Description: California, after the Gold Rush, was a place of new opportunities and for many people. Charley Parkhurst was an accomplished stagecoach driver during the Gold Rush. Charley was born Charlotte Parkhurst in 1812 in New Hampshire. Raised in an orphanage, Charlotte ran away at 15, wearing boy’s clothing. Charley had gained skills working with horses and driving a coach, a job generally reserved for men. In California, Charley was able to put these skills to good use and gained a reputation as an excellent stagecoach driver. Charley lived his whole life in California as a man.
The context and conditions of California during the Gold Rush supported Charley’s experience. His life gives us a more complex understanding of the people of the past, and opens up the opportunity for conversations in our present.
Grade Level: 4th Grade
Source: Berkeley History-Social Science Project