Annie Oakley Lesson for Kids: Facts & Biography

Instructor: Lindsey Hays

Lindsey has taught Elementary Education, Spanish immersion, and ESL. She has a MS in Elementary Education with a BA in Spanish.

Annie Oakley, nicknamed Little Sure Shot, was known as an incredible female sharpshooter in the 1880s. In this lesson, we will learn about Annie Oakley and her life in the American West.

Annie Oakley

It's the year 1885 and hundreds of people have come to see gun shooting and other outdoor events at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Little do they know, there's a new shooting star: Annie Oakley. In this lesson, we'll learn about Annie Oakley and her life as a marksman, an expert in shooting guns.

Early Life

Annie Oakley was born with the name Phoebe Ann Moses on August 13, 1860, in Ohio. When Annie was young, her father died in an accident during a blizzard. Annie's mother struggled to provide for Annie and her six siblings. When she was 10 years old, Annie went to live and work in a poor house. She was later sent to work for a family who treated her badly, forcing her to do hard labor and not allowing her to leave when she wanted. Annie ran away from them, and eventually went back to live with her mother.

Annie began shooting guns at an early age. She eventually began selling animals she shot and was able to make enough money to pay for her family's house.

Annie Oakley

In 1875, at the age of 15, Annie was entered into a shooting exhibition. There she met and beat Frank Butler by hitting all 25 of her clay duck targets in a row. The next year, when Annie was just 16 years old, she and Frank got married.

Professional Years

In 1882, Annie and Frank began working together as partners. A couple of years later, the Native-American warrior Sitting Bull saw Oakley perform and gave her the nickname 'Little Sure Shot.'

Annie joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1885 as the star. She went on to perform for 17 years with the show. She was known for some incredible tricks, like shooting out the lit end of a cigarette while it was in her husband's mouth. She could also shoot backwards and hit targets by looking in a mirror and even shoot holes in playing cards tossed into the air.

Annie in the Wild West Show

In 1901, both Annie and Frank were in a train accident, and Annie was injured. The pair took time off from performing for a while, but Annie did return to her shooting tricks by the end of the decade, though not with Buffalo Bill's show.

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