Today in our series of portraits on the women of CASA Calamity Jane the one who names our color Lie de Vin.
Calamity Jane, born Martha Jane Cannary in the middle of the 19th century, is one of the women who marked our imagination of the 'Wild West', otherwise mainly populated by men who draw faster than their shadows. Although she, unlike Lucky Luke, really existed, it is difficult – if not impossible – to separate the woman from the legend.
Indeed, the rare historical bibliographies do not even manage to attribute a date of birth to him, due to lack of documentation. If she achieved fame through her participation in the 'Indian Wars' in which she acted as a scout for the American army, she maintained her 'legend' status during her lifetime by putting on and performing in a show about her life. She will write a highly romantic autobiography which will be distributed during the performances of the 'Wild West Show', blurring the lines between reality and improved reality during her lifetime, which will make her a legend during her lifetime, a status which will not. will not prevent her from dying alone, poor and alcoholic in 1903.
The eldest of five children who were often left to their own devices, she learned very early to ride a horse and fend for herself. The death of her mother during a trip to Oregon followed by the disappearance of her father in Salt Lake City three years later, in 1868, pushed her towards a life of adventure. She will participate in the campaign against the 'Indians' in Arizona as a scout for General Custer, embarking clandestinely on expeditions and being refused twice in the army because of her status as a woman.
Very quickly, she redoubles her recklessness, her shots become more precise and she begins to wear men's clothes. Her nickname was given to her during this period of her life, when she saved an injured captain during an ambush. Calamity Jane can't sit still and takes part in all sorts of endeavors: courier, geological expedition, scouting, prospecting, oxen hauling, laundry worker, cook and even nurse, all while crossing the United States and getting copiously drunk. She is the darling of journalists and frequently makes the headlines, reporting real or imagined adventures and drinking bouts.
After a short marriage to a brute whose son, Little Calamity, died as an infant, she remarried Clinton Burke in 1885. She gave birth to their daughter, Jessie, two years later. After attempting to open a hotel in Colorado and being left by Burke, Calamity returns to Deadwood, where she had been a courier 18 years earlier. Her friends convinced her to write down her adventures and put on a show to tell them, which she did until she was placed in a poor house in 1901, where she remained, alcoholic and depressed, until her death. pneumonia two years later.
She will be entitled to a prestigious funeral in Deadwood where she is buried next to her great friend Wild Bill Hicock, whom the publication of the false letters to her daughter Jessie presents as her real father and Calamity Jane's lover.
However, she remains a heroine to this day and lives in our memories as one of the women of her time who broke the mold of femininity through a taste for adventure, regardless of the amount of rumors and exaggeration in her story.