Charley Parkhurst

I found this story on Futility Closet's blog here.

"Excerpt from an obituary for stagecoach driver Charley Parkhurst, published in the San Francisco Morning Call, Dec. 28, 1879:

'He was in his day one of the most dexterous and celebrated of the famous California drivers ranking with Foss, Hank Monk, and George Gordon, and it was an honor to be striven for to occupy the spare end of the driver’s seat when the fearless Charley Parkhurst held the reins of a four- or six-in-hand'.

"It was discovered only afterward that “One-Eyed Charlie” had been a woman, born Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst in New Hampshire in 1812. Posing as a man, she had gained a reputation as one of the best stagecoach drivers on the West Coast.

"More than that, her name (as Charles Darkey Parkurst) is listed in the Santa Cruz voter rolls for Oct. 17, 1868 — which means she may have been the first woman to vote in the United States."

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2 Responses to Charley Parkhurst

  1. pcb says:

    The first known woman 😉
    Think of all the free-spirited women who never got caught!


  2. Mike says:

    I like how you can live your entire life as a man but the instant you have a vagina you’re posthumously crowed around as a woman, unambiguously, and by “like” I actually mean “am sick and tired of.” Maybe Parkhurst identified as female and only wore male dress for social reasons, but it is entirely possible that Parkhurst preferred to identify as a man all the time for personal reasons. We don’t know. I can’t unambiguously claim Parkhurst as a trans man like myself, but no one else can unambiguously claim Parkhurst as a woman, either. Parkhurst is dead and can no longer clarify the issue. It is ambiguous.


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