Charley Parkhurst, Stagecoach Driver

Charley Parkhurst 1812-1879

Buried in Pioneer Cemetery, Watsonville, CA

Stagecoach travel was an important mode of transportation in El Dorado County during the second half of the 1800s. Stage routes were established between towns, carrying passengers, mail, gold and other goods.

One famous stagecoach driver, known as a “whip,” was Charley Parkhurst. He, or as it turns out, she, was well-known and respected, driving stages all over California.

Charlotte Parkhurst lived her adult life as a man, even voting in the 1868 Presidential election many years before the 19th Constitutional Amendment allowed women to vote. It wasn’t until she died that it was discovered that Charley was in fact, a woman, born Charlotte Parkhurst in New Hampshire. She came to California as an experienced stagecoach driver in 1849. The D.A.R. chapter in El Dorado Hills / Folsom has cleverly adopted her name.

Interpretation by Mike Roberts, 2024