Remembering One of the “Baddest” African-American Women in the United States: Stage Coach Mary

5 Posted by - January 13, 2018 - CIVIL RIGHTS, CIVIL WAR, LATEST POSTS, SLAVERY

Mary Fields, known as “Stage Coach Mary” was the first African-American mail carrier. However, she was known as being one of the “baddest” women of her time. She was one woman that didn’t take mess from no one. Fields often dressed in comfortable clothes of men. She wore a wool cap, boots, and a revolver strapped around her waist under her apron. Standing at about 200 pounds, it was said that she could take on any two men and knock them out with one punch. She never lost money on people foolish enough to bet her on her knock-out punch either.

She started her life in Hickman County, Tenn., in 1832. Her freedom was gained after the Civil War, she then decided to move to Mississippi, a chambermaid for Robert E. Lee. It was not long after that Fields joined a friend, at an Ursuline convent in Toledo, Ohio, Mother Amadeus for work. However, it was not long after that Mother Amadeus was called to St. Peter’s Convent in Cascade, Montana. When Mother Amadeus came down with pneumonia she called for her good friend to come, and so Fields set out to help nurse Mother Amadeus back to health.

Fields decided to stay on and work at St. Peter’s convent. She drove the stage coach and took visitors from the train station. She was also hired to haul important supplies for the convent. No matter of the weather conditions, or different people traveling, Fields was able to handle her own. One winter night, a pack of wolves spooked her horses and the wagon overturned. Fields stood guard and protected the food shipment from the wolves through the night. She knew that the food and the supplies were vital to the nuns for survival.

Many of the sisters of the convent saw that Fields was a little rough around the edges, and they tried to soften her up. They invited her to partake in services and practice her Catholic faith. Fields however preferred to stay in the company of the rough men who worked at the convent. Fields was known to have a good time enjoying her life, she smoked cigars, exchanged stories and became a good shot with a revolver and rifle. Because of her behavior she was soon asked to leave the convent. She tried opening up a restaurant but it quickly went under because she served food to everyone, regardless of whether they could pay or not. In her later years, at the age of 60, she was hired as a mail carrier because she could hitch a team of six horses faster than any other applicant. Upon hiring she was the second woman to work for the U.S Postal Service, but the first African-American woman. She drove the route with horses and a mule named Moses. She never missed a day, and her reliability earned her the nickname “Stagecoach Mary.”

 

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