Phoebe A. Moses

From Ohio History Central
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Phoebe Anne Moses was a world famous markswoman and entertainer who was better known by her stage name of "Annie Oakley."

Moses was born on August 13, 1860, in Darke County, Ohio. Some scholars believe her last name was actually Mozee. Moses received a limited formal education, but she became an expert markswoman at a young age. She assisted her parents in paying off the mortgage on the family farm by selling wild game that she killed.

By the mid 1870s, Moses had earned a name for herself due to her shooting skills. In 1875, she won a contest against Frank Butler, a marksman who earned a living by performing in circuses. Butler convinced Moses to travel with him across the country. The two performers later were married.

In 1885, the couple joined "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West Show. Moses became known as "Miss Annie Oakley, the Peerless Lady Wing-Shot." In her act, Oakley routinely split a card in two edge-wise with a single shot from thirty paces. She shot cigarettes out of her husband's mouth. On a tour of Europe, she performed this same trick with Crown Prince Wilhelm, who later became Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Oakley also shot dimes thrown into the air.

Oakley remained with the Wild West Show until 1901, when she became partially paralyzed after a train accident. She eventually recovered and returned to show business. She died on November 3, 1926.

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