Annie Oakley, Star Attraction at Pinehurst

Annie Oakley shooting for a crowd in Pinehurst

Annie Oakley shoots for a crowd in Pinehurst.

On February 11, 1917, Annie Oakley exhibited her skills as a markswoman in Pinehurst.

Born Phoebe Ann Moses in Ohio in 1860, Oakley first demonstrated that she was skilled with a gun while hunting game as a teenager. She was discovered after defeating Frank Butler, a well-known sharpshooter, in an exhibition in Cincinnati in 1876, and married Butler soon thereafter.

In time she became an international celebrity. European royalty adorned her with medals and she was adopted as “Little Sure Shot” (she was 5 feet tall) by Lakota Chief Sitting Bull. One of Oakley’s favorite routines involved shooting an apple that had been placed on top of her dog Dave’s head.

A train wreck outside Lexington in 1901, involving Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West troupe, left Oakley temporarily paralyzed and brought an end to that part of her career.

Beginning in 1915, Oakley and her husband wintered at the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst. There she mingled with society’s elite and taught women how to handle guns. She regarded her time in North Carolina as the happiest years of her life, since she was only employed part-time and enjoyed freedom in her schedule and the chance to rest.

In 1918, she was severely injured in an automobile accident in Florida, and she died in 1926.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.