Breeder and Sportsman
PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY THE
BREEDER AND SPORTSMAN PUBLISHED CO
Miss Annie Oakley.
Editor Breeder and Sportsman:—In your issue of July 23d appears an article signed "A California," which is so far removed from the truth in many particulars that I, as a regular correspondent, cannot help but endeavor to enlighten your many readers on the subject. The Wild West show is meeting with great success—immense crowds at each performance. "A California" says that Miss Smith is knocking the English shooters crazy, and that she has performed before all the Royal family and was presented to Queen Victoria, and that the Queen took her gun in her hand and examined it. The facts are these: Miss Oakley, Miss Smith, Mr. Nate Salisbury, Buck Taylor and Col. W. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) were all presented at once on June 11th, they bowed and retired. There was no handling of gun or personal conversation, so Miss Oakley was not left out in the cold any more than the rest of them. I am highly pleased with the excellent performance of Miss Smith, or Mrs. Willoughby, as it is understood she is the wife of one of the cow-boys, and consider her a marvel with the rifle. It is also a great pleasure to note the performance of Miss Annie Oakley with the shot-gun. Miss Oakley recently gave an exhibition on the ground of the London Gun Club of which Viscount Stormont is President, and the Prince of Wales a member. Miss Oakley at that exhibition killed eighteen blue rock pigeons out of twenty-five, a feat unexcelled that day, and if it had been in competition would have won the challenge cup. The club expressed their high commendation of the achievement by presenting to her, through the Prince of Wales, the Club Gold medal valued at two hundred and fifty dollars. His Highness on handing the medal to Miss Oakley said: "I know of no one more worthy of it." So far as I can learn this is the first time the medal has ever been presented to a shooter. Since that time Miss Oakley won $250 in a sweepstake match at blue rocks, killing twenty-eight out of thirty at twenty-five yards rise; this, I believe, is the first prize ever won by a lady at their world-renowned grounds. Miss Oakley also gave an exhibition of rifle shooting before the members, shooting coins thrown in the air with ball cartidges, and did some very fine work, a shilling which she shot being kept by the President as a memento of her visit. At the time Miss Smith performed before the Royal family, so did Miss Oakley, and so did the Indians and cow-boys as in the daily performances, and at the time that the Queen was present no one but the Royal personages were admitted.
"A California" forgot to mention that the time Miss Smith shot before the grand Duke Michael of Russia, that he came down expressly to see Miss Oakley shoot, and that he, himself, shot her gun. "A California" says that Miss Oakley's husband, Mr. Frank Butler, tries to pass off as Miss Oakley's brother. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Butler, having brought a letter of introduction to him from one of the best business men of Boston, and I must say that I have always found him a very honorable and straightforward gentleman, and he has never to me tried to pass as anything but Miss Oakley's husband, and I, as a correspondent to sporting papers, have never yet had him try to fill me up with news unless I asked him for information. At the time of the visit of their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales to the Wild West, Miss Oakley's and Col. Cody's tents were the only tents that the Prince and Princess entered.
At the Winbledon Rifle meeting I saw the Prince of Wales push his way through a crowd to shake hands with Miss Oakley, and remained in conversation with her for some time. Miss Oakley receives a great many invitations to give private exhibitions before some of the leaders of society here, and was honored by an invitation to a reception at the Royal Geographical Society. Miss Oakley has been offered very flattering terms to give exhibitions at Boulogne and Monaco in France in Brighton, England. Miss Oakley's shooting at live birds and blue rocks, has improved wonderfully since she came to this country, and the American cracks will have to look to their laurels when she returns, or she will be taking them away from them.
Now, Mr. Editor, I write this in no way reflecting on Miss Smith, but when "A California" asserts that Miss Oakley is left out in the cold, I wish to say that he is much mistaken. I send you a few items for publication, taken from English papers, which I hope you will publish in justice to Miss Oakley, and I am willing to day that Mr. Frank Butler did not have to whisper the items in the ears of the reporters.
"The highest compliment we can pay this little lady is to say she can ride as well as she can shoot."—Society Times, June 22d.
"Exhibitions of shooting was given by Buffalo Bill, Miss Annie Oakley and Miss Lillian Smith, Miss Oakley being far and away the best shot."—Evening News, May 10th.
"The applause of the evening, however, is reserved for Miss Annie Oakley, because her shooting is clever, precise and dramatic."—The Referee, May 17th.
"Miss Oakley undoubtedly made the hit of the show."—The Era, May 16th.
"Miss Oakley was then presented to her Majesty; she made the prettiest of bows and then scampered off."—Daily Telegraph, May 12th.
One of the attractions at Wimbledon Camp yesterday was Miss Lillian Smith. She tried her hand at the running deer but without much success. The best she could do being to hit the haunch, which caused much laughter as this involves a line. Miss Oakley, however, was more successful. She made a fairly good score and was highly complimented by H. R. H., the Prince of Wales, who shook hands with her and asked her many questions regarding her health.
May Sacramentans, especially those interested in shooting, will remember Miss Lillian Smith, the young girl that was such an expert rifle shot that she issued a challenge to anyone in the country, male or female, to contest with her. She resided in this city for quite a while, her parents maintaining a shooting gallery, where Miss Smith astonished all-comers by her remarkable ability. The Woodland Mail says of her: "She was married some time ago to one of Buffalo Bill's scouts named Jim Kid, and the London Topical Times publishes an interview with the young lady, in which she tells how it was done. The story is simple and uninteresting enough, but what will interest Woodland people will be the highly polished language accredited to her—language that would do credit to the originator of English. In Woodland she usually said: 'Swab off the target pap, and let me band de eye,' or else, 'Swing de apple dere, young fellers, an' let me bust his skin.' How great are the changes."—Record Union
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