Hello all! I’m Carla, and I blog over at Tiny.Angry.Crafts. This month I will be showcasing a Black Person of the week from The Wild West. As a young child, I was very fortunate to have my grandmother teach me something new; her being a schoolteacher and all, she would give me a double dose of Black History every February. It was very refreshing to learn about my own history, but it made me feel very sad to know that not a lot of people knew this information. I often teach Janey new facts, and I was super excited to teach Black History and Wild West History to you all this month. So, today, you gone learn.
Mary Fields, Badass of United States Postal Service.
Born into slavery in Tennessee in 1832, Fields was freed when slavery was outlawed in the US. She went to work for a white man named Dunne. After his wife died, Mary took his children to an Ursuline convent in Ohio. The Mother Superior was sent to Montana Territory and upon getting sick with pneumonia, Mary went to nurse her back to health, and worked with as her health improved.
By 1895, Mary developed a tough reputation. She smoked hand made cigars, drank practically any man under the table, and would participate in gunfights. Her reputation was so well known, she received a contract from the US Postal Service to be a Star Route Carrier; an independent contractor who carried mail via stagecoach. As a Star Carrier, she protected the mail from ruffians and delivered it to where it needed to go. She was the fastest contractor to hitch a team of horses. Mind you, she was roughly sixty years old at this time. She never missed a day, apparently fought off wolves, and would get off her wagon in snowy conditions and walk to her destination.
After she retired six years later, she opened up a laundry service from her home, babysat the towns children, and continued to visit bars. A town ordinance banned women from bars, but Mary received a special pardon. She was a fan of baseball, and would cheer on the local team regularly, and would give them flowers from her garden if they won. When she passed away on December 5th, 1914, her funeral was the largest the town had seen.