The Biography of Annie Oakley

The Biography of Annie Oakley, an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter born in Darke County, Ohio, on August 13, 1860.

She was popular as “Little Sure Shot” and became one of the most famous women of her time.

Oakley began shooting at a young age to help support her family. Eventually, her talent with firearms led to a career in entertainment that lasted over 30 years.

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Early Life and Career

The Biography of Annie Oakley
A portrait of sharpshooter Annie Oakley holding a shotgun, mid 1880s. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images) (A portrait of sharpshooter Annie Oakley holding a shotgun, mid 1880s. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images), ASCII, 113 components,

Annie Oakley was born on May 23, 1829, in Pennsylvania. As a girl growing up in frontier America, she showed a remarkable talent for shooting.

Annie’s s real name was Phoebe Ann Moses. She was born into a poor family, and after her father’s death, she learned to hunt and trap to provide for her siblings.

At age 15, she competed in a shooting match with Frank Butler. Her skills impressed him so much that he soon asked her to join his traveling show.

However, her family understood her passion and encouraged her—to learn to use her “talents” only when they were sure she would not hurt herself.

Frank Butler arranged for her to appear in Buffalo Bill’s shows (she traveled around with him as his sharpshooter).

They married in 1882 and remained together until Butler died in 1926.

She was an accomplished marksman with a gun and a natural talent for shooting at birds.

Also, she was the star attraction on the vaudeville circuit. By 1886, Oakley had set two world records: bar-driving and horseshoes.

Her act included standing on the end of a cannon, which she balanced precariously by holding onto the barrel with Christian Doble’s long arms while he raised and lowered it as she shot at targets.

Exhibition Shooting

The life of Annie Oakley has inspired many to get involved in shooting sports.

The National Rifle Association and many gun owners credit her as an icon who paved the way for modern American women.

Oakley’s talent for shooting quickly made her a star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, which toured the United States and Europe.

She also performed various difficult shooting tricks, including shooting targets while looking in a mirror or standing on her head.

In addition, Oakley’s performances impressed many famous figures of her time, including Queen Victoria, King Umberto I of Italy, and President William McKinley.

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Women’s Rights Activism 

Annie Oakley was a strong advocate for women’s rights and believed that women should be able to defend themselves.

She taught many women to shoot, and in 1899, she wrote a letter to President McKinley offering to provide a corps of 50 women sharpshooters for service in the Spanish-American War.

The offer was declined, but Oakley continued to promote women’s shooting sports and served as a role model for many women.

Also, Annie Oakley has been a role model for women throughout the world who have strived to achieve more than what was expected of them.

In particular, she became known as a champion of women’s rights and participated in various social movements that led to the enfranchisement of women.


The biography of Annie Oakley would not be complete without highlighting her legacy.

Annie Oakley’s legacy as a sharpshooter and entertainer lives on today. She inspired many women to take up shooting sports, and her name has been immortalized in literature, film, and popular culture.

In 1992, Oakley was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and in 2020, a new Broadway musical about her life premiered.

Additionally, Annie Oakley is one of the most iconic figures in American sports history. She’s famous as the world’s first true sharpshooter.

She was also a star performer at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and an inspiration to generations of female athletes.

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Annie Oakley died of pernicious anemia in Greenville, Ohio, on November 3, 1926. She was buried at the Brock Cemetery near Greenville.

She was a talented and trailblazing woman who overcame poverty and adversity to become one of the most famous entertainers of her time.

Annie Oakley’s biography as a sharpshooter and advocate for women’s rights continues to inspire people today.


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