This shows a better understanding of people in general
by Andrea Elizabeth
Because of poverty following the death of her father, Annie [Oakley] did not regularly attend school as a child, although she did attend later in childhood and in adulthood. On March 15, 1870, at age nine, Annie was admitted to the Darke County Infirmary, along with elder sister Sarah Ellen. According to her autobiography, she was put in the care of the Infirmary’s superintendent, Samuel Crawford Edington and his wife Nancy, who taught her to sew and decorate. Beginning in the spring of 1870, she was “bound out” to a local family to help care for their infant son, on the false promise of fifty cents a week and an education. The couple had originally wanted someone who could pump water, cook, and who was bigger. She spent about two years in near-slavery to them where she endured mental and physical abuse. She would often have to do boys’ work. One time the wife put Annie out in the freezing cold, without shoes, as a punishment because she had fallen asleep over some darning. Annie referred to them as “the wolves”. Even in her autobiography, she kindly never told the couple’s real name. According to biographer Glenda Riley, “the wolves” could have been the Studabaker family. However, the 1870 U.S. Census suggests that “the wolves” were the Abram Boose family of neighboring Preble County. Around the spring of 1872, Annie ran away from “the wolves”. (According to biographer Shirl Kasper, it was only at this point that Annie had met and lived with the Edingtons, returning to her mother’s home around the age of 15.) Annie’s mother married a third time, to Joseph Shaw, on October 25, 1874.
Annie began trapping at a young age, and shooting and hunting by age eight to support her siblings and her widowed mother. She sold the hunted game to locals in Greenville, such as shopkeepers Charles and G. Anthony Katzenberger, who shipped it to hotels in Cincinnati and other cities; as well, she sold the game herself to restaurants and hotels in northern Ohio. Her skill eventually paid off the mortgage on her mother’s farm when Annie was 15.