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Martha Jane Canary (May 1, 1852 – August 1, 1903), better known as Calamity Jane, was an American frontierswoman, and professional scout best known for her claim of being an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok, but also for having gained fame fighting Indians. She is said to have also exhibited kindness and compassion, especially to the sick and needy. This contrast helped to make her a famous frontier figure.
After losing both parents by the age of 16, Martha Jane took whatever jobs she could find to provide for her younger siblings. She worked as a dishwasher, cook, waitress, dance-hall girl, nurse, an ox team driver, & delivered mail for the pony express. Finally, in 1874, it is believed that she found work as a scout at Fort Russell. During that time, Jane also began her on-and-off employment as a prostitute at the Fort Laramie Three-Mile Hog Ranch.
Born on this date in 1852 (d. 1903), Mary Jane Canary--aka Calamity Jane--was an American frontierswoman, scout and almost a folkloric figure. She's been played on screen (big and little) by everyone from Doris Day to Ellen Barkin to Jane Alexander to Catherine O'Hara to Jane Russell to Angelica Houston to Robin Weigert to Angelica Huston, and more. Like · · Share
Martha "Calamity Jane" Canary ~ Although she had great friends and very positive opinions of the proper things that a girl could enjoy, she soon gained a local notariety for her daring horsemanship and skill as a rifle shot.