Wild West Legendary Women Part Three

Annie Oakley Annie Oakly

Annie Oakley’s real name was Phoebe Moses and she was born in Darke County, Ohio in 1860. She helped her family survive by hunting and selling game, or wild animals.

Though she learned to use a rifle for practical reasons, she eventually became a skilled sharpshooter (a person skilful, in hitting a target). She met her husband, Frank Butler, in a shooting contest in Ohio, and legend has it that she won the match with 25 out of 25 shots, to his 24.

Together, Frank Butler and Annie Oakley created a show and began to travel around the country giving shooting demonstrations, even joining the circus as “champion rifle shots.”

The husband-and-wife team joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in 1885 and toured with the show for sixteen years. This celebration of the “Old West” included skits of stage robberies, gunfights, and military exhibitions.

Though most heroes of the “Wild West” were men, Buffalo Bill’s show celebrated Annie Oakley’s skills, and she became one of the most famous women of the West.

Her nickname, “Little Sure Shot”, was given to her by Chief Sitting Bull who was so amazed by her skills.

Once, at the invitation of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, she knocked the ashes off a cigarette he was holding in his mouth.

She was severely injured in 1901 when the train that carried the Wild West show collided with another and she became partially paralyzed. She performed again but not as the same Annie. She died in 1926, a few years after an auto accident from which she never regained her health.

Abigail Scott Duniway Abigail Scott Duniway

Abigail Scott Duniway was a crusader for Women’s Suffrage. Born in Illinois, Duniway traveled to Oregon with her family in 1852. She described the arduous journey in her first book “Captain Gray’s Company or Crossing the Plains and Living in Oregon”. She was nearly completely self-taught and read newspapers avidly. She became influenced by the women’s rights movement by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. While in Oregon, Duniway became a schoolteacher.

She established her own newspaper in 1870 called New Northwest. When the national Women’s Suffrage Association convened in Washington D.C. in 1886, Duniway was recognized as the leading women’s advocate in the West. She worked for years to achieve women’s property rights and it wasn’t until 1912 that Oregon granted women the right to vote.

At 78, she became the first registered women voter in her county. Her autobiography is called “Path Breaking” (1914). Sadly, she died five years before an amendment to the constitution was signed granting women voting rights.

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