Looking tough here in bucksin and fully armed, Calamity Jane actually lived a hard life!
Her real name was Martha Jane Canary. Calamity Jane lived a poverty stricken life and often drowned herself in whiskey to hide the pain of selling her body to strange frontiersmen . She struggled to keep a roof over her head and food in her mouth.
Born May 1st, 1852, Martha was the oldest of 6 kids. She was a major tomboy who hated wearing dresses and could cuss a house in half with her sharp tongue! It was after the civil war that her father moved them to Montana. It was then, she knew she had to take care of the family, because her dad was to drunk to even drive the wagon. She also had to hunt game to feed all of her brother’s and sister’s and her parents, It was in 1866, when her mother died of Pneumonia. Since she couldn’t take care of her brother’s and sisters, she found people to take care of them and moved on to seek employment.
It was in the summer of 1876, when she met a bunch of men, including the famous outlaw “Wild Bill Hickok”
Wild Bill and other frontiersmen were planning a trip to to a major boomtown in the Dakota territory. This town was named “Deadwood”. The needed companionship on their journey and gave her plenty of whiskey! By the time they arrived in Deadwood, Lt. Colonel Custer had been wiped out at the Battle of Little Bighorn, which I will write about in near future. Calamity Jane was quite a fun and outgoing lady who bragged often when she got really wasted. Journalists loved the stories she told and was portrayed as a female trigger happy gunfighter in men’s clothes. Here is a rare photo of Calamity Jane in a dress!
She did marry a man by the name of Clinton Burke. Although Calamity Jane was a bad alcoholic, when sober she loved helping people. And had a heart of gold. In 1893, she started appearing in “Buffalo bills Wild West show”
Here are the movies about Calamity Jane, if you want to check them out!
The Plainsmen-1936- starring Gary Cooper
Young Bill Hickok-1940-Roy Rogers
The Badlands of Dakota
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