The Life Celebrations and Struggles of American Cowgirl Annie Oakley
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius
“Annie Oakley, America’s first female celebrity, experienced an extremely traumatic and horrible childhood spent in destitute poverty, yet went on to become one of the most successful people of her era, entertaining crowds until the age of 62 when she performed her last public demonstration in the summer of 1922 upon Long Island, United States of America.
Late in 1865, a fierce blizzard swept across the plains of Indiana, United States of America and into western Ohio, United States of America. During this blizzard, Phoebe Ann Moses, more commonly referred to as “Annie Oakley”, the 5th surviving child in a Quaker farming family, awaited the arrival of her father Jacob Mosey from the mill he worked at 22.5 kilometers away.
Upon arrival, Mosey was unable to speak and his hands were frozen solid, an event from which he never recovered. Mosey died in March of 1866, just a few short months after this fateful blizzard. Oakley was 6 years old at the time of Moses’ death, and due to the insurmountable bills which inevitably piled up, the family soon lost their farm and home.
To ease the burden, Oakley’s mother Susan Mosey sent her young daughter to live at a poor farmstead, with Oakley soon becoming hired out to work as a live in helper for a family in a neighboring county. Although this was initially meant to improve living conditions for Oakley, after this experience, she never once used or mentioned the surname of the family she worked for, for the remainder of the duration of her life, referring to this family only as “the wolves”.
Oakley recounts being locked in closets, being worked beyond what would be considered tolerable, and even accounts that she was once thrown and locked out of the house barefoot into deep snow because she fell asleep while darning clothing. Oakley remembers trying to pray during this event but could not make vocal sounds nor could she move her lips as they were frozen solid. It’s unclear if Oakley was sexually abused but it is certain that she was physically, mentally, and emotionally abused during her time with this family. Oakley states that she was treated as a slave and remembers the physical pain she had to endure with reminders of this pain remaining due to welts she sustained inevitably caused by the severity of her assaults.”