Friday, July 25, 2008

Annie Oakley

The woman who received worldwide acclaim for her sharpshooting, who traveled for seventeen years with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, whose stage name was Annie Oakley but whom Chief Sitting Bull called "Little Miss Sureshoot," grew up in Darke County, Ohio, where Brethren were among her friends and neighbors.

When Annie was six years old, her father died and her mother married a neighbor, Daniel Brumbaugh, an elderly man who lived on a few more years before he too passed away. Many years later Annie Oakley claimed Martin Grove Brumbaugh as a cousin, and frequently she and her husband Frank Butler (whom she defeated in a shooting match before she married him at age sixteen) visited the Brethren educator at his home in Germantown.

According the Studebaker family history, Annie Oakley went to live at age eight with David and Mary Jane Studebaker near Greenville, Ohio. She may have had another Brethren connection in her mother's family in Pennsylvania. Her grandmother was a Clapper, the daughter of one of the early Brethren Clapper families.

Her biographers and the people who knew Annie Oakley describe her as "modest," "soft-spoken," "surprisingly feminine," "quiet and sedate," and even "puritanical" in her private life, not at all like the heroine of the musical Annie Get Your Gun. Seriously injured in an auto accident in 1921, Annie Oakley and her husband returned to Greenvile, Ohio. Her niece reported that she heard her pray, just before her death in 1926, "Oh that I might live over again those days of simplicity, when God was consulted and asked to guide the little family through each day."

Source: Ken Morse, Preaching in a Tavern