Where we’ve been,
The Forgotten Americans: Part 3
Shotguns, whiskey and the U.S Postal Service my friends. It has been a scientific fact for some time now that during certain celestial alignments this
trio can go hand in hand in hand as harmoniously as ZZ Top. At least that’s how it was before jerks in Washington started cutting back on fun. The
days when the end result of a friendly bet between a postal worker and a local tavern attendee was someone’s face getting bludgeoned are over,
unfortunately. Now while your mind is wrapping itself around that image, let’s make the shotgun slinging postal worker a 6ft tall black woman with
one of her own gnarly hand-rolled cigars hanging out the corner of her mouth, and a sleek little .38 tucked away in her side pocket. Oh, and she’s
in her early sixties and has a reputation of sometimes getting a little pissed off if you’re a fan of running your mouth, or foolish enough to not
pay a debt you owe her. The story of America’s “First Black Woman Postal Carrier” should surely warm your heart.
“She was one of the freest souls to ever draw a breath or a .38." - Gary Cooper
Mary Fields was born into slavery in Hickman, Tennessee back when record keeping was run by the local FFA chapter and a retarded cousin of the mayor.
For all good intentions we’ll say in 1832. Not much is known about what she did growing up but I’m sure it was grueling slave stuff. We can’t
change that now but since she was probably the toughest slave in the area, we can rest assured she was definitely driving her foot into something’s
sphincter. Once freed in 1865 she undoubtedly came down on her former slave master with a glorious driving elbow off the top rope and grabbed her
tobacco and his wallet and started singing Mustang Sally as she danced like Tina Turner all the way to the home of Judge Edmund Dunne where she worked
and helped with Dunne’s family. When Dunne's wife Josephine died in 1883 in San Antonio, Florida, Fields took the family's five children to their
aunt, Mother Mary Amadeus (no relation to Tom Hulce), the mother superior of an Ursuline convent in Toledo, Ohio. In 1884, Mother Amadeus was sent to
Montana Territory to establish a school for Native American girls at St. Peter's Mission, just west of Cascade. Learning that Amadeus was ill, Fields
hurried to Montana to nurse her.
Amadeus recovered and Fields stayed at St. Peter's and like Sylvester Stallone in Over the Top she hauled freight for the next ten years and provided
protection for the nuns and the school. When she wasn’t choke-slamming townies (one nun famously remarked, "May God help anyone who walks on the
lawn after Mary has cut it"), she would tend chickens, take care of the garden, and hand punched nails into any new building projects.
One famous account of a routine freight delivery involved Mary and a pack of bloodthirsty wolves. During one of her 120-mile deliveries, her
stagecoach filled with medicine and food for underprivileged nuns, a hoard of wolves tried a ninja attack on her horses and flipped her coach over.
Everything went everywhere and Mary hid behind the overturned coach and throughout the night fought off all the wolves. Shooting them with her
shotgun, and then switching to her revolver after she ran out of buckshot. When morning came she didn’t call AAA or her daddy to come help her out.
Nope, she flipped the coach over and put everything back into place, found the surviving stray horses and headed along her merry way whistling some
Duran Duran and drinking whiskey out of a newly acquired wolf skull.
Mary had a free pass in the town of Cascade. She was the only woman who wasn’t a prostitute who was allowed to drink in the bars. In fact, she was
the only black resident in town and so feared and awesome, the mayor decreed she was to be served at any bar, at any time for the rest of her life.
And if anyone had a problem with that, she would give them a Bruce Lee beat down with a rock, or like another workhand for the convent learned, a
bullet in the hind end. Which he had coming to him for going around and complaining behind her back that she made more money than him. The Great Falls
Examiner newspaper once cited her as having "broken more noses than any other person in Montana," The Native Americans called Fields "White Crow"
because "she acts like a white woman but has black skin." Local whites did not know what to make of her. One schoolgirl wrote an essay saying: "she
drinks whiskey, and she swears, and she is a republican, which makes her a low, foul creature." In 1894, after several complaints and an incident with
a disgruntled male subordinate that involved gunplay, A.K.A guy who complained about Mary making more money than him, the bishop ordered her to leave
Mary left the convent without a skip in her step and tried opening a restaurant in town. It failed miserably due to her giving away food to people who
couldn’t pay and mostly due to the fact that her idea of scrambled eggs was an entire chicken beaten to a mangled pulp served with a side of
whiskey. In other words she was no Aunt Jemima in the kitchen.
So in 1895, still a young woman in her 60’s, she got a job with the U.S. Postal Service delivering mail throughout the Montana Territory. For her
job interview, she and about a dozen rough and rowdy cowboys half her age were asked to hitch a team of six horses to a stagecoach as quickly as
possible. The 60+ year old Fields made it look like butter, and blew the others away. She became the second woman, and the first black person of any
gender to work for the U.S. Post Office. For the next 6 years there was not a pack of wolves or pack of Indians, not the harshest of Montana
snowstorms, or freak winds, or the blistering sun or twisting, winding, steepest of mountain passes that would stop Mary from delivering the mail. She
was never late, never missed a day and never failed to deliver a letter, not once. If the horses couldn’t make it through the snow, she tied them to
a tree and snow shoed the rest of the way. If someone tried to rob her, she’d cut them down with her 10-gauge. She earned the name “Stagecoach
Mary” throughout the Montana territory.
edit on 5/31/2015 by Illumin because: (no reason given)