Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Strange Bedfellows

Have you heard of the famous stagecoach driver, Charley Parkhurst who, upon death was discovered to be a woman? She chewed tobacco, smoked cigars, drank whiskey and was known as the best "whip" in early California history. Known as "One-eyed Charley," Parkhurst was listed in the official poll list in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on October 17, 1868 and most likely voted that year - BEFORE women had a right to do so!

According to author, Richard A. Beal, a monument was erected on Parkhurst's grave. It reads:
Charley Darkey Parkhurst (1812 - 1879) Noted whip of the gold rush days drove stage over Mt. Madonna in early days of Valley. Last run San Juan to Santa Cruz. Death in cabin near the 7 mile house. Revealed 'one eyed Charlie' a woman. First woman to vote in the U.S. November 3, 1868.

Well, when Hank Monk, a fellow stagecoach driver read her obituary he screamed, "Je-hosephat!" and leapt to his feet. He went on to tell his wife, "I camped out with Parkie once for over a week, and we slept on the same buffalo robe right along." Hanks wife had a rolling pin in her hand. She didn't hit him with it but handed it to him and he made his own biscuits for the next week or so.

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