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 Martha Jane “Calamity Jane” Canary

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Martha Jane “Calamity Jane” Canary Famous memorial

Birth
Princeton, Mercer County, Missouri, USA
Death
1 Aug 1903 (aged 51)
Terry, Lawrence County, South Dakota, USA
Burial
Deadwood, Lawrence County, South Dakota, USA
Plot
Section 1, Lot 71
Memorial ID
166 View Source

American Folk Figure, Frontierswoman. She is best remembered for her association with famous Western lawman, scout, and gunfighter, James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok. Born the oldest of six children to parents who were farmers, she received little to no formal education and was illiterate. In 1865, the family moved to Virginia City, Montana; her mother died during the trip. The following year, her father relocated the family to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he began farming. He died a year later. She then became the head of the family and, in 1868, took her siblings to Fort Bridger, Wyoming Territory, and then on to Piedmont, Wyoming Territory, where she worked at various odd jobs in order to sustain the family. Accounts from this period describe her as being "extremely attractive" and a "pretty, dark-eyed girl." In 1874, she became a scout at Fort Russell, Wyoming Territory, where she also became a part-time prostitute at the Fort Laramie Three-Mile Hog Ranch. It was during this time that she received her nickname "Calamity Jane" when she rescued her post commander, Captain Egan, from an Indian attack outside the post. According to her account, he had been wounded on his horse during the skirmish and was about to fall off when she rode up and lifted him onto her horse, carrying him safely back to the post. In 1875, she accompanied the military-escorted Newton-Jenney Party, a scientific expedition, into the Black Hills of South Dakota to map the area. By this time, her beauty had all but vanished; her skin was leathery and tanned from exposure to the sun and wind. She had become muscular and unfeminine; her hair was stringy and rarely washed. A year later, she settled in Deadwood, South Dakota, where she met "Wild Bill" Hickok and became obsessed with his personality and life. When Hickok was killed during a poker game on August 2, 1876, she claimed to have been married to him three years earlier in Montana Territory, and that he was the father of a child whom she gave up for adoption. No official records exist proving either the marriage or birth. The romantic slant to their relationship was probably fabricated. She continued to live in Deadwood and performed other heroic acts, including nursing victims of a smallpox epidemic in late 1876 and the rescue of a stagecoach from an Indian attack. She took over the reins from the stagecoach driver who was killed in the attack and brought the coach safely to its destination at Deadwood. In 1881, she bought a ranch along the Yellowstone River, near Miles City, Montana, and operated an inn. She then married Clinton Burke and moved to Boulder, Colorado, and opened another inn. In 1893, she began appearing in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show as a storyteller, and, three years later, joined the traveling Kohn and Middleton Dime Museum as a performer, appearing on stage in buckskins and reciting her adventures, which she embellished in great fashion. Her adventures included the fabricated story that she had served under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer on several occasions. In 1901, she participated in the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and, by this time, had become an alcoholic and suffered from depression. She returned to Deadwood, South Dakota, two years later where she worked for brothel owner Madame Dora DuFran.

American Folk Figure, Frontierswoman. She is best remembered for her association with famous Western lawman, scout, and gunfighter, James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok. Born the oldest of six children to parents who were farmers, she received little to no formal education and was illiterate. In 1865, the family moved to Virginia City, Montana; her mother died during the trip. The following year, her father relocated the family to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he began farming. He died a year later. She then became the head of the family and, in 1868, took her siblings to Fort Bridger, Wyoming Territory, and then on to Piedmont, Wyoming Territory, where she worked at various odd jobs in order to sustain the family. Accounts from this period describe her as being "extremely attractive" and a "pretty, dark-eyed girl." In 1874, she became a scout at Fort Russell, Wyoming Territory, where she also became a part-time prostitute at the Fort Laramie Three-Mile Hog Ranch. It was during this time that she received her nickname "Calamity Jane" when she rescued her post commander, Captain Egan, from an Indian attack outside the post. According to her account, he had been wounded on his horse during the skirmish and was about to fall off when she rode up and lifted him onto her horse, carrying him safely back to the post. In 1875, she accompanied the military-escorted Newton-Jenney Party, a scientific expedition, into the Black Hills of South Dakota to map the area. By this time, her beauty had all but vanished; her skin was leathery and tanned from exposure to the sun and wind. She had become muscular and unfeminine; her hair was stringy and rarely washed. A year later, she settled in Deadwood, South Dakota, where she met "Wild Bill" Hickok and became obsessed with his personality and life. When Hickok was killed during a poker game on August 2, 1876, she claimed to have been married to him three years earlier in Montana Territory, and that he was the father of a child whom she gave up for adoption. No official records exist proving either the marriage or birth. The romantic slant to their relationship was probably fabricated. She continued to live in Deadwood and performed other heroic acts, including nursing victims of a smallpox epidemic in late 1876 and the rescue of a stagecoach from an Indian attack. She took over the reins from the stagecoach driver who was killed in the attack and brought the coach safely to its destination at Deadwood. In 1881, she bought a ranch along the Yellowstone River, near Miles City, Montana, and operated an inn. She then married Clinton Burke and moved to Boulder, Colorado, and opened another inn. In 1893, she began appearing in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show as a storyteller, and, three years later, joined the traveling Kohn and Middleton Dime Museum as a performer, appearing on stage in buckskins and reciting her adventures, which she embellished in great fashion. Her adventures included the fabricated story that she had served under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer on several occasions. In 1901, she participated in the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and, by this time, had become an alcoholic and suffered from depression. She returned to Deadwood, South Dakota, two years later where she worked for brothel owner Madame Dora DuFran.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


Inscription

ALIAS "CALAMITY JANE"
HER DYING REQUEST
"BURY ME BESIDE WILD BILL"


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 166
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/166/martha-jane-canary: accessed ), memorial page for Martha Jane “Calamity Jane” Canary (1 May 1852–1 Aug 1903), Find a Grave Memorial ID 166, citing Mount Moriah Cemetery, Deadwood, Lawrence County, South Dakota, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave .