Phoebe Ann Moses--do you recognize the name? Some sources cite her last name as Mosley. Phoebe was born on 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: 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.
THE PRODIGAL'S SHOTGUN WEDDING
A prodigal’s hope for a happy homecoming is derailed. Clay left home after his brother’s death—a death for which he was responsible. After years away he’s finally returning, hoping for reconciliation with his father. But when the stagecoach he’s riding in wrecks and he is injured, he finds himself in a fight for survival. Jolie is fleeing a nightmare situation. She desperately hopes becoming a mail-order bride doesn’t land her in a worse place. When the stage crashes and she spends the night alone with a wounded man, she wonders if her intended will still want her. If he doesn’t, what will she do? She has no money and nowhere to go.
Available on Amazon / Free KU
Vickie McDonough is the CBA, EPCA, and Amazon best-selling, award-winning author of 50 books and novellas.