Mary Fields (1832 – 1914) was a former slave who was born in Tennessee and then freed during the American Civil War.
Mary was no ordinary woman. As an adult, she was 6 feet tall and weighed about 200 pounds. She could also be hard-edged and was reported to have a foul mouth. However, behind her rough exterior, she was a good woman, and she gained the trust of her bosses and employers.
She worked on a steamboat as a chambermaid and later became a housekeeper at the Ursuline Convent in Ohio where she had a good relationship with her employer, Mother Amadeus.
When Mother Amadeus moved to Montana to work in St. Peters Mission in the 1880s, she specifically sent for Mary who had remained behind in Ohio. She trusted that Mary was the only one who could help her at the mission.
Mary was devoted to the nuns but she had her own personality. She toted a gun, drank whiskey in the saloons with the men, and smoked cheap cigars. But she was also harassed for her race and gender.
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