Annie Oakley (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: An expert markswoman and consummate performer, Annie Oakley traveled throughout the United States and Europe demonstrating her expert shooting in an era when shooting was almost exclusively a man’s sport.
Phoebe Anne Moses, nicknamed Annie, was the fourth daughter born to the Quakers Jacob and Susan Moses of rural Darke County, Ohio. When Annie was still a young child, Jacob taught her to hunt and to trap. After Jacob’s death from exposure in 1866, Susan and her eight children were left destitute. Young Annie was sent to the county poor farm, but she was soon chosen by a young farmer to be a companion for his wife and infant daughter. Although it was common for poor children to be farmed out, the ten-year-old Annie’s fate was unusually cruel; she was overworked and physically abused by the farmer. For two years she was virtually a slave. In 1872, Annie fled, returning to the poorhouse, where she lived with the new superintendent and his wife as a member of their family. Under their care she attended school.
When Annie was fifteen, she returned to her mother. The enterprising young woman capitalized on her adroitness with firearms, entering into a business arrangement with a local merchant in which she supplied him with small game that was shipped to Cincinnati hotels. From that time forward, Annie earned her living with her shooting, proudly paying her mother’s mortgage...
(The entire section is 2034 words.)
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