Stagecoach driver Charley Parkhurst was about 5’7”, with tobacco stains on a beardless face, and only one eye… The other was lost while shoeing a horse.
 
Charley Parkhurst
One day a gang led by a road agent named Sugarfoot held up Charley’s stage. Incidentally, they called him Sugarfoot because he wore empty sugar sacks on his extra large feet. From this point Charlie started carrying a pistol. About a year later Sugarfoot and his gang tried to hold up Charley’s stage again. This time Charley drove the stage’s horses into the gang; drew a pistol; killed Sugarfoot; and wounded the other two members of the gang.
 
In spite of the flashy clothes, endless stories and friendliness, Charley was a loner. Charley slept in the barn with the horses; bathed in creeks away from people; and stayed away from women.
 
Due to rheumatism, Parkhurst gave up driving a stage; opened up stage stop in Watsonville, California; registered to vote; and became a normal citizen of the community.
 
Charley ended up getting tongue cancer. Refusing treatment with threats to blow the head off any doctor who came close, Charley Parkhurst died on December 28, 1879.
 
When the autopsy was done, an amazing discovery was uncovered. Charley Parkhurst was actually… a fully developed woman, and she had even had a baby when she was younger. 
 
It seems that Parkhurst, as a young woman left alone to fend for herself, just figured out a way to make it in a male dominated world.
 
There’s one other accomplishment most people don’t think about when they hear the story of Charley Parkhurst. While a resident of Watsonville, California, Charley Parkhurst was the first woman in the United States to vote.

Filed under: Old West Myth & Fact

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