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Mary Fields, also known as Stagecoach Mary, was the first African-American woman employed as a mail carrier in the United States, driving her mail route by stagecoach from Cascade, Montana to St. Peter's Mission, Montana. She was only the second American woman in all to work for the United States Postal Service.
Born a slave circa 1832 in Hickman County, Tennessee (the exact year of her birth is uncertain) she was freed when American slavery was outlawed in 1865. For some time she worked repairing the buildings of a school for Native American girls in Montana called Saint Peter's Mission, eventually advancing to forewoman. In 1895, although approximately 60 years old, Fields was hired as a mail carrier since she was the fastest job applicant to hitch a team of six horses. She drove the route with horses and a mule named Moses and never missed a day, earning the nickname "Stagecoach" for her reliability. This was despite heavy snowfalls that sometimes made it necessary for her to deliver the mail on foot, once walking 10 miles back to the depot.
When she retired she became friends with the actor Gary Cooper. She was a respected public figure in Cascade, and on her birthday each year the town closed its schools to celebrate. She died of liver failure in 1914 when she was a little bit over the age of 80.