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


About this ebook



1885-1914. Mary Fields, a fifty-three-year-old second-generation slave, emancipated and residing in Toledo, receives news of her friend's impending death. Remedies packed in her satchel, Mary rushes to board the Northern Pacific.

Days later, she arrives in the Montana wilderness to find Mother Mary Amadeus lying on frozen earth in a broken-down cabin. Certain that the cloister of frostbit Ursuline nuns and their students, Indian girls rescued from nearby reservations, will not survive without assistance, Mary decides to stay.

She builds a hennery, makes repairs to living quarters, cares for the 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 sub-zero 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?

MIANTAE METCALF MCCONNELL'S RESEARCH enabled USPS historians to verify Mary Fields as the first African American woman star route mail carrier in the U.S. A fact-based 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 woman suffrage election.

For those interested in United States and American west History, this book portrays the nation's multiethnic struggle for human rights by presenting factual discoveries and personal life stories.


An indefatigable former slave who braved the Montana Rockies on a journey to rescue a dying friend is the real-life subject of this 19th-century frontier narrative. Adventure abounds in the little-known tale of the heroic middle-aged woman who became the 1st African American mail carrier in the United States.-Hamilton Cain, Reviewer


"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

"Miantae Metcalf 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 majestically off the page into living is the one book you must read."-Michael Searles, Author and History Professor Emeritus, Augusta University


...I felt like I was right there with Mary Fields...beautifully written, I could hardly put it down. Being a native Montanan who grew up in central Montana I knew the area. A definite read for everyone!--Debbi Kramer, Executive Director

Miantae Metcalf McConnell provides us with a great story and history of Mary Fields, an important black westerner. A must-read for youths and adults. -Bruce A. Glasrud, History, Professor Emeritus, California State University

About the author

The descendant of Montana homesteaders, Miantae Metcalf McConnell, born and raised in California, spent childhood summers in Montana on her grandparents' farm. She rode horseback, fished for trout and listened to her grandparents when they took momentary respites from continual hard work-leaned back at local grain elevators, quilting bees, cattle auctions or county fairs-conversed with friends and neighbors regarding politics and people who were different, not like them. Presently residing in Montana, the author became aware of Mary Fields in 2002. Believing that the actual history of this regional legend had to be more remarkable than residual embellished and fabricated accounts, she decided to investigate. The endeavor led her to research throughout the United States for over a decade. McConnell wove inherent knowledge of Montana with her new historical discoveries into Deliverance Mary Fields, a chronicle of Montana pioneers and the personal story of Mary Fields.

Rate this book

Tell us what you think.

Reading information

Smartphones and tablets
Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.
Laptops and computers
You can listen to audiobooks purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like Kobo eReaders, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Follow the detailed Help Center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.