Disquisitive Orange


Black American Hero of the old west: Stagecoach Mary

Mary Fields was born a slave sometime in the 1830s and liberated in 1865 with the abolition of slavery. In 1884, she moved to Montana where she found work hauling supplies for the Ursuline nuns at ST.Peter’s mission.

Mary hauled freight for eight years. She was famous through the territory for the cigars she smoked and the jug of whiskey she kept on the wagon next to her. Although, Mary was a favorite of the town, she lost her job hauling supplies for the nuns.

It happened this way: she thought a hired hand had insulted her, and she challenged him to a shootout. He drew first but his shot went wild. Mary took slow and careful aim and fired just close enough to send him running. When the bishop heard about the contest, he was so angry he fired Mary.

Mary eventually opened a restaurant, but it went broke because she kept passing out free food to hungry travelers.  When she was in her sixties, she became the second woman ever to deliver United States mail. 

Mary was never a peaceful women, but people had become so fond of her; that the public schools in CasCade closed on her birthday. Mary died in 1914 and was buried at the Hillside Cemetery in Cascade, Montana, where a wooden cross marks her grave.