Charley Parkhurst

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Credited on a bronze plaque as “the first woman to vote,” Charley Parkhurst was assigned female at birth but went on to become a stagecoach driver in California, a high-status position known as a “whip” or “Jehu”. Known as “One-eyed Charley” for the eyepatch he earned from a horse kick, he had a reputation for being an agreeable type who drank, smoke, and drove a respectable “six-horse”. Legend even tells of him taking down a notorious highway baron. Parkhurst has since been featured as the subject of several novels based on rumors about his life.

In addition to the possibility that Parkhurst never voted at all, the consistency and longevity of his assumed identity (like many other historical trans figures he made the newspaper after his body was inspected post-mortem) suggests that he identified as a man rather than a woman, and so could not have been the first woman to vote anyway.

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