28 Days of Black History Month (February 22nd, 2015)
Mary Fields, aka Stagecoach Mary (c. 1832 – 1914) of Hickman County, Tennessee will forever be known as the 1st African American Women to deliver mail in the United States. She was born a slave, but gained her freedom in 1865 when slavery was abolished by President Lincoln. Mary had a presence she stood over 6 feet tall and weighed in over 200 pounds. She loved to smoke and drink just like the men of her day, and was also known to keep a shotgun handy. After relocating to Toledo, Ohio Mary worked at the Ursuline Convent under Mary Amadeus. Amadeus was sent to to Cascade, Montana in 1884 to open up a new Mission & school for Native American girls. Word traveled back to Ohio that she was sick, Mary went to Montana to nurse her back to health. This is when the legend of Stagecoach Mary Begins.
With her new life now in Montana, Mary wasted lil time making a name for herself. She opened a restaurant that closed shortly because she would give away the food most times. In 1895 Mary in her 60’s won a competition held by Wells Fargo by being the fastest to hitch a team of six horses to a stagecoach “Hence the name”. She traveled near and far delivering mail, she often traveled during the harshest weather conditions always making sure she delivered the mail. There were cases when the snow was so deep and treacherous Mary would dismount her horse and carry the mail on her back. “Rain, Sleet, Snow” rings true even more now that you think about it. Mary was no saint she was known to have fist fights with men and shootouts in the back of saloons, just like a cowboy. She was soon hired by the US Postal Dept. as on the 2nd women in America to work there delivering mail. Life after slavery for Mary was Historic, She lived life on her terms after gaining her freedom. In 1914 Mary died of liver failure, as it was reported she was a heavy drinker.
You never know what can learn once you start searching. The internet has made it so easy for us to learn & search for information. The challenge is weeding through a lot of misinformation. Nonetheless learning the story of Mary Fields was amazing. A women that was born and raised into slavery, feeling the oppression and restraints of others. No sooner than her freedom was granted she ran free and in the process delivered a lot of mail, #Thankyou.