Wikipedia Rabbit Hole: Stagecoach Mary

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Let’s talk about one of the most badass women of the Wild West – Stagecoach Mary

Mary Fields was born as a slave in the 1830s and after emancipation ended up working at convent in Montana

Mary did “men’s work” there, like managing maintenance, but her crass attitude didn’t really fit in with the nuns.

Standing over six feet tall, she drank, smoke, and fought with men, and they eventually kicked her out in 1894. 

Unemployed and without a place to go, she moved to Cascade and got a job as a Star Route mail carrier. 

A star route was a mail route that was too remote for the actual postal service to go, so they awarded a contract to the lowest bidder. 

And in Montana territory this was especially dangerous because the route went through deep wilderness and there was little protection from robbers or wildlife. 

So Mary, over 60 years old at this point, became known for carrying multiple firearms and fighting off wolves and bandits.

And she never missed a delivery – If the snow was too deep she delivered the mail on snowshoes and carried the sacks on her shoulders. 

And despite her fearsome reputation, she was a local Cascade hero – the children loved her, she was the mascot of a baseball team, and when there was a law passed banning women from saloons, she was given an exception. 

Her legacy lives on as the first African American woman to carry mail on a Star Route.

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