How popular is the baby name Calamity in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Calamity.

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Popularity of the baby name Calamity

Posts that mention the name Calamity

The 3 siblings of Reba McEntire

Oklahoma-born country singer Reba McEntire is one of four siblings:

  • Alice, b. 1951
  • Del Stanley, “Pake” (rhymes with rake), b. 1953
  • Reba Nell, b. 1955
  • Martha Susan, “Susie,” b. 1957

Reba was named after her maternal grandmother, but the story of Pake’s nickname is a bit more interesting. Here’s how their mother Jacqueline starts the story:

Our oldest daughter, Alice, was named “Pedro Joe” long before her birth. Her father, Clark [veteran rodeo cowboy and inductee in the Rodeo Hall of Fame], would often write home on the road because we didn’t have a phone.

He’d say, “How is Pedro Joe?” and, if I knew where he was going to be, I’d write back to the next rodeo he was entering and tell the prospective father that he was just fine. Well, when the baby came, she was a little girl. End of Pedro Joe.

The same thing happened with their second child, who was called “Pecos Pete” or “Pake” before he was born. In his case, though, the name was retained. The formal name his parents chose for him was Del Stanley (after rodeo stars Del Haverty and Stanley Gomez), but the birth certificate reads: “Del Stanley (Pake).”

The McEntire’s in utero nicknaming tradition wasn’t carried on with Reba or Susie.

Pake went on to have three daughters: Autumn (born on the first day of autumn), Calamity (named after frontierswoman Calamity Jane), and Chism (named after cattle baron John Chisum).


P.S. Want more country music-related names? Here are Dolly Parton’s siblings.

What turned Calamity into a baby name in 1956?

The character Calamity from the TV series "Buffalo Bill, Jr." (1955-1956).
Calamity from “Buffalo Bill, Jr.

The rare name Calamity has popped up in the U.S. baby name data twice, both times in the 1950s:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 8 baby girls named Calamity
  • 1956: 11 baby girls named Calamity [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted


At first I thought the explanation was the 1953 movie Calamity Jane, but I couldn’t account for that gap between the movie’s release and the name’s rise in usage.

Then I discovered a short-lived TV western called Buffalo Bill, Jr. (1955-1956). The show’s main characters were siblings Bill — the teenage marshal of a fictional town in Texas — and his kid sister, Calamity. The orphaned pair had been adopted by a Texas judge who’d re-named them after the historical figures Buffalo Bill Cody and Calamity Jane.

What are your thoughts on “Calamity” as a baby name?

Source: Buffalo Bill Jr. – Western Clippings

P.S. The thing that prompted me to write about this name today was a recent road trip to South Dakota, where I got a chance to see Calamity Jane’s grave (at Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood). Did you know that her birth name was actually Martha? Here’s a photo:

Photo of Calamity Jane's headstone, taken by Nancy.
Calamity Jane’s headstone