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"Mary Fields" (AKA StageCoach Mary) on Art Paper

"Mary Fields" (AKA StageCoach Mary) on Art Paper

"Mary Fields" was created with graphite medium, this item is a copy print of the origninal. Artist: Kara Halvorson, Culbertson, Montana


From Wikipedia:


Early life and career

Fields was born into slavery in Hickman County, Tennessee, in around 1832. After the Civil War ended, she was emancipated and found work as a chambermaid on board the Robert E. Lee, a Mississippi River steamboat. There, she encountered Judge Edmund Dunne and ultimately worked in his household as a servant. After Dunne's wife died,[5] he sent Fields and his late wife's five children to live with his sister Mother Mary Amadeus in Toledo, Ohio where she was Mother Superior of an Ursuline convent.

In 1884, Mother Amadeus was sent to Montana Territory to establish a school for Native American girls at St. Peter's Mission, west of Cascade. Learning that Amadeus was stricken with pneumonia, Fields hurried to Montana to nurse her back to health. Amadeus recovered, and Fields stayed at St. Peter's, relegated multiple charges regarded as “men’s work” at the time such as maintenance, repairs, fetching supplies, laundry, gardening, hauling freight, growing vegetables, tending chickens, and repairing buildings, and eventually became the forewoman.[6]

The Native Americans called Fields "White Crow", because "she acts like a white person but has black skin".

Life in a nunnery was placid, but Fields' hearty temperament and habitual profanity made the religious community uncomfortable. In 1894, after several complaints and an incident with a disgruntled male subordinate that involved gunplay,[2] the bishop barred her from the convent and Fields moved to Cascade where she opened a tavern, but waned due to allowing the cash-poor to dine free. It closed due to bankruptcy about 10 months later.[7]

Postal service

By 1895, at sixty years old, Fields secured a job as a Star Route Carrier which used a stagecoach to deliver mail in the unforgiving weather and rocky terrain of Montana, with the help of nearby Ursuline nuns, who relied on Mary for help at their mission.[8] This made her the first African-American woman to work for the U.S. Postal Service. True to her fearless demeanor, she carried multiple firearms, most notably a .38 Smith & Wesson under her apron to protect herself and the mail from wolves, thieves and bandits, driving the route with horses and a mule named Moses. She never missed a day, and her reliability earned her the nickname "Stagecoach Mary" due to her preferred mode of transportation.[6][9] If the snow were too deep for her horses, Fields delivered the mail on snowshoes, carrying the sacks on her shoulders.[6]

Later life

She was a respected public figure in Cascade, and the town closed its schools to celebrate her birthday each year.[6] When Montana passed a law forbidding women to enter saloons, the mayor of Cascade granted her an exemption. In 1903, at age 71, Fields retired from star route mail carrier service. The townspeople's adoration for Fields was evident when her home was rebuilt by volunteers after it caught fire in 1912. She continued to babysit many Cascade children and owned and operated a laundry service from her home.[3][4]


Fields died in 1914 at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, and her funeral was one of the largest the town had ever seen. She was buried outside Cascade.[10]


    "Mary Fields" was created with graphite medium, this item is a copy print of the origninal. Artist: Kara Halvorson, Culbertson, Montana


    No Returns are available for any artwork or customized work.


    Prefer local pickup. Will ship artwork. Prices vary depending on size and weight of custom orders. Please allow 4-6 weeks delivery for order prints.

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