Calamity Jane

These photographs were taken in 1885 of Calamity Jane. They are from L.R. Freeman's book 'Down the Yellowstone' which was written in 1922.

Born Martha Jane Cannary Burke in about 1856, in Missouri she was a famous wild west figure -  a frontierswoman, a professional scout.
Martha Jane was the eldest of six children and had to look after them when both her mother and father died. The siblings all travelled by wagon and then Union Pacific Railroad to live in Wyoming where Jane worked as a cook, dishwasher, waitress, ran a dance-hall, ox team driver, prostitute and scout for General Custer. She became a good rifle shooter and horse rider. She often dressed as a man to enable her to do jobs considered only suitable for men and also swore and chewed tobacco. 

When she first met Wild Bill Hickok she was travelling by wagon train to Deadwood, Dakota and lived there from 1876 to 1881 sometimes working as a prostitute or a dancer. It was here that she endeared herself to the people and the town by nursing many of the sick during a smallpox epidemic of 1878.

In 1893, Calamity Jane started to appear in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show as a horse rider and a trick shooter but was fired due to her drinking. She was an alcoholic an addiction that was seen in her younger years.

In 1901 Calamity Jane started selling her small autobiography "Life and Adventures of Calamity Jane"
She died on August 1, 1903 and was buried in Mount Moriah Cemetary overlooking the city of Deadwood, next to Wild Bill Hickok.

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