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´╗┐Title: Life and Adventures of Calamity Jane
Author: Calamity Jane, 1852-1903
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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My maiden name was Marthy Cannary.  I was born in Princeton, Missourri,
May 1st, 1852.  Father and mother were natives of Ohio.  I had two
brothers and three sisters, I being the oldest of the children.  As a
child I always had a fondness for adventure and out-door exercise and
especial fondness for horses which I began to ride at an early age and
continued to do so until I became an expert rider being able to ride
the most vicious and stubborn of horses, in fact the greater portion of
my life in early times was spent in this manner.

In 1865 we emigrated from our homes in Missourri by the overland route
to Virginia City, Montana, taking five months to make the journey.
While on the way the greater portion of my time was spent in hunting
along with the men and hunters of the party, in fact I was at all times
with the men when there was excitement and adventures to be had.  By
the time we reached Virginia City I was considered a remarkable good
shot and a fearless rider for a girl of my age.  I remember many
occurrences on the journey from Missourri to Montana.  Many times in
crossing the mountains the conditions of the trail were so bad that we
frequently had to lower the wagons over ledges by hand with ropes for
they were so rough and rugged that horses were of no use.  We also had
many exciting times fording streams for many of the streams in our way
were noted for quicksands and boggy places, where, unless we were very
careful, we would have lost horses and all.  Then we had many dangers
to encounter in the way of streams swelling on account of heavy rains.
On occasions of that kind the men would usually select the best places
to cross the streams, myself on more than one occasion have mounted my
pony and swam across the stream several times merely to amuse myself
and have had many narow escapes from having both myself and pony washed
away to certain death, but as the pioneers of those days had plenty of
courage we overcame all obstacles and reached Virginia City in safety.

Mother died at Black Foot, Montana, 1866, where we buried her.  I left
Montana in Spring of 1866, for Utah, arriving at Salt Lake city during
the summer.  Remained in Utah until 1867, where my father died, then
went to Fort Bridger, Wyoming Territory, where we arrived May 1, 1868,
then went to Piedmont, Wyoming, with U.P. Railway.  Joined General
Custer as a scout at Fort Russell, Wyoming, in 1870, and started for
Arizona for the Indian Campaign.  Up to this time I had always worn the
costume of my sex.  When I joined Custer I donned the uniform of a
soldier.  It was a bit awkward at first but I soon got to be perfectly
at home in men's clothes.

Was in Arizona up to the winter of 1871 and during that time I had a
great many adventures with the Indians, for as a scout I had a great
many dangerous missions to perform and while I was in many close places
always succeeded in getting away safely for by this time I was
considered the most reckless and daring rider and one of the best shots
in the western country.

After that campaign I returned to Fort Sanders, Wyoming, remained there
until spring of 1872, when we were ordered out to the Muscle Shell or
Nursey Pursey Indian outbreak.  In that war Generals Custer, Miles,
Terry and Crook were all engaged.  This campaign lasted until fall of

It was during this campaign that I was christened Calamity Jane.  It
was on Goose Creek, Wyoming, where the town of Sheridan is now located.
Capt. Egan was in command of the Post.  We were ordered out to quell an
uprising of the Indians, and were out for several days, had numerous
skirmishes during which six of the soldiers were killed and several
severely wounded.  When on returning to the Post we were ambushed about
a mile and a half from our destination.  When fired upon Capt. Egan was
shot.  I was riding in advance and on hearing the firing turned in my
saddle and saw the Captain reeling in his saddle as though about to
fall.  I turned my horse and galloped back with all haste to his side
and got there in time to catch him as he was falling.  I lifted him
onto my horse in front of me and succeeded in getting him safely to the
Fort.  Capt. Egan on recovering, laughingly said:  "I name you Calamity
Jane, the heroine of the plains."  I have borne that name up to the
present time.  We were afterwards ordered to Fort Custer, where Custer
city now stands, where we arrived in the spring of 1874; remained
around Fort Custer all summer and were ordered to Fort Russell in fall
of 1874, where we remained until spring of 1875; was then ordered to
the Black Hills to protect miners, as that country was controlled by
the Sioux Indians and the government had to send the soldiers to
protect the lives of the miners and settlers in that section.  Remained
there until fall of 1875 and wintered at Fort Laramie.  In spring of
1876, we were ordered north with General Crook to join Gen'ls Miles,
Terry and Custer at Big Horn river.  During this march I swam the
Platte river at Fort Fetterman as I was the bearer of important
dispatches.  I had a ninety mile ride to make, being wet and cold, I
contracted a severe illness and was sent back in Gen. Crook's ambulance
to Fort Fetterman where I laid in the hospital for fourteen days.  When
able to ride I started for Fort Laramie where I met Wm.  Hickock,
better known as Wild Bill, and we started for Deadwood, where we
arrived about June.

During the month of June I acted as a pony express rider carrying the
U.S. mail between Deadwood and Custer, a distance of fifty miles, over
one of the roughest trails in the Black Hills country.  As many of the
riders before me had been held up and robbed of their packages, mail
and money that they carried, for that was the only means of getting
mail and money between these points.  It was considered the most
dangerous route in the Hills, but as my reputation as a rider and quick
shot was well known, I was molested very little, for the toll gatherers
looked on me as being a good fellow, and they knew that I never missed
my mark.  I made the round trip every two days which was considered
pretty good riding in that country.  Remained around Deadwood all that
summer visiting all the camps within an area of one hundred miles.  My
friend, Wild Bill, remained in Deadwood during the summer with the
exception of occasional visits to the camps.  On the 2nd of August,
while setting at a gambling table in the Bell Union saloon, in
Deadwood, he was shot in the back of the head by the notorious Jack
McCall, a desperado.  I was in Deadwood at the time and on hearing of
the killing made my way at once to the scene of the shooting and found
that my friend had been killed by McCall.  I at once started to look
for the assassian and found him at Shurdy's butcher shop and grabbed a
meat cleaver and made him throw up his hands; through the excitement on
hearing of Bill's death, having left my weapons on the post of my bed.
He was then taken to a log cabin and locked up, well secured as every
one thought, but he got away and was afterwards caught at Fagan's ranch
on Horse Creek, on the old Cheyenne road and was then taken to Yankton,
Dak., where he was tried, sentenced and hung.

I remained around Deadwood locating claims, going from camp to camp
until the spring of 1877, where one morning, I saddled my horse and
rode towards Crook city.  I had gone about twelve miles from Deadwood,
at the mouth of Whitewood creek, when I met the overland mail running
from Cheyenne to Deadwood.  The horses on a run, about two hundred
yards from the station; upon looking closely I saw they were pursued by
Indians.  The horses ran to the barn as was their custom.  As the
horses stopped I rode along side of the coach and found the driver John
Slaughter, lying face downwards in the boot of the stage, he having
been shot by the Indians.  When the stage got to the station the
Indians hid in the bushes.  I immediately removed all baggage from the
coach except the mail.  I then took the driver's seat and with all
haste drove to Deadwood, carrying the six passengers and the dead

I left Deadwood in the fall of 1877, and went to Bear Butte Creek with
the 7th Cavalry.  During the fall and winter we built Fort Meade and
the town of Sturgis.  In 1878 I left the command and went to Rapid city
and put in the year prospecting.

In 1879 I went to Fort Pierre and drove trains from Rapid city to Fort
Pierre for Frank Wite then drove teams from Fort Pierce to Sturgis for
Fred. Evans.  This teaming was done with oxen as they were better
fitted for the work than horses, owing to the rough nature of the

In 1881 I went to Wyoming and returned in 1882 to Miles city and took
up a ranch on the Yellow Stone, raising stock and cattle, also kept a
way side inn, where the weary traveler could be accommodated with food,
drink, or trouble if he looked for it.  Left the ranch in 1883, went to
California, going through the States and territories, reached Ogden the
latter part of 1883, and San Francisco in 1884.  Left San Francisco in
the summer of 1884 for Texas, stopping at Fort Yuma, Arizona, the
hottest spot in the United States.  Stopping at all points of interest
until I reached El Paso in the fall.  While in El Paso, I met Mr.
Clinton Burk, a native of Texas, who I married in August 1885.  As I
thought I had travelled through life long enough alone and thought it
was about time to take a partner for the rest of my days.  We remained
in Texas leading a quiet home life until 1889.  On October 28th, 1887,
I became the mother of a girl baby, the very image of its father, at
least that is what he said, but who has the temper of its mother.

When we left Texas we went to Boulder, Colo., where we kept a hotel
until 1893, after which we travelled through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho,
Washington, Oregon, then back to Montana, then to Dakota, arriving in
Deadwood October 9th, 1895, after an absence of seventeen years.

My arrival in Deadwood after an absence of so many years created quite
an excitement among my many friends of the past, to such an extent that
a vast number of the citizens who had come to Deadwood during my
absence who had heard so much of Calamity Jane and her many adventures
in former years were anxious to see me.  Among the many whom I met were
several gentlemen from eastern cities who advised me to allow myself to
be placed before the public in such a manner as to give the people of
the eastern cities an opportunity of seeing the Woman Scout who was
made so famous through her daring career in the West and Black Hill

An agent of Kohl & Middleton, the celebrated Museum men came to
Deadwood, through the solicitation of the gentleman who I had met there
and arrangements were made to place me before the public in this
manner.  My first engagement began at the Palace Museum, Minneapolis,
January 20th, 1896, under Kohl and Middleton's management.

Hoping that this little history of my life may interest all readers, I
remain as in the older days,


Mrs. M. BURK


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