AN AWARD WINNING HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY
December 1885. 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 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.
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Miantae Metcalf McConnell, born and raised in California, spent childhood summers in Montana on her grandparent’s farm. It was there her heart remained, in the wild open where she rode horseback, fished for trout and spent endless hours exploring a diverse natural landscape.
Years later she returned to claim Montana as her home of residence (not unlike her Montana homesteader ancestors) and continues to live there today.
A self-taught visual artist, graphic designer, copywriter, photographer and business owner, she returned to creative writing in 1999 and has pursued the path since then.Her published works include poetry, short stories, “Mary Fields’s Road to Freedom,” a nonfiction overview, and the new release: DELIVERANCE MARY FIELDS that reads like fiction, delves into Montana history and features the survival saga of one valiant black woman: Mary Fields, a true inspiration.