Tuesday, May 1, 2012

On May 1

On this day in ...

... 1852, or thereabouts (160 years ago today), Martha Jane Cannary was born in Missouri, the eldest of 6 children. Before she was a teenager the family moved by wagon train to Montana; her mother died en route, and the family soon moved on to Utah. Her father died in 1867, and she became the head of the family, moving her siblings to Wyoming and embarking on expeditions posing as a man. During a skirmish between settlers and native Americans, her exploits earned her the nickname by which she's known to this day, Calamity Jane. Eventually she settled in Deadwood, a town in South Dakota's Black Hills, where she worked as a scout and took up with Wild Bill Hickok. (photo credit) She was a buckskin-clad storyteller in "Wild West" shows -- for example, with Buffalo Bill -- and an autobiography was published under her name, though she was likely illiterate. She died in 1903 and was buried in South Dakota, next to Hickok.

(Prior May 1 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

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