Friday, July 25, 2008

Mighty Western Women: Charlie Parkhurst

“Charlie” Parkhurst drove a stagecoach for twenty years: "The Finest Stagecoach driver in the West."

From Wikipedia:

Parkhurst retired from driving some years later in Watsonville, California. Charles Darkey Parkurst is listed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on October 17, 1868 under the official poll list, making Parkhurst the first woman to vote in the United States...

When Parkhurst died in 1879, the neighbors came to the cabin to lay out the body for burial, and they discovered that the renowned stagecoach driver was a woman. Rheumatism and cancer of the tongue were listed as causes of death, but the examining doctor, called in by the astounded neighbors, definitely established that Charlie had been a mother; a trunk in the house contained a baby's dress.