“Stagecoach” Mary Fields (c. 1832-1914) was born a slave in Tennessee and following the Civil War, she moved to the pioneer community of Cascade, Montana. In 1895, when she was around 60 years old, Fields became the second woman and first African American carrier for the US Postal Service. Despite her age, she never missed a day of work in the ten years she carried the mail and earned the nickname “Stagecoach” for her reliability. Fields loved the job, despite the many dangers and difficulties such as wolves and thieves (she was an excellent marksman, defending her route with a revolver and a rifle).
The people of Cascade so loved and respected Fields, that each year on her birthday they closed the schools to celebrate the occasion. They even built her a new house when she lost her home in a fire in 1912.