Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1876/06/18

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 12/27/1989

Acting troop visits area
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Jack Langrishe, the well-known actor, his wife and 12 members of their acting troop, have been here for the last day and a half. After successfully opening in Cheyenne's New Dramatic Theater in early June, Langrishe had decided to take his troopers and head for the gulches of gold in the Black Hills. They were being transported in a large passenger wagon on the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage company, and were following close behind one of the companies "fast freight trains." The train, with C.A. Skinner in charge, had pulled out of Cheyenne early on June 12. They were loaded with grain, flour and vegetables.

Everything along the Black Hills route was in a state of excitement and hustle. The military was busy establishing permanent camps and sending escorts with the "Hillers." Captain Egan and his "Grays" were still patrolling the road from Fort Laramie to Custer.

"Calamity Jane" was said to have received this nickname when she (Martha Jane Canary) rescued Captain Egan after his horse had been shot out from under him. She had been serving as a scout for the forces of Captain Egan when he was commander of the Army Post on Goose Creek.

There was a skirmish with the Indians during which the commander was shot and severely wounded. It was Calamity Jane who saved him from a worse fate. She rode into the melee where Captain Egan lay unprotected, on the ground with a circle of grinning savages around him, waiting for the sign from their leader to finish the business they had begun. Calamity began action by killing the leader and any others who remained within range of her gun. At the same time she managed to place Captain Egan, weak and helpless, before her on her saddle and horse's neck; and as she had, for a time, subdued the Indians, took her charge in haste to the post. There his life was saved.

When the wounded captain was recovering, he called the scout to thank her.

"You're a mighty good person to have around in time of calamity," he told her," and so I hereby christen you Calamity Jane, the heroine of the plains."

(Information sources; Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Route by Agnes Wright Spring; "Calamity Jane Often Traveled Over Cheyenne and Deadwood Stage Line; Notorious Character: - The Lusk Herald, page 7, May 28, 1936 - by John K. Standish.)

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