Mary worked as a hired hand at the convent and her duties included chopping wood and picking up supplies. She'd worked hard as a slave and was prepared for the physical labor expected of her. Mary was a six foot tall "gritty, cigar smoking, whiskey drinking, fist fighting, six foot tall black woman."
Next Mary owned and operated a restaurant, but since she could only cook plain food with little variety, it wasn't successful. When she was around 60 years old, she heard the U.S. Postal Service needed someone to deliver mail from Cascade to the surrounding areas. She proved to be the fastest at hitching a team of six horses and got the job.
Reliability was Mary's motto. When the snow was too deep for the stagecoach to pass, she put on snowshoes and delivered the mail by foot, once by walking ten miles to do so. Driving a stagecoach could be dangerous work due to robbers and Indians. Loaded with a rifle and several hand guns, she was able to hold her own. Thus she earned the name 'Stagecoach Mary.'
Mary was the second woman and the first black woman to ever work for the postal service. She retired when she was 70 and when her garden wasn't enough to keep her busy, she opened a laundry.
Mary was a pioneer and an inspiration to not only African-American women but also to anyone wanting to begin a new venture later in their life. She was unwilling to allow the prejudices of being black and a woman hold her back.
Mary lived a fruitful life and passed away in 1914 in Cascade, Montana. She was so well loved by the citizens of Cascade that every year on her birthday they let school out.
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