-First Black woman to drive the Wells Fargo stagecoach delivering the
The Wild Wild West as never seen before. Black cowgirl Mary Fields.
Some called her stagecoach Mary, some called her Black Mary. Born a slave in Tennessee 1832. In
all of the west Mary Fields had no equal. She was 6 foot, 200 pounds, cigar smoking, gun totin’, beer drinking
pioneer who settled her arguments with her fists, and once in a while with her six shooters. She was a sharp
shooter; can shoot the eye out of an ant at fifty paces. The folks around Cascade, Montana knew her as a freight
hauler, laundress, restaurant owner, and the first Black woman to drive the stage coach delivering the US mail.
A free spirit, she decided that slavery was not for her. She went up and down the Mississippi River
looking for work, mostly on the outside where she could breathe. She always liked horses. Because
of her work and the cold Mary often wore pants like the men. She wore a skirt and an apron over the pants
concealing her six shooters. She often took people by surprise.
Mary played with the plantation owner’s daughter Dolly. Dolly taught Mary to read and write;
another thing that caught people by surprise. Dolly joined the convent and moved to Montana.
She was sick and sent for Mary so that’s how Mary got to Montana. The day that Mary signed
up for the mail carrier job was a day to behold. There was a line of men waiting their turn to sign up
for the job. Mary pushed pass all the men and said, “Who is in charge here.” “I
am here to sign up for the job.” The owner said, “I am, and it’s for men.
Can’t you read?” Mary said, “I can read and it don’t say man or woman, it
just say mail carrier wanted.” “Where do I sign?” The man said, “If you can hitch
up that team of horses and show me that you can drive them then the job is yours.” Mary walked out like her hat was
on fire. She hitched up the team of horses before you could say giddy up. She put her
cigar in her mouth, got the whip in her hands and said, “Move it! Move it!” She made the horses
go around in circles. She made the horses back up the wagon. She made the horses gallop
into a full stride and made them stop on a silver dollar. She kicked up so much dust the men were fanning
to see. Mary pulled the team of horses right up to the door and got down. The owner
said, “I have never seen anything like that in my life, Miss the job is yours.” Mary was well into her sixties
by now, she carried mail for the next ten years. Mary Fields died in 1914 and was mourned by the entire
population of Cascade, Montana. It is said that on any given evening one can hear the whip cracking and
the dust kicking up from the stagecoach and Mary’s famous line echoing through town, “Move it, Move it!”