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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1516786-Martha-Jane-Cannary-Burke
Rated: 18+ · Poetry · Biographical · #1516786
Better known as Calamity Jane (May 1, 1852 – August 1, 1903)
Little Martha Jane
was a girl of the frontier
and wide open prairie.
They say fate and life
does funny things.

When she was
but a young girl
her parents died,
which was common
in those wild days
we read about
or watch
on the History Channel.

Martha's life
was no two hours
plus commercial breaks
and "after these messages."
It was raw and gritty
the way no Hollywood producer
could ever capture.

She learned to care for
younger brothers and sisters
when barely a teen.
Hitching the wagons
and driving them
to a new home;
keeping them alive
in the often harsh land
made her tougher
than many a man.

In Piedmont, Wyoming
Martha Jane
worked as a dishwasher,
cook, waitress,
dance-hall girl,
nurse, and an ox team driver,
a Frontier Jack, (Jill)
of all trades.

When her siblings
were grown
and ready to face life
on their own,
Martha Jane headed
for the rough side
of frontier towns,
making her life and legend.

Little Martha Jane
was a girl of the frontier
and wide open prairie.
They say fate and life
does funny things.

Pictures are painted
of Martha,
now known as "Calamity Jane,"
standing with a bullwhip
or brace of pistols
ready to fight
in a rough and tumble
man's world.

In 1874 she found work
as an Army scout
at Fort Russell.
Calamity Jane,
it is said,
stood next to buffalo hunters
and generals
as they fought off hordes
of Indians.

The line between
real and legend
is often blurred by time
and society's standards
so it is little wonder
that we may
never really know
Calamity Jane
as she truly was.

In 1875 Calamity's detachment
was ordered to the Big Horn River,
under General Crook.
Bearing important dispatches,
Jane swam the Platte River
and traveled 90 miles
while wet and cold
to deliver the papers.

Afterward, she became ill.
A few weeks recuperation
was enough for Calamity Jane.
She rode to Fort Laramie, Wyoming,
to rejoin her detachment.

Little Martha Jane
was a girl of the frontier
and wide open prairie.
They say fate and life
does funny things.

In July 1876,
she joined a wagon train
headed north,
handling a team of oxen.
there she met Wild Bill Hickok.

Calamity Jane and crew
arrived in Deadwood
in July of 1876.
While Hickok and others set up camp,
Calamity Jane went
south of the railroad tracks
and became a dance hall girl.

After Hickok was killed
during a poker game,
Calamity Jane claimed
to have been married to Hickok
and that he was the father of
a mystery child
no one has ever seen.

In Deadwood Martha Jane
saved the passengers
of the Cheyenne
to Deadwood stagecoach.
The stagecoach driver,
John Slaughter,
was killed by Cheyenne Indians
and Jane took over the reins
and drove the stage
to safety across the plains.

Calamity Jane, frontierswoman
of great renown and speculation
died on August 1, 1903,
at the age of 51.
She was buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery
next to Wild Bill Hickock.

Little Martha Jane
was a girl of the frontier
and wide open prairie.
They say fate and life
does funny things.
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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1516786-Martha-Jane-Cannary-Burke