Famous Stagecoach Driver Charley Darkey Parkhurst Was Born a Woman-Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
Charley Darkey Parkhurst, a stagecoach driver who gained fame during the Gold Rush of the 1800s for protecting his valuable cargo from would-be robbers, was found to be a woman after his death.
It’s true that famous stagecoach driver Charley Darkey Parkhurst was a born a woman.
The admission came in Charley Darkey Parkhurst’s obituary published in the Sacramento Daily Bee several days after his death on December 29, 1879:
“On Sunday last, there died a person known as Charley Parkhurst, aged 67, who was well-known to old residents as a stage driver. He was in early days accounted one of the most expert manipulators of the reins who ever sat on the box of a coach. It was discovered when friendly hands were preparing him for his final rest, that Charley Parkhurst was unmistakably a well-developed woman!”
As it turns out, Charley Darkey Parkhurst was born Charlotte Pankhurst. After being abandoned, Parkhurst was raised in a New Hampshire orphanage and later moved west, where he gained fame as a stagecoach driver, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reports:
During the 1850s, bands of surly highwaymen stalked the roads. These outlaws would level their shotguns at stage drivers and shout, “Throw down the gold box!” Charley Parkhurst had no patience for the crooks despite their demands and threatening gestures.
The most notorious road agent was nicknamed “Sugarfoot.” When he and his gang accosted Charley’s stage, it was the last robbery the thief ever attempted.
Charley cracked his whip defiantly, and when his horses bolted, he turned around and fired his revolver at the crooks. Sugarfoot was later found dead with a fatal bullet wound in his stomach.
In appreciation of his bravery, Wells Fargo presented Parkhurst with a large watch and chain made of solid gold.
In 1865, Parkhurst grew tired of the demanding job of driving and he opened his own stage station. He later sold the business and retired to a ranch near Soquel, Calif. The years slipped by and Charley died on Dec. 29, 1879, at the age of 67.
Even though there weren’t any questions raised about Parkhurst’s gender before his death, some of his acquaintances insisted that they noticed something different about him after it was discovered that he was born a woman, the Red Bluff Daily News reports:
Once it was discovered that Charley was a woman, there were plenty of people to say they had always thought he wasn’t like other men. Even though he wore leather gloves summer and winter, many noticed that his hands were small and smooth. He slept in the stables with his beloved horses and was never known to have had a girlfriend.
Charley never volunteered clues to her past. Loose fitting clothing hid her femininity and after a horse kicked her, an eye patch over one eye helped conceal her face. She weighed 175 pounds, could handle herself in a fist fight and drank whiskey like one of the boys.
After his death, there were reports that Parkhurst’s hands were unusually small and smooth. Some also noted that he never had a girlfriend or wife.
So, according to historical records, these tales about Charley Darkey Parkhurst are true.