Annie Oakley maintained, quite vocally, that women should learn to shoot defensively and keep a pistol close to hand at home and in the streets. She carried her own revolver in her umbrella, and demonstrated publicly how to pull it out if confronted by an attacker. At night, she recommended women keep their gun in a drawer next to the bed.
“A woman cannot always rely on getting help just by calling for it,” she explained.
She would have known, since her father died when she was 6 years old, leaving her mother in such poverty, Mrs. Moses was forced to farm out her children. A well-to-do local farmer offered to pay and educate Annie if she would help care for his three-year-old daughter. Annie jumped at the chance, which turned out to be a mistake. “The Wolves,” as she called the farmer and his wife, abused and virtually enslaved Annie for two years. When she was 12 years old or so, Annie ran away from the “The Wolves.” All by herself she made her way to the train depot, begged enough money for a meal and a ticket, and returned to the Greenville, Ohio poor farm, where she was at least treated well and paid for her work. She was able to buy her freedom by the time she was about 15 and went home to her mother.
There is no way to know the full extent of Annie’s abuse at the hands of “The Wolves,” but we do know she was remarkably adamant, considering the era, that women learn to defend themselves with a gun. At the least, her experiences probably made her aware of how vulnerable a woman can be if she is alone and unable to protect herself when preyed upon. Contrary to popular belief, Annie saw no reason why being female precluded learning to shoot for self-preservation. [Read more at SaluteProducts.com]
This is the second in a six gun, or rather, six blog post, salute—inspired by Annie’s legacy of smashing stereotypes and breaking glass ceilings. Follow the entire series of articles at the Salute Products blog.