America’s First Female Superstar by Vickie McDonough

Vickie McDonough 3 smallPhoebe Ann Moses–do you recognize the name? Some sources site her last name as Mosley. Phoebe was born in August 16th, 1860, in Ohio. She grew up in a poor family, and after her father died, she was sent to Darke County Infirmary, where she was educated and taught to sew. At age ten, she was sent to work for a family who treated her cruelly. She called them “the wolves” and soon ran away and returned to her family. She helped support them by hunting game and selling it to a local shopkeeper. Her shooting skill grew quickly, and she was soon able to pay off her family’s mortgage.Annie Oakley

Have you figured out who she is yet?

Miss Annie Oakley, the most skilled female shooter of the 19th century.

In 1875, when Annie was just 15, she stunned Frank Butler, an expert shootist and vaudeville performer, when she beat him in a Thanksgiving competition. Frank fell in love almost at first sight, and the next year, he and Annie married. A few years later, when Frank’s partner took ill, Annie replaced him, amazing audiences with her shooting skills. At that time, she adopted the stage name of Annie Oakley. They joined a vaudeville show, and Annie began making her own costumes–ones more modest than the risqué outfits the other females wore.

 IAnnie Oakley 2n 1884, Anne met Sitting Bull, the Sioux Indian chief. He was so impressed with her abilities that he dubbed her “Little Sure Shot.” In 1885, Annie joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show and performed in the show for the next seventeen years. Annie dazzled audiences by shooting the flame off candles and corks out of bottles. She even shot off the end of a cigarette that her husband held in his teeth. Talk about trusting your wife! Annie could shoot distant targets while looking into a mirror, hit the edge of a playing card at 30 paces, and shoot holes in cards thrown into the air before they hit the ground.

Annie Oakley 3Annie toured Europe for three years and even met Queen Victoria. In 1901, Annie was injured in a railroad accident and partially paralyzed for a time, but she recovered and went on the star in a melodrama called The Western Girl. After she and Frank retired, Annie did exhibition work to raise money for orphan charities and the Red Cross. Annie died on November 3, 1926, and just eighteen days later, Frank joined her. Annie’s life was commemorated by the Irving Berlin musical, Annie Get Your Gun. She will always be known as America’s first woman superstar.

Vickie will be giving away 2 print copies of Call of the Prairie today.  Join in on the fun and post a comment!!


 Whisper cover 4Call Of The Prairie cover











About Vickie
Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen and others living in the West during the 1800s. Vickie is the award-winning author of 29 published books and novellas. Her books include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie, which released last July, was chosen by Romantic Times as one of their Recommended Inspirational Books for July.

Vickie is a wife of thirty-eight years, mother of four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and grandma to a feisty seven-year-old girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website and sign-up for her newsletter:

About Call of the Prairie – 
Sophie Davenport fears life is passing her by. Her strict, overprotective parents have kept her close to home because of the severe asthma attacks she sometimes endures. She longs to live a normal life and hopes to marry, but that dream seems impossible. When her aunt has a tragic accident and requests someone come to Kansas to help her, no one is available except Sophie. Her father, tied up with business, reluctantly agrees to let her go. Sophie is ecstatic and sees this trip as her one chance to prove to her parents and herself that she’s capable of living on her own. But things in the small town of Windmill are not as her aunt portrayed. And her aunt’s handsome neighbor, guardian of two of the children her aunt cares for after school, obviously doubts her abilities. Will the Kansas dust, the drama, and difficulties prove too much for Sophie? Or will she lose her heart to her neighbor and succumb to the call of the prairie?




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34 thoughts on “America’s First Female Superstar by Vickie McDonough”

  1. Yes MS Vickie. I knew who it was. She was quite a woman. Very famous. I would love to be one of your winners. I understand the asthma. Suffered with it for many years. Still scares me when I start having a tight chest, knowing it could start up again just any time, but I pray to GOD it doesn’t. Would not be able to move this time. I had to move shortly after marrying at 16 to south Texas from Okla. Away from my parents. Very hard. But, did get better. GOD bless.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  2. Vickie, I love the story of Annie Oakley. What a woman! She was a master of her talents and she shared hem with many as you are and do with yours. Thank you for what you do. I look forward to reading your wonderful book and am keeping my fingers crossed for the win. Thank you for the opportunity.

    melback at cebridge dot net

  3. I love “Annie Get your Gun”. I remember listening to my mother’s record of it when I was a little girl. Also, I can remember (a little) watching “Annie Get you Gun” on TV with Ethel Merman in the sixties. I was very young at the time.

    Later when I was in school, I did a book report on her.

  4. Hi Vickie! I’m happy to see you again. Welcome back to the Junction. Annie Oakley has always intrigued me. She had such kind eyes and so much determination to make something of herself. If I could back in time she would be the person I’d want to meet. How fun to be able to sit down and have a conversation. I’m sure that railroad accident really did set her back on her heels. Being partially paralyzed in this day and age is totally different from back at the turn of the century. I can’t imagine how devastating. But she proved her mettle and roared back.

    Congratulations on the new release! Call of the Prairie sounds wonderful! Wishing you much success.

  5. My Dad used to call me Annie Oakley. I grew up with 4 brothers and we used to target shoot on the weekends for fun. I would LOVE to win this book! It’s been on my wish list for awhile.

  6. The real Annie sounds a bit more competent and less “tempestuous” than Irving Berlin’s; I have to say I enjoy his music though!


  7. Vickie,

    I love reading about people from our past as does my adult son, Beau Dallas. I would love nothing more than to win a copy of your book. I would honestly read this book and pass it on to my son.

    Many years ago I invested in the Time Life addition of the”Old West”Series and absolutely loved reading those books but found our later in life my son had always had his eyes on those books. The time came when I had to downsize and I asked him if he would like that set of books. He smiled and said”I was hoping you would ask me Mom” They are proudly displayed today in a brilliant bookshelf he and his wife has built into their new home.
    In the event I should win, would you please sign the book for him? He would be SO proud of it and I would like nothing more than to present him with it.

    Rhonda Boomershine

  8. Thanks for the post. I have always loved reading about Annie Oakley.
    Call of the Prairie looks like a great book. I would love to win a copy.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

  9. Hi Vickie, welcome to the junction. Loved your book! Can’t wait to read the next one!

    I also enjoyed reading about Annie. Unlike so many of today’s super stars, she actually had talent.

    Take care and do come back soon.

  10. Annie had an exceptional talent and skill that many got to enjoy as she performed throughout her lifetime. I’d have loved to have seen her and a Wild West Show in person!

    Your books look good Vickie. I’ll check them out for my Kindle now!

  11. Thank you for the great post Vickie. I’ve always loved learning about the old west and it was interesting that Annie Oakley’s husband passed so quickly after she did. Could it be he died of a broken heart after losing his Annie?

    I would love to win a copy of Call of the Prairie. Thank you for the chance.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  12. Oh, I hope I win a print copy! I don’t read eBooks and historical fiction is my favorite genre. I would like to read Sophie’s story.

    I read a previous post a few months back about Annie Oakley ~ love these pioneer women and their grit! ~ the adventurous side, not sandy ~ dictionary: firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck: “She has a reputation for grit and common sense.”

    Kind of sums it up!

    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

  13. Thanks for sharing the history and especially the pictures! I’m looking forward to reading your new book! Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  14. Good Morning. The name sounded very familiar, but as age creeps up on me, all names start to sound familiar. Very interesting information about Ms Oakley. About the Asthma, my youngest son had it as a child. That has got to be the scariest sound in the world as they try to inhale air. He did out grow it and then we moved to the high desert away from the fog of the Central Valley of California.
    I would love to read your books.

  15. Lori, I enjoyed “Annie Get Your Gun,” too. I’m guessing we’re about the same age. 🙂

    Hi Linda B! You’re right about how hard things must have been for people who get sick or injured in the 1800s. I can’t imagine coping with all the death they face. My grandma, born in 1876, out-lived six of her ten children. Must have been hard.

    Susan, Did you out shoot your brothers?

    Me too, Wendy. She’s a hero to look up to.

    Rachel I do believe the real Annie was more mellow and responsible that she is often portrayed.

  16. Thanks, Rhonda M!

    Hi, Rhonda B. I have that set of books too. They are very informative!

    Me too, Goldie!

    Hi, Susan. Good luck in the drawing!

    So true, Margaret. Annie really was talented. It’s neat how she used her skill to provide for her family even when she was young.

  17. Cindy, I guess after 50 years of marriage, he just missed her to much to live without her. Talk about true love!

    Linda H, Wouldn’t it have been fun to watch Annie perform!

    Anon, thanks for visiting P & P today!

    Thanks, Colleen!

    Kathleen, I think most women of the 19th century needed some grit to survive. I still love my paperbacks too.

    Heidi, I’m glad you enjoyed Annie’s story and the pictures of her.

    Mary, I’m glad your son got over his asthma. That’s got to be scary as a mother watching your child suffer from it

  18. Great post Vickie! Annie sure was something wasn’t she. One strong women! Thanks for giving us a little history about her.

  19. Great story. I have heard of the name Annie Oakley but never read anything about her. Looking forward to reading your new book. The first book in the series was worth reading. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of the new one.

  20. Thanks for the quick biography of Annie Oakley. I knew some of the information, but you added a good deal more. She was able to prove herself and not be held back by men. Kind of hard to ignore her abilities.

    Unfortunately, Sophie, your heroine, wasn’t so lucky. She seems to have suffered what many women of that time did – over-protective relatives, with no one willing to give her credit for her abilities and no way to prove herself. The West was a good opportunity for people like her. It gave people a chance to start anew and to prove themselves. Your past didn’t matter as much as who you were now and what you could do. It gave her a chance to test herself and see what she was capable of.

    CALL OF THE PRAIRIE sounds like it will be a good book. I look forward to seeing how Sophie faces the challenges and grows.

  21. Enjoyed the info on Annie and the book looks very interesting. Would like to have it. I like Vickie’s books.

  22. Yes, she was definitely an impressive woman. I can appreciate her skill and admire her for having the courage and heart to do what not many people could. I would loved to have met her.
    But it makes me wonder….
    So many women had tough lives back then, and I’m sure more than a few had to learn to shoot, ride, and protect their families with no man to help. Yet, we just don’t hear about many of them. I would love to hear their stories, not just the ones that got “famous”. We wouldn’t be where we are today without tough ladies like these!
    Much respect to them ALL!

  23. Really enjoyed reading the information about the amazing Annie.
    Surprised at her tiny waist. Looks like she could not hold up a gun.

  24. She lived quite the life! Pulled herself up from a very hard beginning and accomplished what no other woman did.

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