Sep 21, 2015
"One-Eyed Charley" Parkhurst drove a stagecoach throughout California during the height of the Gold Rush, rising to the top of a difficult, dangerous, and highly competitive profession at its historic peak. Only after his death in 1879 at age 67 was it discovered that Charley was a woman. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll tell what's known of Charley Parkhurst's courageous and enigmatic life story.
We'll also hear listeners' input on the legalities of an anti-Christian town and puzzle over a lucky driver and his passenger.
Sources for our feature on Charley Parkhurst:
Dan L. Thrapp, ed., Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, 1991.
Gloria G. Harris and Hannah S. Cohen, Women Trailblazers of California: Pioneers to the Present, 2012.
Alton Pryor, Fascinating Women in California History, 2003.
"Thirty Years in Disguise," New York Times, Jan. 9, 1880.
Mark McLaughlin, "Sierra History: The Strange Tale of Stagecoach Driver Charley Parkhurst," Tahoe Daily Tribune, July 11, 2015.
"The Secret of One-Eyed Charley," Palm Beach Post, June 29, 1958.
Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. You can change or cancel your pledge at any time, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support.
You can also make a one-time donation via the Donate button in the sidebar of the Futility Closet website.
Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.
If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening!