MISS ANNIE OAKLEY.
This celebrated girl-shot was born at Woodland, Darke Co., Ohio, Aug. 13, 1866. Ever since a toddling child she has had an inherent love for fire-arms and hunting, and at the age of ten she, as often as ammunition was obtainable, would smuggle her brother's musket and steal into the woods, where game at that time was plentiful. Naturally she was a good shot, and came home well supplied with game. At the age of twelve she was presented with a 14-gauge muzzle-loading shot-gun. With this she improved rapidly, and became such a fine shot that she rarely missed quail or pheasant; and at the age of fourteen she had paid off a mortgage on her father's homestead with money earned from the sale of game and skins, shot and trapped by herself alone. Then came a local reputation, and with improved firearms she attracted wider notice. For the past five years she has been shooting before the public with great success; though, like the modest little girl she is, she never laid claim to being a champion, yet in 1883-4 Richard K. Fox of New York had so much confidence in her ability that he offered to back her against any other so-called champion. Sitting Bull, the great Indian chief, after seeing her shoot in St. Paul, Minn., adopted her in the Sioux tribe, giving her the name of "Watanya Cicila," or Little Sure Shot.
The first two years before the public she devoted to rifle and pistol shooting, and there is very little in that line she has not accomplished. At Tiffin, Ohio, she once shot a ten-cent piece held between the thumb and forefinger of an attendant, at a distance of 30 feet. In April, 1884, she attempted to beat the best record made at balls thrown in the air, using a 22 cal. rifle. The best record was 979, made by Dr. Ruth. Miss Oakley used a Stevens 22 cal. rifle, and broke 943. Her first attempt at clay pigeon and trap shooting was made about three years ago, in Cincinnati, shooting with such fine shots as Bandle, McMurchy and other noted shots.
In February, 1885, she attempted the feat of shooting at 5,000 balls in one day, loading the guns herself. In this feat she used three 16-gauge hammer guns. The balls were thrown straight away from three traps, fifteen yards to rise. Out of the 5,000 shot at, she broke 4,772. On the second thousand she only missed 16, making the best 1,000 ball record—984. This feat was accomplished near Cincinnati, Ohio, in less than nine hours.
Besides the thousands of exhibitions she has given, she has shot in thirty-one matches and tournaments, winning twenty-five prizes. Her collection of medals and fire-arms, all of which have been won or presented to her, is considered the finest in America.
She has hunted in many of the game sections of America and Canada, and says, with a pardonable pride that she has shot quail in Virginia, ducks in Illinois, prairie chickens in Kansas, and deer in northern Michigan. Her style and position at the trap is considered perfection by such critics as Budd, Stice, Erb, Bogardus, Cody, Carver, and the English champions, Graham and Price. Shooting clay pigeons she has a record of 96 out of 100. At live pigeons her best record is 23 out of 25, made in a match for $100.
That she understands how to manage a horse, the following will show: In the fall of '84 a gentleman near Greenville, Ohio, who owned a valuable but vicious and unbroken horse, told her he would give her the animal if she could ride him in less than three days; and without any assistance she broke him to saddle, and has since used him when not engaged, sometimes riding as high as fifty miles in one day. At the fair at Newton, N. J., she proved herself to be at home in the saddle by winning four out of five half-mile races, although the horse she rode was selling for third place. What makes Miss Oakley's feats more surprising is the fact that she is small in stature and weighs only 110 pounds.
AN ILLUSTRATED JOURNAL,
[?] EXCHANGE PLACE, BOSTON, MASS.
MISS ANNIE OAKLEY.
(Little Sure Shot).
For some time past, shooters, who have read American journals, recording feats of marksmanship, have noticed occasional allusions to the wonderful skill of Miss Annie Oakley, a young lady who, from an inherent love of fire-arms and hunting, when a girl of ten years of age, had become a fine shot, which gave her considerable reputation where she was born, and passed her childhood days; and as she grew older, and her skill continuing to increase, she attracted the attention of shooters throughout the country. As she frequently shot matches with fine shots of the sterner sex, and was generally victorious she has acquired the reputation of being one of the finest lady shots with rifle, shot-gun, or pistol in America.
Miss Oakley was born at Woodland, Dark Co., Ohio, August 13, 1866. In those days game was abundant in that section, and, when this young lady had reached the age of ten years, her greatest pleasure was to steal away into the woods, and, with her brother's musket, which had been smuggled from the house, indulge in her favorite pastime of hunting and shooting.
Later, securing a gun of her own, she established a great local reputation, which soon extended and attracted the attention of parties who induced her, by flattering offers, to exhibit her skill before the public, where she has done excellent work, delighting many thousands of people who have seen her shoot. Audiences are sometimes easily pleased, and often do not fully consider the difficulties of a performance; those who are used to handling fire-arms fully appreciate the skill of Miss Oakley; and it is a rare treat to see this little lady handle rifle or shot-gun, which she does with the greatest grace and ease and with acknowledged skill. She shoots with the shot-gun on foot and from horseback, being an expert rider, and with the rifle and pistol, of the latter two, our readers are specially interested in; the rifle and pistol preferred and used by her being the Stevens' make.
Early in her shooting career she exhibited her skill before the great Indian chief, Sitting Bull, the exhibition taking place in St. Paul, Minn.; the old warrior was filled with delight, and exclaimed, Muzza Caw Ah Pazzo! Muzza Caw Ah Pazzo! (Little Sure Shot),—a name she was from that time known by among the Sioux tribe, into which the great chief adopted her. In April, 1884, she attempted to beat the best 1,000-ball record at that time made, at balls thrown in the air, and broken with a rifle-ball; the record she attemped to excel being that of 979, made by Dr. Ruth, she used her .22-calibre rifle, and scored 943 balls out of 1,000.
In 31 matches she has engaged in she has secured 25 prizes, and has always shot even terms. Her collection of guns, medals, and prizes is magnificent, and in addition to this she has earned, during the past five yeras, a handsome sum of money.
This little lady wears the laurels she has won by her pluck and skill, with becoming modesty. She does not claim the word "champion," but many award it to her in particular styles of shooting. She is small in stature, but quick and sure in her movement, rides with unsurpassed grace, and shoots with unerring accuracy. Parties, who have seen her shoot the rifle and pistol in private, state that her skill is wonderful, and which few only of the male sex can equal.
Miss Annie Oakley.
THE KENNEL AND GUN.
Miss Annie Oakley, of Pine Brook.
People were all agog at Pine Brook, New Jersey, on Monday, 7th inst., as team after team, hauling loads of merry men, pulled up at Frank Class' Club House. It was evident that something rather out of the ordinary order was going to take place.
"What does this gathering and noise mean?" asked sober-faced Deacon Jones as he pulled up the old mare Dobbin, "Is there going to be a Van Due or a circus intown?" "Wal, no, Deacon," said an honest-faced tiller of the soil, "not exactly that, but something a darned sight better, and if you'll just pull the old hoss up here I'll explain.
"I suppose you have heard of this man Graham, the wonderful one-armed pigeon shot that's been residing up here for awhile (as he says to keep himself in practice on the quiet)." "Oh! yes," replied the Deacon, "I have been trying to get him to join our congregation."
"Wal, Deacon, to make a long story short, you see there is a lady visiting at his house, and she is a gol darned good shot with the gun, and so a lot of us boys got Mr. Graham to prevail on her to give an exhibition before she left these diggins and she has consented, and we are waiting for her to commence."
"Wal, now, look here, John Saunders, you, you quite interest me. Is she very young?"
"Wal, I don't know, Deacon, she looks as though she mout be twenty, but I tell you, Deacon, she's right smart-looking."
"I reckon, you rascal, John, you always did have an eye for good-looking girls, but, howsomever, John, I guess as I have driven the old mare pretty sharp the last [five?] miles, I'll jist tie her up and put the [blanket?] on and stop in to see the Widow Jenkins. I understands she want to sell her cow."
"Wal, look here, Deacon," said John, if you are a going to hang round to catch a look at this ere young gal shooter, I had better tell you that I heard she was sorter connected with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Exhibition, as perhaps if some of the congregation were to see you hanging around looking at an entertainment of this kind, they might think you'd fell from grace."
Wal, you see, John, that's just why I'm going over to the Widow Jenkin's house so I can look out of her second-story window and take in the show, so don't give it away. Good-bye." As the deacon headed for the widow's, John repaired to the club-house, just as Miss Annie Oakley emerged from the hotel escorted by her attendant, and was crossing the road to the shooting grounds to commence the exhibition, where she performed some wonderful feats of skill, after which she stated that if there was any gentleman who desired to throw into the air a silver quarter to be reserved as a memento after she had hit it, he could do so. A gent stepped forward and handed her attendant the quarter, which he threw into the air only to be hit and driven a hundred yards away among the stubble, which caused great laughter by the spectators.
The next feat she performed was that of shooting at 20 clay pigeons with a double barrel shot gun, breaking them all, six of which she stood with her side to the trap until she cried pull, then wheeling broke them clean. She then shot at six double risers, breaking 11 out of 12. She then placed the gun upon the ground, and after giving the word to pull, picked up the gun and broke one out of the two clay pigeons thrown from the traps. She tried it again and broke them both, amid cheers and much enthusiasm, then taking a Spencer repeating shot-gun she broke six glass balls thrown into the air, in four seconds (by the watch). An intermission was then taken while the live pigeon traps were placed in position, so for the purpose of giving the shivering spectators an opportunity of warming [up?], as a cold, drizzling rain had set in, making out doors miserable. In about twenty minutes Miss Oakley again faced the traps, this time, however, to show her skill at live pigeons, which she proceeded to do in fine style, killing at 25 yards rise her three straight, hitting the fourth hard with second barrel, knocking out a large bunch of feathers, but the bird having been raised at Pine Brook seemed as hard as a pine knot, and carried the ounce and a quarter of shot bravely out of bounds. The next six, however, were brought to the ground before they has proceeded far from the traps, making the score of 9 out of 10, which pleased the assemblage very much.
After the excitement had subsided, Mr. Frank Class stepped forward and in a very appropriate speech--handed Miss Oakley a small box which upon being opened was found to contain a handsome Gold Medal, about 1 1/2 inches in circumference, with the following inscription engraved upon it:
"To Miss Oakley, by her many friends and admirers, for her Performance Feb. 7th, 1887, at Frank Class' Club House grounds, Pine Brook, N. J." The face of the medal was adorned by a raised pigeon in full flight and the words: 'As a token of skill.'"
Miss Oakley replied by saying she felt very much gratified to be the recipient of so fine an appreciation of her ability, and thanked them all for their efforts in making her brief stay so very pleasant. She then hastily entered a close carriage in waiting with her attendant and was driven to Montclair where the train was taken for New York in order to give her performance in Madison Square Garden.
The famous rifle and trap shot, Miss Annie Oakley, of Buffalo Bill's "Wild West" show, will shoot a return match against John L. Brewer, at Point Breeze Park, on Thursday, March 24; Hurlingham rules, fifty live birds each; Brewer to stand at thirty yards and Miss Oakley at twenty-four yards; one ounce shot. Stages meet cars at Broad and Jackson every half hour.
The New York Star.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 1888.
MISS OAKLY DEFEATS GRAHAM.
The Clever Female Champion Slays Forty-seven Out of Fifty Pigeons.
The pigeon shooting match between Miss Annie Oakley, the female champion, and J. W. Graham, the English champion, at Camden, N. J., yesterday, attracted considerable interest. The contest was at fifty live birds, under the Hurlingham rules. The weather was beautiful and the large crowd present enjoyed the sport.
In the betting Graham was a slight favorite, but the young lady had numerous supporters. The birds were fast flyers, and the contestants, who were in the best of conditions, had to empty a second barrel very often to bring the pigeons down. Miss Oakley had splendid command of the gun, and some of her shots were applauded by the spectators. Graham did well in the early part of the match, but fell off toward the end, and was finally forced to submit to defeat. The score was:
Killed. Missed. Total.
Oakley 47 3 50
Graham 45 5 50