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Historic Women - C-D

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Calamity Jane

Martha Jane "Calamity Jane" Cannary (1852-1903) - Calamity Jane was renowned for her excellent marksmanship, preference for men's clothing, and bawdy behavior. Jane was said to have been an Army scout, a bullwhacker, a nurse, a cook, a prostitute, a prospector, a gambler, a heavy drinker and one of the most foul-mouthed people in the West.  In June of 1876, she partnered with Wild Bill Hickok as an outrider for Colorado Charlie Utter's wagon train, galloping into Deadwood with a shipment of prostitutes, fresh from Cheyenne.  For the remainder of her days, Calamity Jane claimed to have been Hickok’s lover.  But the record shows that Wild Bill had just recently married and his letters home from Deadwood indicate that he was happily wedded.  Calamity Jane requested to be buried next to Wild Bill Hickok when she died, and there she rests.


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Martha Thomas Carey (1857-1935) ­ Suffragist and educator Martha was first female college faculty member in the country to hold the title "dean."  Working at Bryn Mawr College, she also started the first graduate program at any women's school.


Nellie Cashman (1845-1925) - Nellie Cashman, was one of the Old West’s original female entrepreneurs, as well as a prospector, and an "angel of mercy.” Wandering from the frontier mining camps of the west, seeking her fortune, she was soon known throughout for her charity, courage, and determination. More ...


Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) ­ World renowned artist, she introduced Impressionism to America and is famous especially for her paintings and prints depicting mothers and children.


Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) ­ Editor of the National Suffrage Bulletin and a leader in the women's suffrage movement, she was instrumental in achieving voting rights for women in America's West and was president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association at the time the 19th Amendment was finally passed.


Charlotte Mignon "Lotta” Crabtree (1847-1924) - An American actress and comedian, Crabtree was one of the wealthiest and most popular entertainers of the late 19th century.


Natawista Culbertson (1825?-1895) - The daughter of Two Suns, the chief of the Blood (Kainah) tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Natawista was born about 1825. When she was 15 years-old she traveled with her father from Canada to Fort Union, a trading post located on what is now the North Dakota-Montana border. While there, she married Alexander Culbertson, the chief trader for the Upper Missouri Outfit of the American Fur Company. Because of the intense competition between American and British traders for the Blackfoot trade, it was common for officers to marry the daughters of chiefs to cement trading relations.

Natawista worked as a diplomat, a hostess, and an interpreter with her husband for nearly thirty years to bridge the gap between the white traders and the native inhabitants of that region. During their years together, they had five children. In 1858, after having made a considerable fortune in the fur trade, the Culbertsons moved to a farm near Peoria, Illinois where Natawista’s life was described as "unconventional" at times. Sometimes in the fall, she would set up a teepee on the lawn, discard her white woman's clothes, dressing in her Indian garb, and spend several weeks in her teepee. In 1868, the couple moved to Fort Benton, Montana and Culbertson resumed trading. However, just a few years later, Natawista went to the Blood camps in Alberta and never returned to her husband. She died there in 1895.


Lottie Deno, aka: Carlotta J. Thompkins (her real name), Laura Denbo, Faro Nell, Charlotte Thurmond  (1844-1934) - One of the most famous lady gamblers in the Old West, Lottie earned her reputation on the Mississippi Riverboats before moving on to Texas, where she played poker with the likes of Doc Holliday at Fort Griffin. More ...




Emily Dickinson (1839-1886) ­ Reclusive poet of hundreds of inventive, original poems, she was the most famous woman poet in nineteenth century America.


Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) ­ Crusader of rights for the mentally ill in North America and Europe, she founded or improved over thirty hospitals for the mentally ill and influenced government legislation with her research. In 1861, she was appointed first Superintendent of U.S. Army Nurses.

Isadora Duncan (1878-1927) ­ Pioneer of modern dance in America and Europe, she elevated dance to an art form practiced by serious artists and gained huge popularity for her innovative, expressive style.


Dora DuFran (18??-1934) - The Black Hills' Leading Madam and a friend to Calamity Jane, DuFran ran a number of baudy houses in and around Deadwood, South Dakota for decades. One of Dora’s most popular houses called "Diddlin’ Dora’s,” was in Belle Fourche on Fifth Avenue.  However, the street was so lined with saloons, with brothels on the second stories, it was more commonly referred to as "Saloon Street” by the many cowboys who frequented its businesses.  Diddlin’ Dora’s advertised itself as "Three D’s – Dining, Drinking and Dancing – a place where you can bring your mother.”  And though the cowboys frequented the popular place, most just wanted to "get down to business,” with at least one man remarking, "I wouldn’t want my mother to know I had ever been there.”  More ...


Eleanore Dumont (1829?-1879) - Better known as Madame Mustache, Eleanore was one of the first known professional blackjack players in American history and, for over three decades, made her name famous across the mining camps of the American West. See full article HERE.


Rose Dunn, aka: The Rose of CimarronRose Dunn, aka: The Rose of Cimarron - Rose Dunn met George "Bitter Creek" Newcomb, a former member of the Dalton Gang before their demise in Coffeyville, Kansas, through her outlaw brothers. In 1893, Newcomb became a member of the Doolin Gang, and it was somewhere around this time that he met Rose Dunn, often referred to as "the Rose of Cimarron," through her outlaw brothers. The Doolin Gang terrorized Indian Territory for two years as they robbed banks, stagecoaches and trains in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.


On the afternoon of September 1, 1893, while several members of the gang were holed up in George Ransom’s saloon in Ingalls, Oklahoma they were involved in a gun battle with U.S. marshals.  After the lawmen surrounded the saloon demanding that the outlaws surrender, Doolin's response was, "Go to hell." As the guns began to blast and a hail of bullets flew, the frightened townspeople ran for cover. Dunn, who was staying at Mrs. Pierce's hotel allegedly ran through the raining bullets in order to deliver a Winchester rifle to her lover.

The battle left nine people killed or wounded, including one deputy who died immediately and another two, who died of their wounds the next day.  Three of the outlaws, including Rose's boyfriend,  were wounded and Arkansas Tom Jones was captured. By May 1895, Newcomb had a $5,000 reward on his head and when he and Charley Pierce stopped to see Rose, her outlaw brothers turned them in for the reward and he was shot and killed by lawmen. After her George Newcomb's death, Rose retired from crime, became the wife of an Oklahoma politician and lived the rest of her life as a respected citizen.



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