A Celebration of Black Tennesseans: Stagecoach Mary, Mary Fields


Mary Fields


Born: 1832, Hickman County, TN

Died: 1914, Great Falls, MT


Mary Fields, also known as Stagecoach Mary, was the first African-American female star-route mail carrier in the United States. Born in Hickman County, Tennessee to enslaved parents, she was emancipated after the Civil War.


Known for her no-nonsense personality, she was the ideal candidate to become the first black woman and second woman overall to secure a contract with the United Postal Service. By 1895 at 60 years old, she used a stagecoach to deliver mail in the unforgiving weather and rocky terrain of Montana. She carried multiple firearms for protection against wolves, thieves and bandits. Fields never missed a day and retired 10 years later.


The townspeople loved Mary and proof of that was evident when her home burned down in 1912. It was rebuilt by volunteers from the town. Fields died not long after in 1914. Her funeral was one of the largest the town had seen.

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