Well, it's that month again. I'm four days late in posting some shares.
Today's subject is Stage Coach Mary also known as Shotgun Mary.
There are a few articles on Mary Fields but I love the one I've referenced for this post.
Shotgun Mary was an ex-slave from Tennessee who after the Civil War set out for the Western frontier. Montana to be exact. She found a position first at a mission run by Ursuline nuns. She was hired to haul and prepare all foods to do with maintaining and stocking the mission. Basically, she was what my grandfather would have called, A TOTAL NEGRO. Meaning? The all 'round helper. The one who, no matter what goes on, will get ish done. The title might sound complimentary but it is not. Believe me. If a Black person is ever seen as that by another Black person, it means the person is being taken advantage of. Used up to the brink of exhaustion and not getting compensated fairly for their labor. For most Black freedmen and women, freedom post-early Emancipation was just doing the same work they'd done in slavery for little pay. It was still backbreaking and dehumanizing. Mary being 6 feet tall, tough and robust and not to be messed with, and a toter of 2 six-shooters and a ten gauge shotgun was perfect for the label.
A story which depicts this all is when she was on a supply run for the convent. Wolves attacked her wagon, knocking it over and destroying a lot of her haul. After spending a harrowing night on the prairie fending off the creatures, she somehow righted the wagon, piled the goods that were salvageable into it and made it to the convent. WELL. This is where the "being taken advantage of "part kicks in. The ungrateful nuns boo-hoo'ed about the goods that were lost. They did NOT thank Mary, or ask HOW she was after the encounter. They only cared about the lost stuff and DOCKED HER PAY!
Her stint at the convent ended when she was a part of a shoot-out. Which occurred behind the nunnery. Some ass of a White cow poke who worked at the convent found out that marry being paid 2 bucks more than him a month. One can imagine the colorful way he brought that up. His approach didn't sit well with Mary and after that, as they say, it was on! She wounded the dude and filled the laundry hanging behind the nunnery full of holes. She was fired. The next job was as mail person for that area of Montana. She always carried her weapons and it was said no mail was ever stolen. She'd go through 2 or 3 more jobs before passing at the age of 80 from liver failure.
No nonsense. Feisty. Cigar Smoker. Brawler. Frontierswoman. Daredevil. That was Mary Fields.