The Unstoppable “Stagecoach” Mary Fields
Pioneer woman was a force to be reckoned with
Mary Fields was a pioneer in every sense of the word. Born into slavery around 1832 in Tennessee, Mary’s early life is a bit of a mystery. Her most legendary adventures began in the 1880s, when she braved a harsh journey to Montana to assist at a convent.
Here, Mary became a one-woman construction crew. Over the course of eight years, she built three stone buildings for the convent — by herself, by hand. She decided to settle in Montana, and a nun from the convent helped her secure a job as a postal worker.
It wasn’t easy delivering mail in the Wild West. Legend has it that once, while making her 19-mile route, wolves scared her horses, causing them to overturn Mary’s stagecoach. She stayed awake all night, fending off the wolves with her guns. The next day, she was found alive with her shipment undamaged.
Mary worked as postal carrier for 10 years, earning the respect of the towns she worked in, as well as the nickname “Stagecoach Mary.” At a time when women of color had few options, Mary tried to do it all. She left behind a legacy that girls everywhere can look up to.
Check out other stories from the past:
- Acclaimed actor Ira Aldridge
- Astronomer and abolitionist Benjamin Banneker
- Rebel poet Phillis Wheatley
- Media mogul John H. Johnson
- Chain-breaker Robert Smalls