Mary Fields was born into slavery around 1832, more than likely in or near Hickman County, Tennessee. Because minimal records were kept on slaves, the exact place and date of birth are still up for debate. Following the Civil War and gaining her freedom, her life's journey not only became a matter of record but history.

Mary headed north soon after her emancipation, like many slaves, planted roots in Toledo, Ohio. It's said that Mary Fields was a spit-fire that stood 6ft. tall, weighing roughly 200 pounds. She was a voluptuous woman, that didn't take any mess, resulting in her getting into several scuffles. While there, Fields worked as a groundskeeper, managed the kitchen, and washed the nuns' clothes at the Ursuline Convent of the Sacred Heart. Her boss at the time, Mother Superior Amadeus, was somehow associated with the family that used to own Mary. When the nun left the convent to open St. Peter's Mission school in Montana, known at that time as the Wild West, Mary agreed to join her.

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Fields did the same type of work in Montana, only part-time, which allowed her to learn a new trade doing side work for a postmaster for the U.S.Postal Service. It is during this time that she earned her nickname, "Stagecoach Mary," securing her place in history forever. In honor of Black cowboys who shaped the Wild West, a loosely based portrayal of Mary's story was featured in the epic Netflix movie, The Harder They Fall," starring Idris Elba, and Regina King. Below learn more about the toughest woman in the West!

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