Black Legends of The Wild, Wild West, Part 2 #BHM

Mary Fields was born a slave in Hickman County, Tennessee, sometime in 1832. She lived on the family farm. Judge Edmund Dunn owned both the farm and Mary. The judge’s daughter, Dolly, was about the same age as Mary. They became good friends. It’s not known who taught her, but Mary was able to read and write.

She, like countless others, was also freed by the Emancipation Proclamation Act of 1863. Yet, she stayed with the Dunn family. After the Judge’s death and upon the death of his wife Josephine (1883), Mary took the family’s five children to join Dolly in Toledo, Ohio. It’s where Dolly lived after becoming a nun, followed by being named Mother Superior Mary Amadeus.

A year later, Mother Superior’s sent to the Montana Territory. At the request of the Jesuits, assigned to head a school for Indian girls at St. Peter’s Mission. Accepting the assignment, she left with five Ursuline nuns heading for the mission. Their task, the first to do so, was to create and establish a curriculum to teach Native Americans from the Cheyenne, Crow, Blackfoot, and Gros Ventre-Assiniboine Reservation located in central and eastern Montana. The cold and severe winters along with other frontier elements, made the task even more daunting for the nuns.

For some unknown reason, Mary Fields stayed behind. Later, learning of Mother Amadeus bout with pneumonia, she went to the St Peters Mission aid her friend. Mother Superior Amadeus recovered, and Mary ended up staying at the mission.  She earned her keep by taking a job with the Ursuline nuns. The 6 foot, approximately 200 hundred pounds dark-skinned black woman, was an imposing figure to the locals, no matter their race. Her duties included hauling supplies from around Cascade County, Montana area, Great Falls, or Helena to the St. Peters Mission. By now, she had become hardened by frontier life. She took to smoking harsh cigars and carrying a pistol strapped under her apron. That type of life alone designated certain duties such as required, including patchwork carpentry, chopping wood, cutting down small trees and digging various type holes for the mission.

Her Biography says that Native Americans of the area called her “White Crow” because “she acts like a white woman but has black skin.” One schoolgirl wrote of her in an essay, saying, “she drinks whiskey, and she swears, and she is a republican, which makes her a low, foul creature.”

She became known as a fist fighter that would protect her rights at the drop of a hat. One website reported that the Grate Falls Examiner stated: “She broke more noses than any other person in central Montana.”

There are different reports on the cause of a gunfight between Mary and one of the disgruntled workers at the mission. Mary was in charge, acting as the Forman, which reportedly angered this particular individual. Some say the man didn’t like being told what to do by a black woman. But in our experience, even today, these issues are normally based upon economic reasons. The fact she was earning a reported $2 per month more than he sent him off on a constant complaining campaign to whoever would listen. He even registered a complaint with the managing Bishop in charge of the nuns and mission. The old, why should an “uppity colored woman” make more than a man was his rant.

The man’s nerve-wracking complaints caused an altercation that resulted in a shootout. One version of how it started says the man hit Mary. As she fell, she pulled her six-shooter and fired, missing the guy. He pulled his gun firing but missing, and the shootout was on. Another report says Mary went looking, found the man by a latrine he was cleaning, and fired at the man upon sight.  She missed and the shootout was on.  Without going into further specifics of the differing details of the subsequent shootout, there were several gunshots fired by both parties in the back of the mission. Both emptied their six-shooters ending with the man getting wounded in the buttocks. The altercation caused Mary to get fired by the managing Bishop as soon as he got wind of the gunfight. The Bishop had been asking the nuns to get rid of her a long time before the shootout.

After the firing, her friend Mother Amadeus helped her open a restaurant in Cascade, which was not that far from the St Peters mission. The gruff exterior and frontier mannerisms of Mary hid her compassion for the downtrodden and destitute. It seems that all you needed to eat in Mary’s restaurant was an appetite. She may have been an excellent friend, nanny, worker, but her cooking wasn’t that well received. Nor was she a very good businessperson. Thus, the place went broke within ten months. Before the closure, she fed any (person who would eat what she prepared) and everybody whether they had the money to pay for the meal or not. I would guess everybody, except the man with which she had the shootout.

At 60 years old, in 1895, she won a job as a mail carrier.  She won because she was the fastest of twelve other cowboy applicants, half her age, to hitch a team of six horses to the mail wagon. With this assignment, she became the second American woman employed by the United States Postal Service and the first black woman mail carrier in the US. The nickname “Stagecoach” earned in recognition of her reliability. Is the snow too deep for her horse team? No matter, Mary used snowshoes while carrying the mail sacks on her shoulders. She, and her mule, Moses, would deliver the mail in blizzards, extreme heat to the outlying and miner’s cabins.

That was just nature elements that attempted to stop this determined woman. For six years, she rode a stagecoach carrying the mail, money, and other items for delivery over a frontier postal route. The trails littered with desperate people who did mind taking a chance on stealing whatever this black woman was carrying. In those rare occasions where some desperado had not heard of Stagecoach Mary, they may try to rob her. Their first surprise would be that she was a woman driving a six-horse team coach. Added to their shock of seeing this tall black woman alone and out in the wilderness, was the site of a double-barrel ten-gauge shotgun leveled at them.  The question now became, who has the drop on whom? Since they said she never lost a piece of mail or any other valuables in her care during a stagecoach run, we know how those confrontations ended.

She didn’t have to worry about hostile Indians because most Sioux had not seen a black person before, much less such an imposingly tall and armed black woman like Mary. Rather than deal with someone or something they didn’t fully understand, they would not bother her. Can’t you imagine two young Sioux braves pointing at her coach coming down the trail, turning their pony’s aside to get out of the rolling wagon wheels path? As Stagecoach Mary cracks her whip at the horses, yelling “Git-up-there Moses.” One of the braves turns to his friend and says while pointing in the coach’s direction…” Bad medicine.”

She finally moved on to a job that was less treacherous because of health issues. She opened a laundry (also in Cascade, Montana) at the age of seventy. Spending most of her time drinking, cigar-smoking, and spitting in the local saloon instead of doing laundry, she was reportedly content with life. Stagecoach Mary died of liver failure in 1914. Life expectancy in the old west for those who died violently was 35. For those who live an uneventful life and took care of themselves averaged 70 years old. Mary, an ex-slave, and black woman lived to be around 82 years old. Can you believe it?

The late actress Esther Roll played Mary Fields in a 1976 TV Documentary, entitled South by Northeast, Homesteaders.  Dawnn Lewis played her in a 1996 TV movie, The Cherokee Kid. Kimberly Elise’s cast as Mary in the 2012 TV-movie Hannah’s Law.

Next in this series is James P. Beckwourth. , American mountain man.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo

Join us for the live broadcast of our bi-monthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

We present the republication of the Authors’ tour of South Korea as a 17-year-old GI with Unchon-ni. Check out the details at https://outskirtspress.com/Unchonni

We are in a continuing effort to publicize, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. Based on the life of the Authors Grandmother. The Novel examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of his fifth book, Misguided Intentions. A book where family relationships questioned to the core. Read MI’s review at https://redheadedbooklover.com/gracie-hall-hampton-codis-hampton-ii/  Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions   

Get any of his books by visiting my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

Look for new books, updates of current titles, and submission of short articles to major magazines upcoming in 2020. We love to pass on our written word. – Hamp

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at http://hcoa.net/ and http://www.chiia.com/home.html. Our Retail Site is https://frostyltd.com/frosty-ltd-com

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Black Legends of The Wild, Wild West, Part I, #BHM

This is the first article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. Originally publised in April of 2015, republised today in celebration of our Black History Month of 2020. Today we take a look at U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves.

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The subject matter and individual I’m writing about this Black History Month cause me to be reflective of my personal history. I remember when I was a nine, ten, eleven-year-old kid living in Milwaukee. Yes, it was that red brick apartment building located on thirteenth and Juneau that many have heard me lovingly refer too.

It reminds me of Saturday mornings spent watching ‘Tales of the Texas Rangers,’ Lash LaRue, the Lone Ranger, and yes, even Roy Rogers as well as other Cowboy television programs. We would eat breakfast and hurry to the living room to watch my father’s, subsequently, our favorite shows.  I had a makeshift holster and belt. It was just a blue boy scout’s belt with the shiny brass buckle running through a leather holster that held my trusty six-shooter. I would tie that holster down to my right thigh with an old shoestring just like a real gunfighter.

Talk about imagination; I was full of daydreams during those years. Whenever my friends or cousins came over, we would play in my back yard. We’d use the fifty-gallon oil drums sitting on A-frame stands as horses; throw rags and an old blanket over the barrel as saddles. It didn’t help, because after we finished playing and went back inside? My stepmother would smell the coal oil residue on my pants and me. I would get another warning about her having to wash those pants in with other clothes spoiling the pleasant aroma she was creating with detergent fresher of some type. I am not sure, but I think after several warnings, she washed my play pants with daddy’s work pants.

Back then (mid-fifties), all the cowboys seen on television, movies were white. My father always told me not to worry about it because there were black cowboys in the old west.  Just because television program writers didn’t write about them, did not mean they didn’t exist. He’d tell me, I can be anything I want to be, but make sure you’re the best at whatever you choose. So in my mind, it was my blackface riding that horse chasing rustlers, bank robbers and fighting range wars. I would imagine myself, family members, and other people I knew, would be just as comfortable in the old west as anybody.  Of course, later on in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, the public did see black faces appearing in cowboys, gangsters and all kinds of entertainment. It was readily known that Sammy Davis Jr was a fast draw expert in real life, seen as a frequent guest star in several of the cowboy television series. By that time, I’d hung up my gun and holster, turned to chase girls instead of rustlers and the like.

One such real live lawman who roamed the old west while dishing out justice was U.S. Deputy Marshall Bass Reeves.  Born as a child of slaves in Paris, Texas, in 1838, he served as a water boy until old enough to become a field hand. He became his master’s body servant and personal companion at an even older age.

Bass reportedly ran away after beating up his master (George Reeves) after some dispute during a card game. He found a haven by living with the Seminole and Cherokee Indians, where he developed his skills with the pistol and rifle. It’s also where he became fluent in several Native American languages, finally freed in Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation order of 1863.

Moving to and buying farmland in Van Buren Arkansas, while marrying Nellie Jennie a year later. He would go on to father ten children (five girls and five boys) from this union. Although the family lived happily on the farm, Frontier Law answered Bass’s restlessness and yearning for adventure.

He was appointed as part of a 200-deputy crew by U.S. Marshall, James Fagan in 1875, because of his specific knowledge of the Indian Territory and his ability to speak their language. At the time, the area had become inundated with outlaws, thieves, and murderers looking for an area that before had no federal or state jurisdiction. With a patrolling area covering 75,000 square miles, the deputy’s instructions were to bring in the perpetrators dead or alive.

Bass-Reeves-group-cropped

At 38 years old, he was the first black U.S. Deputy Marshall to serve in that capacity west of the Mississippi River. Known as being courteous and impeccably dressed in his boots polished to a shine, he rode a large reddish stallion with a white-blazed face. While marshaling in the Oklahoman Native American Territory, over his 32 years of service, credited with killing fourteen outlaws and having arrested 3,000 felony lawbreakers of all kind. At 6’2”, approximately 200 pounds, he was ambidextrous with a reputation for being quick, accurate and deadly with his two guns. He was just as skilled with a rifle. Maybe that is why in all those years, he never suffered a gunshot wound, although his hat was shot off more than a few times. A big man with those kinds of skills had to be imposing enough to look at much less take on in a gunfight.

One of his most emotional and personal manhunts involved the apprehension of his son, Benny Reeves. The warrant charged his son with the murder of his young wife. The ultimate fair-minded Bass Reeves demanded the assignment as other deputies were reluctant to take the job because it was his son. In 1902, after a two-week trek into the badlands, he found and arrested his son. Returning him to Muskogee, Oklahoma to face trial, he turned him over to Marshal Bennett. Benny was tried, convicted and served twenty years at Leavenworth for the crime. A citizen’s partition was instrumental in gaining his pardon and early release, after which he spent the rest of his life without further incidents with the law.

By 1907, Oklahoma became a state, and Reeves Deputy US Marshal Commission ended. He was 68 years old. He moved on to join the Muskogee Police Department until his health became a problem while attempting to carry out his duties.  Bass Reeves died of Bright’s disease in 1910. There are several books and articles written and available today. His life and exploits as a US Deputy Marshall was the subject of a movie entitled Bass Reeves, released in 2010. James A. House played the leading character. He confided that when independent filmmaker and owner of the San Ponderous Productions contacted to play the part, he “didn’t even know who Bass Reeves was.”

Here was a man who could not read or write. He had to have others read his warrants to him before searching for various outlaws. He would memorize the details from that reading, including which warrant was for whom.  When serving the document, he never failed to pick out the correct warrant belonging to a specific outlaw. It is amazing to me how our people always found a way to adjust and make progress on whatever job they had to do. That is an important legacy they left us, the ability to improvise. To this day, we use those skills in our everyday lives. Deputy Marshall Reeves goes down in US history as one of the greatest frontier heroes this country has ever known. And once again, my father proved to be right. There was black folk roaming the Wild West.  Look for Part II next week.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa C                                                                                                                      Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Join us for the live broadcast of our bi-monthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

We present the republication of the Authors’ tour of South Korea as a 17-year-old GI with Unchon-ni. Check out the details at https://outskirtspress.com/Unchonni

We are in a continuing effort to publicize, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. Based on the life of the Authors Grandmother. The Novel examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of his fifth book, Misguided Intentions. A book where family relationships questioned to the core. Read MI’s review at https://redheadedbooklover.com/gracie-hall-hampton-codis-hampton-ii/  Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions   

Get any of his books by visiting my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

Look for new books, updates of current titles, and submission of short articles to major magazines upcoming in 2020. We love to pass on our written word. – HampOur Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at http://hcoa.net/ and http://www.chiia.com/home.html. Our Retail Site is https://frostyltd.com/frosty-ltd-com

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment.

Black Hair Care, Open To All Entrepreneurs

4.1.1Sometime last year, I was surprised to learn that the United States 1965 decision to ban the import of any wig that contained hair from China contributed to the Koreans domination of the US Black Hair Care Industry.  Six months earlier in a successful attempt to aid their own wig manufacturers, the Government of South Korea banned the export of the desirable raw hair by anybody other than their own. The result was a Korean monopolization of the Black Hair Care as depicted in Aron Ranen’s, http://diaryofahairobsession.com/black-hair-the-korean-takeover-part-2/ documentary. In a four-part documentary, Ranen’s film points this out and provides in debt insight into the industry as of 2009.

You should note that the two acts by the governments “almost providing a monopoly.” In order for a monopoly to work, competition must be halted by regulation or lack of availability of the monopolized service or goods for sale. In this case, the consumers hold the key to monopolization.

Later on in the year, I picked what I thought was a fair representative number of local Beauty Shop owners. I called, spoke to the owners and explained my reasoning for asking if they were willing to be on my show. Those that did not want to be a guest, I asked about the Korean takeover of the American Black Hair Industry.  Some were reluctant, others were willing but cautious of the possible blow-back from their Korean or Korean associated suppliers. When it came time to call them back, no one was answering the phone. At least no one was taking my calls.

As luck would have it, I was interviewing Regi Kim (of Black Hair Heritage and Roots film documentary, Nappy Roots) on a show last December. She brought on Sam Ennon as an associate and call-in during the show. Afterward, I called him and he agreed to be a guest in March of 2015.

Membership PicMr. Ennon is the founder of BOBSA, a black-owned organization that offers the same type service as any Korean Beauty Supply Product vendor in this country. The organization was formed and also shown as an alternative to the Korean domination of the industry. Thus, they are still as of today, dispelling the idea that the Koreans have a monopoly on the Black Hair Care Industry.

On the show, Sam provides a clear history of the black hair care industry from the freer open market era through the Korean dominance to the present. We learned that events, and in some cases a change in black consumer hair styles, are successful challenging the Korean semi-monopoly. You have got to hear this because you may never hear anyone describe the events and the playbook used by a couple of Korean Entrepreneurs to dominate the black hair care industry.  If you have not heard the show, check out my interview with Sam Ennon on the HCofA BTR March 18th Show, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica/2015/03/18/bobsa-stands-for-black-own-beauty-supply-association-and-you.

BOBSA acts mainly as a Networking business association that is available to Cosmetologist across this country. Whatever items you need for your beauty shop is available either through them or one of their associates. But that is just a small task associated with BOBSA.

Ask Mr. Ennon and he will tell you he is about the black hair care industry with no apologies for his preference for the industry.  Therefore, the products he is marketing either through BOBSA or associative organizations are black owned products. Given that scenario one should be able to determine from that statement, black dollars are being circulated back into the black communities. And that my friends equate to real black power. To put it another way, black power equals green power and green power translates into real power.

We see some evidence of that in various areas in local neighborhoods and none in others. One of the areas that are helping to level the playing field is our social networks. There is no doubt that currently the internet and email has allowed any and everybody to post items, articles, and opinions. Not to be overlooked is a major change in how large to small retail companies changed their marketing plans, budget and direction to include the advent of the internet.  That is why you hear Mr. Ennon state that social networking on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and other websites are allowing black entrepreneurs to reach individual consumers. Often, it’s more of a one on one with a customer who may be interested in their product or service.

In fact, there is a new product called The Black Box Barber Caddy for barber shops and salons servicing male and female clients. It’s a vending machine that dispenses (you name it) black hair products. As much as forty percent of the products are produced by black entrepreneurs.

You may have seen advertisement ads on social media for a Meet the Faces of B.O.B.S.A. event that Mr. Ennon is hosting in Detroit. They will be at the Greater Grace Temple, 23500 W. 7 Mail, Detroit, MI 48219 on April 25 through the 27th.  They will also provide information and product display at the event. And…entrepreneurs can get the full details on how to become an Investor, Distributor, Salesperson or Wholesaler of the Black Box Caddy trio of machines. Specifically, the Black Box Barber Caddy with men’s hair care products. There is the Black Box Beauty Supply with woman’s hair care products, and the Black Box Natural Products which addresses the natural black hair styles which are becoming more popular today.

Locally, we are going to highlight the Blitz Barbershop at 4156 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland, CA. They have agreed to set up a Black Box Barber Caddy in his shop. The owner, entrepreneur Quincy Scott will be on our May 20th Blog Talk Radio Show to give you his story and expectations for his business.

But that is not the entire story or even the beginning of another story. This story is about human nature and consumer behavior toward what is best for themselves and their community.  The question that stills begs for an answer and immediate action. It is one that is asked time and time again in our community, normally generating non-responses or all kinds of stereotypical answers.  Why can’t we as a people, work together for our overall common good?

As Sam Ennon previously stated, we are finding that attitudes are changing. Maybe one day we will finally put the “crabs in a barrel” syndrome to rest. Meanwhile, here is a warning for Black Americans. If we don’t take control of our communities via economical means, we will go out of style like a short-lived fashion craze. And that includes political influence in our state capitals and Washington DC.

We have got to take ownership of our neighborhood retail and residential property. We need to cooperate with the local police department by setting up Neighborhood Watch groups. I don’t care what some people think about the local police. I am a firm believer in getting our local officials, and that includes the police, their superiors and as far up the chain as necessary, to facilitate change in unsatisfactory behavior in the office and on the ground. Bottom line; enable ways to make those in positions of authority responsible for their actions.

Meanwhile, it is up to us to facilitate the change we are seeking. For the first time in our history, we have the means and abilities to improve our living standard. The computer is the primary means. Another is cooperating with organizations and business that are specifically circulating black consumer dollars back into our communities. You want to know more about current or future plans of B.O.B.S.A., give Sam Ennon a call at 650-863-3491 or go to the website at www.bobsa.org. Get involved in your own economic survival in any way you can.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

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