Sunday, March 9, 2014

"She Wore a Smith & Wesson Strapped Under her Apron"

"A Gun Toting Black Woman Delivered the U.S. Mail in Montana

They say 'Black Mary' could whip any two men in the territory.  She wore a Smith & Wesson strapped under her apron and they swear she couldn't miss a thing within 50 paces.  She was tall [6 ft], weighing well over 200 pounds, and,  except for an apron and a skirt, wore men's clothes."   -  Gary Cooper  - Ebony Magazine Oct 1959 reprinted Oct 77.


Cascade, Montana was home to Mary Field - the second woman to drive a US Mail route, she was also the first African-American woman.  Mary by all evidence was quite a character.  She came to Montana to care for her childhood friend Sister Amadeus and stayed.
According to several articles the Mayor of Cascade passed a special ordinance to allow Mary to drink in the bar.  During her day most women were not allowed in the bars.

The town of Cascade owns one of Charlie Russell's pencil sketches title "A Quiet Day in Cascade".   Charlie Russell was also a fan of Mary Field.  In fact she is featured in the sketch that belongs to Cascade.

Michael Searles said it best: "A legend in her own time, she was also known as STAGECOACH MARY." 

Further Reading

Cascade Community Website

Diversity Room

Gary Cooper reprint Oct 1977

Postal Museum History

True West


  1. What an interesting slice of history! Thank you for teaching me something I didn't know.

  2. I guess wild land calls for women to "man-up" in order to survive. Interesting history.


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