Annie Oakley's motto was, "Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you'll hit the Bull's Eye of Success."
She was born in Darke County, Ohio, just a few miles north of Greenville. Her date of birth was August 13,1860. Her mother named her Phoebe Ann Moses. Annie's younger years were marked by the loss of her father and the dire poverty the family endured after his death.
To gain a perspective, imagine what Ohio was like in 1860. Visualize a forested land with small areas cleared for farming, towns and villages. There were only a few good dirt roads and travel for most people was by horseback, wagon, or on foot. People grew their own food or went into the woodlands to hunt for game to supply their needs. In order to get staples, Annie's father had to drive the wagon into Greenville. To market his crop of corn and wheat, he had to deliver it to the local grist mill, fourteen miles away. It would take a full day before he returned.
In 1866, Annie's father, Jacob, was caught in a blizzard as he was returning home from the mill. It was very late and the family was worried. When they heard the wagon pull up, they saw their father, seated upright in the wagon. His hands and feet were frozen and he could not speak. They took him inside and tried to comfort him. Unfortunately, there was little that could be done. He did not recover. Annie often recalled the horror of that night. It was a defining event for the family. Shirl Kasper describes the family's plight in the following excerpt from her book, Annie Oakley, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Publishing Division of the University, 1992.
"The destitute family moved to a rented farm, but life did not improve. Annie's oldest sister, Mary Jane, came down with tuberculosis and died and Susan Moses sold Pink, the family cow, to pay doctor and funeral bills." Unable to provide for her children Susan was forced to send them to live with others. Annie had to live at the county infirmary. Later, she was sent to work in the home of an abusive family. Annie described this time as slavery and the family as the wolves."
Annie learned to shoot at the age of eight. She had a natural athletic talent that enabled her to hit small game, usually quail and rabbit, with a clean shot through the head. This made her the favorite game provider at the Katzenberger brothers general store in Greenville who traded and purchased from Annie. They, in turn, supplied hotels in Cincinnati.
Annie was an excellent markswoman and she eventually began to take part in shooting contests. It was at one of these events that she met another competitor, Frank Butler, whom she would later marry. The Annie Oakley Center at Garst Museum is a wonderful place to learn more about this remarkable woman. See guns, medals, personal clothing, and gifts given to her by kings, queens and Indian chiefs. Read about her career and see that this hero was not a wild west girl as many have portrayed her, but an inspirational role model who overcame childhood adversity with a rare talent that set her apart and enabled her to become a legend. Annie died in Greenville, Ohio on November 21, 1926. Her husband of 50 years, Frank Butler, followed her in death just eighteen days later.
General "Mad" Anthony Wayne built the largest log fortification ever built in the Northwest Territory. Visit Garst Museum's display of recently discovered artifacts from the old fort.
Anthony Wayne was a military genius, a systematic organizer and a skilled negotiator with the Indians. Wayne took calculated risks that no other man would dare try, thus earning his "Mad" nickname. His military contributions opened up the heart of America to settlement, further aiding the development of the United States and stabilizing the new country's future.
Born in Pennsylvania, Wayne was an early patriot in the fight against Britain and was appointed colonel in the Continental Army. He was in charge of troops who stormed Stony Point and took over 500 prisoners. Wayne was later awarded a medal by Congress and President Washington in 1790.
He was named the Commander of the West (the Northwest Territory) and after Arthur St. Clair's defeat at Ft. Recovery, Wayne was called upon to protect the settlers and make peace with the Indians.
Wayne marched north from Cincinnati and built or fortified a series of wilderness forts. Greene Ville was the largest log fortified army encampment in the Western Frontier. It garrisoned about 3,000 regulars, militiamen, officers, guides and spies and covered 55 acres.
General Wayne made sure he had a strong supply line and well trained, healthy troops. This strategy resulted in the finest fighting force in the old Northwest and led to a victory over the Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on April 20, 1794.
Wayne sent out emissaries to the Indians proposing a peace treaty to be signed at Greene Ville. Twelve of the 15 Indian nations responded and gathered at Greene Ville. Wayne respected the Indians' traditions and customs; they in turn respected his strength and skill. On August 3, 1795, the Treaty of Greene Ville was signed.
When newcomers first come to Darke County, they assume that Greenville was named for the lush color of the many beautiful trees, shrubs and lawns. However, even if that could be true, Greenville was actually named for General Nathanael Greene, who was George Washington's trusted right-hand man during the Revolutionary War. Fort Greene Ville was the fort that lay between Fort Jefferson and Fort Recovery, built and named by Anthony Wayne in September 1793.
Nathanael Greene was a Quaker and born in Potowomut, Rhode Island in 1742. He was named after his father who was a minister in the Society of Friends. He was elected to Rhode Island's legislature, and went on to become a self-educated student of history, military tactics and the law.
In 1774 he joined the local militia. He was almost disqualified because of a slight limp. Within a year, in 1775, he was made Brigadier General of the Rhode Island state troops. His fast promotion came about because he had become adept at organizing and supplying the men under his command. He then led his Rhode Island state troops to Boston, just missing the Battle of Bunker Hill. While in Boston, he met George Washington, and quickly won his trust and friendship. When the British finally left Boston, Greene was given command of the city.
When Washington moved to defend New York in April of 1776, Greene took command of Long Island. Later that summer he was promoted to Major General. Among America's officers, he was second only to George Washington. Together, they shared the distinction of being the only Continental generals that served throughout the entire Revolutionary War. He led troops in the Northern Campaign at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. In addition, he served the Army in the capacity of Quartermaster General.
General Greene's greatest contribution to the war came as commander of the Southern Department (1780-1783). He is considered the war's greatest strategist; he successfully waged a war of attrition against the British forces in the South. This strategy led to the British Army's depletion of their forces and resources time and time again---- softening them up for Yorktown and the surrender of Cornwallis. He led the Southern Army at Guilford Courthouse, Hobkirk's Hill, Ninety-Six, and Eutaw Springs.
After the war, Greene moved his family to his new estate, Mulberry Grove, just north of Savannah, Georgia. He attempted to settle down to the life of a Southern planter, while spurning attempts by prominent Georgians to involve him in local politics. Tragically, he died at the age of forty-four in June 1786 of a possible sunstroke. He is buried beneath a monument in Johnson Square in downtown Savannah.
Portrait by Charles Willson Peale, Independence National Historical Park collection.
Lowell Thomas was the premier broadcaster for CBS/NBC Radio from the 1930's through the 1970's. Visit Garst Museum and see the extensive collection of Thomas' great adventures all over the world. Weapons from Africa, native costumes from Arabia, photos of Thomas with kings, presidents and ordinary people all await your discovery.
Broadcaster and explorer, Lowell Thomas traveled the world to report his adventures on the evening radio news.
As a TV and Cinerama producer and author of some sixty books, he flew around the world over thirty times.
He worked to rescue Ramses from the rising waters of the Nile's Aswan High Dam. With the Dalai Lama he helped raise funds for Tibetan refugees, developed a clinic for mothers and children in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and led a campaign to urge young people to enter the field of exploration.
Lowell married Frances Ryan in 1917. Frances died in 1975. They were parents of one son, Lowell, Jr.
In 1977, Mr. Thomas married Marianna Munn of Darke County, Ohio. Lowell's last trip to Greenville was November 21, 1980 when he spoke to the local Business and Professional Women's club. He died in 1981.
In 1987, the house in which Lowell Thomas was born was moved to the Garst Museum grounds, refurbished and opened in 1989. It is available for tours during museum hours.
Lieutenant Commander Zachary Lansdowne, US Navy, 1888-1925 was commander of the USS Shenandoah. He died at the age of 36 when the Shenandoah airship was struck by violent storms near Ava, Ohio on Sept. 3, 1925.
Little Turtle's wife died on August 4, 1795 during the treaty procedings. On August 5, 1795, General Wayne assisted with her burial with military music and a canon salute. His men carried her to her grave and chaplain David Jones delivered a short sermon. Little Turtle gave his thanks to Jones in appreciation for his words.
The famous Sioux Chief Sitting Bull adopted Annie Oakley and gave her the enduring nickname "Little Sure Shot" during their days together in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. The image of the Chief comes from a photo of him standing with Buffalo Bill Cody, located in the Annie Oakley Center.