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An Interesting Story of an America Hero

Added: Saturday, November 21st 2020 at 7:40pm by Maria


I love stories like these..........



Gary Cooper the Movie Star of the 1930’s 40’s and 50’s wrote an article for Ebony Magazine in 1959 shortly before his death.

In it he detailed one of his inspirations of Western Heroism.

That inspiration was a Black Woman who ran the Stagecoach Line and delivered the US Mail to the remote farmhouse where he grew up in Montana. He wrote of her kindness and his admiration for her.

Gary Cooper wanted to make sure that she would be remembered. 

Her name was “Stagecoach” Mary Fields. Here are her words and here is her story.

Stagecoach Mary Fields in her own words.

I am Mary Fields. People call me "Black Mary." People call me "Stagecoach Mary." I was born 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. Nobody tells me what to do. Nobody 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”


Mary Fields, born a slave in a log cabin in Tennessee, went west in 1884, Mary Fields gave meaning to her freedom at the earliest opportunity by migrating to Toledo, Ohio, where she worked for the Ursuline Convent.

In 1884 Mother Amadeus of the Ursuline Convent founded the St. Peter's Catholic Mission School in Montana. Three years later Mary Fields joined her there. For the next ten years she provided protection for the nuns and the school and drove a supply wagon hauling essential freight and other goods.

Mary chopped wood, did rudimentary carpentry, and whatever else was necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of the nuns' enterprise.

Mary Fields's temper was as legendary as her ability to get hard jobs done. Indeed, one altercation almost proved her undoing. Bishop Filbus N. E. Berwanger fired Mary from her position with the nuns following a shootout with a cowpuncher that left her unharmed and the cowpuncher slightly wounded and greatly embarrassed.

Mary never followed social conventions or expectations of feminine behavior to circumscribe her. Rather, she carved a space for herself that allowed her the freedom to exploit both her penchant for hard work and her desire to help others.

She settled in a town in Cascade County, Montana, where she was the only black resident.

In 1895 Mary secured a job delivering mail for the U.S. postal services, and she continued to do so into her seventies. Citizens marveled at her fierce determination to deliver, on schedule, letters and parcels without concern for weather, the ruggedness of the mountain trails, or the remoteness of the homes and outposts that relied on dependable means of communication in order to process land claims.

Without doubt, her work facilitated central Montana's development. She was a respected public figure in Cascade, and the town closed its schools to celebrate her birthday each year.

Mary Fields died in 1914 of liver failure. Neighbors buried her in the Hillside Cemetery in Cascade. A simple wooden cross mark her grave.


Gary Coopers remarks in his story to Ebony Magazine are a fitting epitaph. "Born a slave somewhere in Tennessee, Mary lived to become one of the freest souls ever to draw a breath, or a .38”



Cooper, Gary & Crawford, Marc (October 1959). "Stagecoach Mary". EBONY (Reprinted Oct. 1977 ed.). p. 98.
Metcalf McConnell, Miantae (2016). Deliverance Mary Fields, First African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States: A Montana History. Huzzah Publishing.
 Franks, James A. (2000). Mary Fields (Black Mary) (1st ed.). Santa Cruz, Calif.: Wild Goose Press.

User Comments

I remember this story. But I forget where I heard it. Thanks for posting it again Maria. Bro. Doc

You're welcome Bro Doc...{#basic-laugh.gif}

Had never heard of her before, but I suspect she was one of those people that you were wise to stay on the good side of.  She would likely be a formidable enemy if you got her temper up, but a loyal friend if you were good to her.

There are a lot of unsung heros like her.

She definitely was that!!!!...{#basic-laugh.gif}

Like Brother Doc, I heard of her, and about being the mail carrier/stagecoach driver."  But not the rest of it.  She was one very remarkable lady.  A true part of American History.

She's a hero in my book!!....{#basic-laugh.gif}

"I do bold and exciting things. I wear pants. I smoke a big black cigar. I drink whiskey." "

I like to smoke and drink in bars with the men. I like to be rough. 

I LOVE it!

Me too!!!!!!....{#basic-laugh.gif}

I love History and had not heard of her before. I love Gary Cooper movies though. Especially "High Noon". My favorite cowboy show. 

She was an Independent woman. Good for her.


Thanks for a great post.

glad you enjoyed it Wendi...{#basic-laugh.gif}

You're welcome!!

Maria....Mary got a bit of recognition in the recent movie "Hateful Eight"!!!   But of course of the sake of Hollywood you was killed in the movie! {#basic-frown.gif}

Great story and clear part of American history....thanks for the reminder!{#basic-laugh.gif}

Thanks Amod, now I gotta go look for how she actually died....lol.

What a cool woman, thanks for finding this, he story would make an awesome film! 

I was thinking that too!!!  I wonder if Grace Jones will be too old to play her...what a gal!!!!

grace jones

Thanks for this Maria.  Great history of a great woman.  We all need to remember people who make a difference like this.

yes, it's a great story!! You're welcome fangio!!...{#basic-laugh.gif}

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