Monday, August 13th: Celebrate a strong woman with a gun. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNIE OAKLEY! Annie’s life began in a log cabin in Ohio, August 13, 1860. It’s reported that Annie began trapping at a young age, and shooting and hunting by age eight to support her siblings and her widowed mother. She sold the hunted game for money to locals in Greenville, as well as restaurants and hotels in southern Ohio. Her skill eventually paid off the mortgage on her mother’s farm when Annie was 15.
Following a shoot-off with Francis Butler, which Annie won, Butler began courting her and they were married on August 23, 1876.
In 1885, they joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Her most famous trick is perhaps being able to repeatedly split a playing card, edge-on, and put several more holes in it before it could touch the ground, while using a .22 caliber rifle, at 90 feet.
Annie was a supporter of women’s rights throughout her life. Oakley believed strongly that it was crucial for women to learn how to use a gun, as not only a form of physical and mental exercise, but also to defend themselves. She said, “I would like to see every woman know how to handle [firearms] as naturally as they know how to handle babies.” It’s believed that over her lifetime she taught more than 15,000 women how to use a gun.