Also known as Mary Fields, Stagecoach Mary was one of the toughest ladies of the Old West. Born as a slave on a Tennessee plantation in 1832, she gained her freedom after the Civil War and the resulting abolition of slavery. After the Civil War Mary made her way West where she eventually settled in Cascade County, Montana.
In Montana, Mary would gain a reputation as one of the toughest characters in the territory. Unlike most women of the Victorian era, Mary had a penchant for whiskey, cheap cigars, and brawling. It was not uncommon for men to harass her because of her race or her gender. Those who earned her disfavor did so at their own risk, as the six foot tall, two hundred pound woman served up a mean knuckle sandwich. According to her obituary in Great Falls Examiner, “she broke more noses than any other woman in Central Montana”.
In Montana, Mary made a living doing heavy labor for a Roman Catholic convent. She did work such as carpentry, chopping wood and stone work. However, it was her job of transporting supplies to the convent by wagon that would earn her the name “Stagecoach Mary”. The job was certainly dangerous as she braved fierce weather, bandits, robbers and wild animals. In one instance her wagon was attacked by wolves, causing the horses to panic and overturn the wagon. Throughout the night Stagecoach Mary fought off several wolf attacks with a rifle, a ten gauge shotgun, and a pair of revolvers.
Mary’s job with the convent ended when another hired hand complained it was not fair that she made more money than him to the townspeople and the local bishop. When the bishop dismissed his claims, he went to a local saloon, saying that it was not fair that he should have to work with a black woman (he said something much more obscene). In response, Mary shot him in the bum. The bishop fired Mary, and she was out of a job.
After a failed attempt at running a restaurant, Stagecoach Mary was hired to run freight for the US Postal Service. Today she holds the distinction of being the first African American postal employee. Despite delivering parcels to some of the most remote and rugged areas of Montana, Mary gained a reputation for always delivering on time regardless of the weather or terrain.
At the age of seventy, Stagecoach Mary retired from the parcel business and opened a laundry. In one incident when a customer refused to pay, the 72-year-old woman knocked out one of his teeth. For the remainder of her life, Mary settled down to peace and quiet, drinking whiskey and smoking cheap cigars. She passed away in 1914 at the age of 82.
The electric lamp shown here came from the catholic church. The assistant curator says: “Mantin wanted to have comfort—he was very interested in modernization.”Mantin was interested in all sorts of eclectic things, and in his house you could find not only the stuffed wolf but also a diorama of real dead frogs fighting a duel in a glass globe. There is also a rat playing a violin and a stuffed blowfish.
Amazing Long Term Exposure Photos of Ferris Wheels
The original Ferris Wheel was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. as a landmark for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The term Ferris wheel later came to be used generically for all such structures, and Ferris wheels are now the most common type of carnival ride at state fairs in the United States.
Since the original 1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel, there have been eight subsequent world’s tallest-ever Ferris wheels. The current record holder is the 165-metre (541 ft) Singapore Flyer, which opened to the public in March 2008.
In the gallery below (most taken at local fairs and carnivals), we see what Ferris wheels look like when captured using a longer exposure (i.e., shutter left open, typically 2 seconds or more). The lights that adorn the Ferris Wheels blend and blur, creating brilliant patterns and beautiful photos.
Amazing 19th Century Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy holds an important place in the pantheon of world literature. The divine comedy is an epic poem written between 1308 until his death in 1322. It is widely considered the preeminent work in Italian literature and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem’s imaginative and allegorical vision of the afterlife is divided into three parts: Inferno (hell), Purgatorio (purgatory), and Paradiso (heaven). The poem features Dante, and his guide, Virgil, who accompanies him on his journey. What Dante witnesses is both shocking and enlightening.
Counltess artists have been inspired by Dante’s visionary work, but the best known artist to illustrate the unearthly tale was Gustave Doré whose gorgeous folio was published in 1861. Jean-Édouard Dargent was a rival of Dore’s and also published a book of illustrations in 1870 for Dante’s masterpiece. These are Dargent’s hauntingly beautiful illustrations.
The “Studley” Tool Chest
Master craftsman Henry O. Studley (1838-1925) was an organ and piano maker, carpenter, and mason. He is best known for building this incredible tool chest during his tenure at the Poole Piano Company in Massachusetts, working on it over the course of 30 years. Using ebony, mother-of-pearl, ivory, rosewood, and mahogany – all materials used in the manufacture of pianos – he refined the chest to the point that, even now in the 21st century, it is still in a class by itself.
The Studley Tool Chest holds 300 tools, yet measures only 9 in. deep, 39 in. high, and 18 in. wide, when closed (22.86 x 99.06 x 45.72 cm). Every tool has a custom-made holder to keep it in place, many with beautiful inlay, and tiny clasps that rotate for easy access. As the chest folds closed, tools from the left side nestle precisely between tools on the right side.
Curse of the “Black Angel”
In the quiet, peaceful Oakland Cemetery stands an ominous statue. She is an angel, with very long, outstretched feathery wings with one wing raised above her head, the other sloping down. Her hair is hidden beneath a hood that is attached to a long, flowing cloak. She is pitch black. She stands stoic, her face expressionless. Local lore and superstition surround this beautiful, but eerie, Angel of Death.
There is a curse tied to the “Black Angel” cemetery monument, an urban legend said to bring sickness, misfortune and even death to anyone who dares touch her. The legend also foretells that if a pregnant woman should walk beneath the angel’s outstretched wings, she would suffer a miscarriage. But if a virgin should touch the black angel, he or she alone would survive. The Angel of Death supposedly grows darker and darker with the passage of each Halloween.
A locally famous monument, the 8 1/2 foot tall “Black Angel” statue was erected in 1913 as a memorial to Nicholas Feldevert. The story of the Black Angel dates back to the late 19th century when Teresa Feldevert traveled to Iowa City from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Her first marriage produced her son, Edward Dolezal, who died in Iowa City in 1891. Teresa had the bronze angel statue made in Chicago and transported to Iowa City to be placed in the cemetery in 1913. Her second husband, Nicholas Feldevert’s ashes were placed in a repository at the base of the statue. When Teresa died in 1924, her ashes were placed beside her husband’s. Though the monument displays Teresa’s birthdate, there is no sign of her deathdate.