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Do You Have a Revolutionary War Patriot in your Family?

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PRpond

EL DORADO HILLS, CALIF - Do you have a Revolutionary War patriot in your family? Would you like to find out if you do? A newly-formed Daughters of the American Revolution chapter serving El Dorado Hills/Folsom and surrounding communities could help you open the door to your past.

Members of the new chapter will be available to help research family trees and hopefully find a Revolutionary War patriot. While Daughters of the American Revolution is a lineage society and each member is a direct ancestor of a Revolutionary War patriot, the organization is not only about researching family history. Preserving U.S. history, conserving historical sites, educating children about the Constitution and awarding scholarships, maintaining veterans’ gravesites, and honoring and supporting those who serve the country in the military and as first responders are ways chapters support their communities.

Searching for a name for the new chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution members turned to the pages of the “Wild, Wild West.” Before completion of the Transcontinental Railroad over Donner Pass in 1868, the only transportation through the Sierra Nevada was by stagecoach driven by skilled and fearless men. One of the most famous drivers, or whips, was Charley Parkhurst who came west from New England in 1852 seeking his fortune in the Gold Rush and driving stages from Carson City to Placerville and Sacramento to Santa Cruz. Charley opened his own stage station in Soquel. He died on Dec. 29, 1879 at the age of 67. Except “he” was a “she.”

The obituary published in the Sacramento Daily Bee a few days after death revealed that when friends came to prepare his body for burial, they discovered “Charley Parkhurst was unmistakably a well-developed woman!”

Her real name was Charlotte Parkhurst, born in New Lebanon, New Hampshire, in 1812. She ran away from an orphanage at age 15 and soon discovered that life in the working world was easier for men. She successfully disguised herself for the rest of her life.There’s one more twist to her story: dressed as a man, she cast her first vote in a national election in 1868, becoming the first woman to vote in the United States, 52 years before Congress passed the 19th Amendment giving American women the right to vote. Her name, Charlotte Parkhurst, was the perfect choice for the new chapter’s name.

To learn more about the Charlotte Parkhurst chapter and honor and preserve the legacy of potential revolutionary ancestors in your family, promoting historic preservation, education and patriotic endeavors, email Carol Ann Nolan at canolandar@att.net or Stephanie Ratzburg at sratzburg@me.com.

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