Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane was born, Martha Jane Canary, in Princeton, Missouri in 1852, the oldest of six children. As a child, she was a tomboy and had a passion for riding horses. In 1865, at the age of 13, the Cannary family made the five month journey, stopping in Virginia City, to take part in the quest for gold on their way to Salt Lake City. During their migration, Martha practiced hunting with the men, and by the time they reached Virginia City, she was an accomplished rider and gun handler.

From 1866 on, she and her family moved around quite a bit-to Salt Lake City where her father died the next year, and then onto Wyoming where she helped scout for the army. During her travels, she worked when she could find it, and even took up prostitution, although she always seemed to prefer men's work.

In the early 1870s, Martha Jane Cannary was christened Calamity Jane, known for her reckless daring riding and good aim. In 1876 Calamity Jane crossed paths with Wild Bill Hickok, and they remained good friends, (she told some they were married) until his death. She was known for causing a bit of trouble by stirring up the occasional saloon fight and was said to have had a problem with alcoholism. Calamity Jane moved around most of her life and found it difficult to settle in one place. She did however spend some time in Montana, residing in Livingston for a period, and outside of Laurel where her cabins still stand today. She also called Big Timber, Castle, and Harlowton home for brief periods. When she died in 1903 at the age of 51, Calamity Jane was buried, at her request, next to Wild Bill in Deadwood, South Dakota.

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