Sepia-tone photograph of Mary Fields, holding a rifle
Mary Fields, c. 1895
Born c. 1832
Hickman County, Tennessee
Great Falls, Montana
Occupations: Freighter, Cook, Domestic Worker, Star Route Mail Carrier
Known for First African-American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier
in the United States.
Author Miantae Metcalf McConnell provided documentation discovered during her research about Mary Fields to the United States Postal Service Archives Historian in 2006. This enabled USPS to establish Mary Fields' contribution as the first African American woman star route Mail Carrier in the United States.
Born a slave in Hickman County, Tennessee, around 1832,
Fields was freed when American slavery was outlawed in 1865.
In 1884, Mother Amadeus was sent to Montana Territory to establish a school for Native American girls at St. Peter's Mission, west of Cascade. Learning that Amadeus was stricken with pneumonia, Fields hurried to Montana to nurse her back to health. Amadeus recovered and Fields stayed at St. Peter's hauling freight, doing laundry, growing vegetables, tending chickens, repairing buildings and eventually becoming the forewoman.
Fields was a respected public figure in Cascade, and on her birthday each year the town closed its schools to celebrate. When Montana passed a law forbidding women to enter saloons, the mayor of Cascade granted her an exemption.
At seventy-one, Mary Fields retired from star route mail carrier service in 1903. She continued to babysit many Cascade children and owned and operated a laundry service from her home.
People call me "Black Mary."
People call me "Stagecoach Mary."
I live in Cascade, Tennessee.
I am six feet tall.
I weigh over two hundred pounds.
A woman of the 19th Century,
I do bold and exciting things.
I wear pants.
I smoke a big black cigar.
I drink whiskey.
I carry a pistol.
I love adventure.
I travel the country,
driving a stagecoach,
delivering the mail to distant towns.
Strong, I fight through rainstorms.
Tough, I fight through snowstorms.
I risk hurricanes and tornadoes.
I am independent.
No body tells me what to do.
No body tells me where to go.
When I'm not delivering mail,
I like to build buildings.
I like to smoke and drink in bars with the men.
I like to be rough.
I like to be rowdy.
I also like to be loving.
I like to be caring.
I like to baby sit.
I like to plant flowers and tend my garden.
I like to give away corsages and bouquets.
I like being me, Mary Fields.
In the 2012 TV movie Hannah's Law, she is played by Kimberly Elise.
In the short western, They Die By Dawn (2013), Fields is played by Erykah Badu.
Fields is also the subject of a song, "The Ballad of Mary Fields" by Mary McGuinness, on her CD "Places In Between.
^ Jump up to: a b Cooper, Gary and Marc Crawford (October 1959) "Stagecoach Mary". EBONY Magazine. reprinted Oct. 1977. p. 98
^ Jump up to: a b c d Metcalf McConnell, Miantae, "Mary Fields's Road to Freedom" Black Cowboys in the American West, On the Range, On the Stage, Behind the Badge, (University of Oklahoma Press, 2016),156. Metcalf McConnell, Miantae, Deliverance Mary Fields, First African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States: A Montana History, (Huzzah Publishing, 2016).
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f Drewry, Jennifer M. (March–April 1999). "Mary Fields a pioneer in Cascade's past". Cascade Montana Community Website. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
^ Jump up to: a b "Mary Fields". Legends of America. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
Jump up ^ "History of San Antonio, Florida". sanantoniofla.com.
Jump up ^ Franks, James A. (2000). Mary Fields (Black Mary) (1st ed.). Santa Cruz, Calif.: Wild Goose Press. ISBN 0965717348.
Jump up ^ "South by Northwest". Washington State University. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
Jump up ^ "The Cherokee Kid". IMDb. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
Jump up ^ "Hannah's Law". IMDb. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
Jump up ^ They Die By Dawn. 2013.
Jump up ^ "Amber Charade Robinson". IMDb. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
Jump up ^ Hell on Wheels. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
Jump up ^ Hearst, Michael. "Stagecoach Mary". Extraordinary People.