Friday, January 10, 2014

America's First Female Superstar

By Vickie McDonough

Phoebe Ann Moses--do you recognize the name? Some sources site her last name as Mosley. Phoebe was born in August 16th, 1860, in Ohio. She grew up in a poor family, and after her father died, she was sent to Darke County Infirmary in Ohio, where she was educated and taught to sew. At age ten, she was sent to work for a family who treated her cruelly. She called them “the wolves” and soon ran away and returned to her family. She helped support them by hunting game and selling it to a local shopkeeper. Her shooting skill grew quickly, and she was soon able to pay off her family’s mortgage.

Have you figured out who she is yet? 

Annie Oakley, the most skilled female shooter of the 19th century.




In 1875, when Annie was just 15, she stunned Frank Butler, an expert shootist and vaudeville performer, when she beat him in a Thanksgiving competition. Frank fell in love almost at first sight, and the next year, he and Annie married. A few years later, when Frank’s partner took ill, Annie replaced him, amazing audiences with her shooting skills. At that time, she adopted the stage name of Annie Oakley. They joined a vaudeville show, and Annie began making her own costumes--ones more modest than the risqué outfits the other females wore.

In 1884, Anne met Sitting Bull, the Sioux Indian chief. He was so impressed with her abilities that he dubbed her “Little Sure Shot.” In 1885, Annie joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show and performed in the show for the next seventeen years. Annie dazzled audiences by shooting the flame off candles and corks out of bottles. She even shot off the end of a cigarette that her husband held in his teeth. Talk about trusting your wife! Annie could shoot distant targets while looking into a mirror, hit the edge of a playing card at 30 paces, and shoot holes in cards thrown into the air before they hit the ground. 

Annie toured Europe for three years and even met Queen Victoria. In 1901, Annie was injured in a railroad accident and partially paralyzed for a time, but she recovered and went on the star in a melodrama called The Western Girl. After she and Frank retired, Annie did exhibition work to raise money for orphan charities and the Red Cross. Annie died on November 3, 1926, and just eighteen days later, Frank joined her. Annie’s life was commemorated by the Irving Berlin musical, Annie Get Your Gun. She will always be known as America’s first woman superstar.



Call of the Prairie, book 2 in the Pioneer Promises series by Vickie McDonough. 

Sophie Davenport fears life is passing her by. Her strict, overprotective parents have kept her close to home because of the severe asthma attacks she sometimes endures. She longs to live a normal life and hopes to marry, but that dream seems impossible. When her aunt has a tragic accident and requests someone come to Kansas to help her, no one is available except Sophie. Her father, tied up with business, reluctantly agrees to let her go. Sophie is ecstatic and sees this trip as her one chance to prove to her parents—and herself—that she’s capable of living on her own. But things in the small town of Windmill are not as her aunt portrayed. And her aunt’s handsome neighbor, guardian of two of the children her aunt cares for after school, obviously doubts her abilities. Will the Kansas dust, the drama, and difficulties prove too much for Sophie? Or will she lose her heart to her neighbor and succumb to the call of the prairie?



Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen and others living in the western 1800s. Vickie is the award-winning author of 29 published books and novellas. Her books include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie, which released last July, was chosen by Romantic Times as one of their Recommended Inspirational Books for July.

Vickie is a wife of thirty-eight years, mother of four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and grandma to a feisty seven-year-old girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: www.vickiemcdonough.com



66 comments:

  1. I desperately wanted to play Annie in a high school production of Annie Get Your Gun, but they decided last minute to go with Fiddler on the Roof. I did a book report on Annie when I was in the 7th grade and decided I wanted to learn how to abhor like her! (I'm a pretty good shot, but no one would ever let try to shoot the end of a cigarette out of their mouth!! Thanks for a fun walk down memory lane, Vickie!

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    1. Oops, I almost forgot: kam110476(at)gmail(dot)com

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    2. Sorry you didn't get to play the part of Annie. That would have be a lot of fun. I wonder how Annie talked her first person into being willing to let her shoot that cigarette from his mouth. A brave soul or someone very confident of her abilities.

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  2. Fun read. As a writer of historical fiction i love research like this. Thanks for sharing.
    Cindy Huff
    cindyshuff(at)comcast(dot)com

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    1. Cindy, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about Annie. Good luck with your writing.

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  3. Thank you for doing a post on one of my favorite historical people. I've been a fan of Annie Oakley and Bill Cody for a long time, so this was a fun read. Vickie, Call of the Prairie sounds wonderful. Would love to read it! :)

    bookwarp(at)gmail.(com)

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    1. There's something intriguing and inspiring about Annie's story, isn't there? I've always been a fan of hers.

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  4. Great info, Vickie! I remember the play Annie Get Your Gun, from high school. Your new book looks wonderful! Blessings to you! Carrie

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    1. That was a fun play. Have a great weekend!

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  5. This posting is just so interesting, thanks for sharing.
    I have just enjoyed your site so very much, I am learning a lot.

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    1. Thanks, Marjorie! That's my mom's name. :) I'm glad you're enjoying CFHS.

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  6. Vickie, I also grew up wanting to marry a farm boy. Alas, I feel in love with a computer geek! Thankfully my computer geek grew up ON a farm, so I can claim he WAS a farmer. :) I love reading about Annie. I would love to hone my marksman skills like she did. Although, I can live without her harsh young life.
    Great post!
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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    1. Susan,
      That's so ironic. I've gotten to shoot guns several times and really enjoyed it.

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  7. Vickie, I loved your post! Annie Oakley was an amazing woman. Her strength and determination soared when she left "the wolves" to get back to her family. To keep them going by feeding them using her hunting skills and then using those shooting skills to entertain people for years to come...what a woman! Thank you for sharing this wonderful information.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Melanie, I'm guessing Annie had a sense of humor to endure what she did when she was young and to survive in a man's world.

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  8. Vickie, Thank you so much for featuring Annie Oakley on your post. When I was around 7 I wanted an Annie Oakley Gun belt and Fringed vest and skirt and western hat for Christmas! Santa was good and I still have the picture to prove it ! I wanted to be a cow girl so badly back then LOL ! Growing up in the 1950's was so great!!!
    Would love your book! Thanks & Blessings
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. That's so cool! I was a tomboy and grew up watching cowboy shows with my dad, and I loved horses.

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  9. What a great idea for a book! Would love to read it.

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  10. Thanks so much, Vickie, for this informative post! I enjoyed learning more about Annie Oakley. Your book sounds wonderful. Thanks also for offering the giveaway. :)

    Have a great weekend!
    Karen
    klange61AThotmailDOTcom

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  11. Thanks for the great post....love Annie Oakley stories . :-) Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book, it sounds wonderful!! teresasmathews(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I like Annie Oakley stories too. Good luck in the drawing.

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  12. I too have always loved hearing old stories of the wild west. Anne is a favorite and I would love to read more about her.

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    1. I also love Old West stories. Maybe sometime I'll write more about Annie.

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  13. I remember reading about Annie Oakley in the book, Annie Oakley of the Wild West (Paperback)by Walter Havighurst!
    Vickie, Call of the Prairie sounds like a great read!
    Thanks!
    Rebecca
    rbooth43 at yahoo dot com

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    1. I'll have to see if I can find that book. Sounds like a good one. Thanks!

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  14. I love reading about Annie Oakley. We now live in Golden, CO, the home of Buffalo Bill. We have been to the museum several times and there is a section that talks about Annie Oakley and all she did in his show It is so amazing! jumpforjoy@gmail.com

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  15. Thanks for this post! Call of the Prairie sounds wonderful. Thank you for the opportunity to win.
    augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Have a wonderful weekend.

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  16. I love this post about Annie Oakley and her history. She was certainly a woman of strength, determination, and talent! CALL OF THE PRAIRIE sounds wonderful and I thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. It amazes me that she married so young and had nearly a 50-year marriage.

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  17. Wonderful post, Vickie! Annie Oakley is such an interesting woman. Thanks for sharing the info and your newest story. :) Hope you have a fantastic weekend! (booksbybarnes@gmail.com)

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  18. I already knew it was Annie Oakley. She was first woman to do what she wanted way before Womens rights movements. No one put her in a box. Would love to win
    jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

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    1. It makes you wonder how she had the gumption that she did, especially considering her childhood.

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  19. Thanks for the history of Annie Oakley! I wasn't familiar with the details of her early life and how she learned to shoot so well. I'm looking forward to reading your new book! Thanks for the giveaway!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, Heidi. Annie lived an interesting life.

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  20. I knew who it was was right when I saw Phoebe Ann Moses ... :) My girls and Iove Annie Get Your Gun, so being a homeschool family, we just HAD to do research on the real Annie Oakley! ;) Thanks for the giveaway!

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  21. Annie Oakley has always been one of my favorite characters. I always chose to be her when we played cowboys and cowgirls growing up. Didn't have a gun, but I could sure pretend like I did. I did a lot of reading about her and it's nice to see a lot of it here again. Thanks for bringing back a fun memory. By the time costumes for Annie rolled around and toys with her name on them, I was in high school and into boys and getting my driver's license.

    By the way, Call of the Prairie is a great book with a determined heroine and a somewhat misdirected hero. Great fun.

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    1. Hey Martha! I can just see you going to the prom dressed as Annie. That would have shocked some folks.

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  22. Annie Oakley has always been an interesting person from history to learn about. It has been awhile since I have read anything about her. Thanks for your post! I really enjoyed hearing about her marriage.
    Brittany McEuen
    kbmceuen(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I agree with you about Annie--a very unique person.

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  23. I count Annie Oakley among the women I admire. She was a special person. I enjoyed the article you wrote, Vickie. I am looking forward to reading Call of the Prairie.
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, Kay. In researching Annie, I was surprised to learn she made most of her costumes because she was modest and didn't want to wear the short dresses the show gals did.

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    2. Thanks, Kay. In researching Annie, I was surprised to learn she made most of her costumes because she was modest and didn't want to wear the short dresses the show gals did.

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  24. Thanks for sharing some information on Annie Oakley, and I so look forward to reading your new book!

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  25. My Daddy used to call me "Annie Oakley" growing up. I grew up with 4 brothers, so one of our hobbies was going behind the pond dam on Sunday afternoons to "target practice" with Daddy. My Daddy got a kick out of me beating my 4 brothers. I grew up, married a police officer, so we often had shooting practice. I sure miss that now, as my husband went to heaven a few years ago. Once in a while, I get the opportunity to shoot, but not often enough!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. Susan, That's a fun story. I've gotten to shoot several times, and I was surprised how accurate I was. I hope to get my own gun one day.

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  26. Annie Oakley was so cool. Would love to win your book.

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  27. Thanks for the great post...I love this and have watched Annie get your gun... its delightful and so sweet to know that they were married for so long! =) thanks for the chance to win too...truckredford(at)Gmail(Dot)Com

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It is incredible that Frank and Annie were married for so long.

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    2. He might have been too scared to leave. She might hunt him down and shoot him...for real! Not just his cigar! :-D

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  28. I had heard of Annie Oakley, of course, but mostly about her great shooting ability and touring with Wild Bill's show. It was very interesting to learn details of her early years and see the photos of her. Thanks for a very interesting post.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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    1. Thanks, Pam. I'm glad you enjoyed Annie's story.

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  29. I have always loved the story of Annie Oakley. Thank you for sharing more of her story. Your book sounds great.

    susanmsj at msn dot com

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  30. Interesting about Annie Oakley, who had some horrible childhood. I was interested that Vickie M. married a computer geek instead of a rancher! You do write great stories, so your imagination and research are alive and well. SM wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  32. Oh Vickie. I sure enjoyed this post. I grew up hearing about Annie Oakley. But, didn't know some of this. I don't see how anyone could shoot like that. And, I'd never trust anyone enough to hold something in my mouth for them to shoot . LOL Accidents do happen. I did have a couple of friends who shot into a post then could hit in the center of the casing. I would sure love to win your book. I am subscribing to your newsletter. Thought had already, but guess not. Maxie mac262(at)me)dot)com

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  33. I've always enjoyed learning more about Annie Oakley, what an interesting and colorful life. Thanks for the giveaway!
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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