie stepped in. Per her usual performance, Annie never missed a target and the crowd fell in love with the pretty petite sharp-shooter. She permanently replaced Baughman and the couple took their show on the road.

In 1885, Annie auditioned for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Impressed with her accuracy and lady-like demeanor, Bill Cody hired her, and Frank became her manager. Annie was soon the star attraction of the show and remained so for seventeen years. Whether she used a pistol, rifle or shotgun, “Little Sure Shot” as she was named by Chief Sitting Bull (also a star of the show) rarely missed. Her feats included shooting a dime in midair at 90 feet, shooting the thin edge of a playing card at 90 feet and then puncturing it with six or seven more shots before it hit the ground. Shooting the ashes off a cigarette placed in Frank’s mouth was a crowd favorite. While touring in Europe, the Crown Prince of Germany demanded that Annie shoot a cigarette from his mouth, but she would only do it if he held the cigarette in his hand. It wouldn’t do if the American “sure shot” blew the face off the Prince of Germany!

In 1901 Annie was badly injured in a train accident. After five spinal surgeries and temporary paralysis she recovered. The injury did not affect her shooting skill and she continued to set records.

In 1902 Annie left the Wild West Show to pursue a quieter life. She began an acting career and performed in a stage play written especially for her called The Western Girl. Annie also used her talents for philanthropy. She traveled the East coast, at her own expense, demonstrating the safe and effective use of firearms for World War I soldiers. Annie was very involved in women’s causes and would help young girls, orphans and widows to further their education. She believed it was crucial for women to “know how to handle firearms as naturally as they know how to handle babies” and it is believed that she taught over 15,000 women to use a gun.

In 1904, William Randolph Hearst published a false story that Annie Oakley had been arrested for theft to support a cocaine habit. The story caught fire and newspapers all around the country were printing the report. The woman who had actually been arrested was a burlesque performer who used the name “Annie Oakley.” Still, the newspapers, ever eager for a story of a fallen hero, persisted.

Annie spent the next six years in court trying to regain her reputation. She won 54 out of 55 libel lawsuits against the newspapers. Hearst, in an attempt to avoid paying court judgments of $20,000, sent a private investigator to Darke County to get dirt on the famous sharpshooter. They found nothing.

Well into her sixties, Annie continued her philanthropic work and also participated in shooting activities. In 1922 Annie entered a shooting contest at sixty-two years of age. She hit 100 clay targets in a row from 48 feet. Later that year, she and Frank were in a car accident where Annie sustained more injuries. Again, the injuries didn’t stop her and she continued to set records till 1924.

In 1925 Annie’s health finally gave out. She died of pernicious anemia at the age of sixty-six. Annie Oakley, an American hero, is considered a role model for men and women alike because of her accomplishments and her moral character. Annie Oakley has been the subject of numerous articles and biographies, film and stage dramatizations and her story is present in many historical museums. She was also inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.

Annie Oakley’s motto for life: “Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you’ll hit the Bull’s-Eye of Success.”

References: www.annieoakleyfoundation.org/bio.html, Women in History, Living vignettes of notable women from U.S. History, www.lkwdpl.org/wihoio;oakl-ann.htm, Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie-Oakley

Photographs: http://39clues.wikia.com/wiki/Annie_Oakley, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Annie_Oakley_NYWTS.jpg