orig. Martha Jane Cannary
(born May 1, 1852?, near Princeton, Mo.?, U.S.—died Aug. 1, 1903, Terry, near Deadwood, S.D.) U.S. frontierswoman. She grew up in Montana and worked in mining camps, where she acquired riding and shooting skills. In 1876 she settled in Deadwood, S.D., site of new gold strikes; her pursuits there included hauling goods and machinery to the outlying camps and working as a cook and a dance-hall girl. There she probably first met Wild Bill Hickok
, who would become her companion. In 1891 she married Charley Burke, and from 1895 she toured with Wild West shows in the Midwest. Facts about her life were embellished by contemporary feature-magazine writers.
Learn more about Calamity Jane with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.