Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 1934

Walked to school with Pauline. Sure cold. Daddy lost his job so he came after us kids. Ruth Ray and Nadine were down.

Martha Jane Cannary (or Canary) Burke (May 1, 1852 – August 1, 1903)
Better known as "Calamity Jane"

Born in Princeton, Missouri, Martha Jane took over as head of the family after her parents
died on the way to Montana. She loaded up the wagon and took her five younger siblings
to Ford Bridger, Wyoming Territory. They arrived in May 1868. From there they traveled
on the Union Pacific Railroad to Piedmont, Wyoming.

In Piedmont, Martha Jane took whatever jobs she could to provide for her large family. She
worked as a dishwasher, a cook, a waitress, a dance-hall girl, a nurse, and an ox team driver.
Finally, in 1874, she found work as a scout at Fort Russell. During this time period, Jane also
began her on-and-off employment as a prostitute at the Fort Laramie Three-Mile Hog Ranch.

At some point during the time she was involved in several campaigns in the long-running
 military conflicts with Native American Indians, she acquired the nickname "Calamity Jane."
She claimed she was given the name by a Captain Egan, but a popular belief is that she
 acquired it as a result of her warnings to men that to offend her was to "court calamity."
It appears possible that Jane was not part of her name until the nickname was coined for her.

"Calamity Jane" met Wild Bill Hickok when she moved to Deadwood, South Dakota, and
always claimed to have been married to him and that he was the father of her child (Jean)
whom she put up for adoption. No records are known to exist in support of her claim, and
at the time of his death in 1876, Hickok was married to another woman. Eventually, Jane
bought a ranch in Montana and married a man named Clinton Burke. She had another daughter,
Jane, who was given over to foster parents when she joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West
Show as a storyteller.

Depressed, and a full-blown alcoholic, Calamity Jane died while visiting in Terry, South Dakota;
she was buried next to Wild Bill  Hickok in Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota. 

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