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10 Most Famous Nurses in History


8
Martha Jane "Calamity Jane" Cannary
Calamity Jane's fame comes more from her adventurous exploits, but she also nursed smallpox patients in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Calamity Jane's fame comes more from her adventurous exploits, but she also nursed smallpox patients in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Martha Jane Cannary, better known as Calamity Jane, was an American frontierswoman, gun-slinger, scout for the Army and friend to legendary gunfighter James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok. Jane dressed like a man and was known for her skills in shooting, drinking and cursing. Between 1852 and 1903, she lived in and explored much of the American West, from Missouri, where she was born, to Montana, Utah, Wyoming, the Dakotas and California, finding work as a cook, prostitute, miner, oxen-team driver and gold prospector, among other jobs she picked up along the way -- including nursing.

In 1878, Jane was living in the Black Hills near Deadwood, South Dakota, working as a rider for the Pony Express, when smallpox broke out in the town. It was Jane who volunteered to care for the eight quarantined men -- nursing them, as the story goes, with Epsom salts and cream of tartar [source: Lakewood Public Library]. Five of the stricken men recovered under her care.


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