Bandits beware: In 1890s Montana, would-be mail thieves didn’t stand a chance against Stagecoach Mary.
As the first African American woman to carry mail, she stood out on the trail—and became a Wild West legend.
Born Mary Fields in around 1832, Fields was born into slavery, and like many other enslaved people, her exact date of birth is not known.
Even the place of her birth is questionable, though historians have pinpointed Hickman County, Tennessee as the most likely location.
At the time, slaves were treated like pieces of a property; their numbers were recorded in record books, their names were not.
When she died on December 5, 1914, her funeral was one of the largest the town had ever seen.
Mary Fields didn’t need to be a myth to stand out from the crowd—but she didn’t seem to mind her outsized reputation. »