Annie Oakley and Frank Butler

Skilled rifle shots who inspired an American musical

Annie Oakley (Phoebe Anne "Annie" Oakley Mozee) of Darke County, Ohio, was a tomboy from the start, and soon became known as a skilled rifle shot. In 1881, the famous Baughman and Butler shooting act was performing in Cincinnati. Star of the show, champion shot Frank E. Butler, boasted that he could beat any local marksman.

Butler was amused when told a young woman had accepted his challenge. But Phoebe Ann won the contest. She also captured Butler's heart. They were married in 1882.

Butler abandoned his career to manage hers. As "Annie Oakley" she joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, performing into the 1920s.

Annie died in 1926. Her heartbroken husband died 18 days later. Their happy marriage had lasted 44 years. Irving Berlin immortalized this most American of love stories with his 1946 musical Annie Get Your Gun.


Famous Love Stories in History

  • Anthony and Cleopatra
    The last Pharaon of Egypt and the dashing Roman general
  • Abelard and Heloise
    A monk and a nun whose love letters became famous
  • Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
    Grieving emperor who built the Taj Mahal for his late wife
  • John Alden and Priscilla Mullins
    One of the earliest romances in the American colonies
  • Abigail and John Adams
    A half-century love affair during the Revolutionary War
  • Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
    English royalty who mourned her husband's death for 40 years
  • Robert and Elizabeth Browning
    A secret courtship between two legendary poets
  • Marie and Pierre Curie
    Partners in love and science
  • Annie Oakley and Frank Butler
    Skilled rifle shots who inspired an American musical
  • Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne
    Broadway couple who reigned for 55 years

    Love, romance and relationship quotes for your soul

    • 'When you love someone, all your saved-up wishes start coming out.'
      ~ Elizabeth Bowen
    • 'Love talked about can be easily turned aside, but love demonstrated is irresistible.'
      ~ W Stanley Mooneyham
    • 'It is impossible to repent of love. The sin of love does not exist.'
      ~ Muriel Spark
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