Deliverance Mary Fields, First African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States: A Montana History – Miantae Metcalf McConnell

December 1885. Mary Fields, an emancipated slave, receives news of her friend’s impending death. She arrives in the Montana wilderness and finds Mother Mary Amadeus lying on frozen earth in a broken-down cabin. Certain that the cloister of frostbit Ursuline nuns and their Indian girl pupils will not survive without assistance, Mary stays.

She builds a hennery, repairs living quarters, cares for stock, and treks into the mountains to provide food. Brushes with death do not deter her. Mary drives a horse and wagon through perilous terrain and blizzards to improve the lives of missionaries, homesteaders and Indians and, in the process, her own.

After weathering wolf attacks, wagon crashes and treacherous conspiracies by scoundrels, local politicians and the state’s first Catholic bishop, Mary Fields creates another daring plan. An avid patriot, she is determined to register for the vote. The price is high. Will she manifest her personal vision of independence?

MCCONNELL’S RESEARCH enabled USPS to verify Mary Fields as the first African American woman star route mail carrier in the U.S. A chronicle of Fields’ life in Montana from 1885 until her death in 1914, the narrative examines women rights, bootleg politics, Montana’s turn-of-the-century transition from territory to state and its scandalous 1914 woman suffrage election.

Praise for Deliverance

McConnell has fashioned a historical narrative marrying prose and poetry, fact with creative writing. With the discerning eye of a photographer, the deft hand of a historian, and the literary heart of a poet, the life of Mary Fields, legendary black woman of Montana, rises off the page into living history. If the reader has any interest in Mary Fields, aka Stagecoach Mary, Deliverance is the one book you must read.—Cowboy Mike Searles, Author, Professor of History, Augusta University, GA.

A great story and history of Mary Fields, an important black westerner. A must read for youths and adults. —Bruce A. Glasrud, Author, Professor, California State University.

Under McConnell’s hand, the atmosphere, frontier challenges, and landscapes of Montana come to life. Mary Fields is a true historical figure, dramatized in novel format. Her story will delight readers who look for a blend of accurate historical facts, hard-hitting drama, and realistic scenes powered by a feisty protagonist whose values and concerns become part of the social changes sweeping the nation. —Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review