Charley Parkhurst

Charley Parkhurst

Original Name Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst
Lebanon, Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 28 Dec 1879 (aged 66–67)
Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, California, USA
Burial Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, California, USA
Plot 6 rows back from Freedom Blvd. facing the street
Memorial ID 3818 · View Source
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Western Figure. Born Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst in Lebanon, New Hampshire, known in life as Cockeyed Charley was one of the greatest stagecoach drivers of the Old West, whom just happened to be a woman. Abandoned by her parents as a child and placed in an orphanage from which she later escaped disguised in boy's clothing. She found work as Charley in a livery stable, learn all she could about horses and became a skillful as resourceful stagecoach driver. In the early 1850s, she found her way to California driving stage coaches through the wildest boom towns of Gold Country such as Rough and Ready, Grass Valley and Placerville. In the late 1860s, she retired from riding the stage, bought land in Santa Cruz County, ran a stage station and ranch as well as working as a lumberjack during the winters. She was also the first woman known to have voted in a U.S. Presidential Election on November 3, 1868, as a man. In 1879, Charley succumbed to cancer and died. Buried in Watsonville's Pioneer Cemetery, the Pajaro Valley Historical Association discovered Parkhurst's plot in 1954 and her remains were reburied with an historical marker erected in 1955.

Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith

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Noted whip of the Gold Rush days.
Drove a 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. The first woman to vote
in the U.S. Nov. 3, 1868

Erected 1955

Pajaro Valley Historical Ass'n.



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 3 Nov 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 3818
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charley Parkhurst (1812–28 Dec 1879), Find a Grave Memorial no. 3818, citing Pioneer Cemetery, Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .