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Annie Oakley was best known for her role in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. She was a sharpshooter who developed her skills as a young child to help protect her family. She used to sell the wild game she hunted to the local grocery store to earn money. She earned some of the money paid off her mother’s farm, not to lose their home. Her hunting skills often fed her family, who lived in poverty. Annie’s hunting skills also introduced her to her husband, Frank E Butler. She actually beat him in a sharpshooter competition. In 1876 they married.
Annie traveled worldwide: England, Spain, France, and Italy, to name a few. When she decided to move back to the United States, she and her husband settled in New Jersey. Annie also lived in Maryland and North Carolina before moving back to Ohio in 1925.
Annie Oakley passed away in 1926 from complications from a car accident that she never fully recovered from. She always said she wanted to be buried where she was born, and she made sure that it was going to happen by moving home. She was an iconic figure who advocated for women to learn a sport primarily dominated by men.
Here are some of the most inspiring things she said.
Annie Oakley Quotes
- For me, sitting still is harder than any kind of work. – Annie Oakley
- I ain’t afraid to love a man. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either. – Annie Oakley
- Aim at a high mark, and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time, 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 bulls-eye of success. – Annie Oakley
- God intended women to be outside as well as men, and they do not know what they are missing when they stay cooped up in the house. – Annie Oakley
- I would like to see all women know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies. – Annie Oakley
- Any woman who doesn’t thoroughly enjoy tramping across the country on a clear frosty morning with a good gun and a pair of dogs does not know how to enjoy life. – Annie Oakley
- Even in the best and most peacefully civilized countries, many occasions arise when a woman versed in the knowledge and use of a firearm may find that information and skill of great importance. – Annie Oakley
- Families are nothing other than the idolatry of duty. – Annie Oakley
- There are always women who will take men on their own terms. If I were a man, I wouldn’t bother to change while there are women like that around. – Annie Oakley
- Being a good mother doesn’t call for the same qualities as being a good housewife; dedication to keeping children clean and tidy may override an interest in their separate development as individuals. – Annie Oakley
- Housework is work directly opposed to the possibility of human self-actualization. – Annie Oakley
- If love means that one person absorbs the other, then no real relationship exists any more. Love evaporates; there is nothing left to love. The integrity of self is gone. – Annie Oakley
- Clearly, society has a tremendous stake in insisting on a woman’s natural fitness for the career of a mother: the alternatives are all too expensive. – Annie Oakley
- My mother… was perfectly horrified when I began shooting and tried to keep me in school, but I would run away and go quail shooting in the woods or trim my dresses with wreaths of wildflowers. – Annie Oakley
- (on Sitting Bull) The contents of his pockets were often emptied in into the hands of small, ragged little boys, nor could he understand how so much wealth should go brushing by, unmindful of the poor – Annie Oakley
- A crowned queen who was never treated with more reverence than I was by those whole-souled western boys….and for seventeen long years, I was just their little sister, sharing both their news of joy and sorrow from home. – Annie Oakley
- After traveling through 14 foreign countries and appearing before all the royalty and nobility, I have only one wish today. That is when my eyes are closed in death that they bury me back in that quiet little farmland where I was born. – Annie Oakley
- I was eight years old when I made my first shot, and I still consider it one of the best shots I ever made – Annie Oakley.
- Why I have been told three different ties by various doctors that I would never get on a horse again! But I always did – Annie Oakley
- My mother and sisters thought my prowess with the gun was just a little tomboyish. – Annie Oakley
- I am, indeed, very grateful for your many kind words in my obituary. How such a report started, I do not know. – Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley Video – Chapter 1 of Annie Oakley on PBS
This is an excellent short educational documentary about Annie’s life and her extensive accomplishments. Definitely worth a watch and has great photos of her with her shotguns too!
Annie Oakley lived a fascinating, full-filled, yet heartbreaking life. From a young age, she was taken from her mother, but she still helped to support her family however she could.
Her quotes show a very strong, determined, and courageous woman who went through a lot in her life. She had a fun adventure, a lot of hard work, and she was proud of herself and who she had become. But the one thing that she wanted more than anything was to be returned to her small farm when she passed.
She never forgot her roots or where she came from. She stood up for women everywhere and wanted them to defend themselves and be allowed to do everything that a man could do.
Annie knew that all women could be strong and defend themselves and their families if they were given a chance. Annie believed in women and women using guns. She fought, she traveled, and she lived a full life until the day she passed away. Because of all of the things that Annie Oakley went through and accomplished, every history class should focus on her and what she meant to that era.
Image Credit: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=605409