Queens of the Mines features the authentic stories of gold rush women who blossomed from the camouflaged, twisted roots of California. In this chapter, we are taking a different approach than we have been doing. As we continue learning about the fabulous story of self-determination, freedom of movement, and opportunity for free association with one of California’s most famous Stage Drivers. I am Andrea Anderson, This is a true story from America’s Largest Migration, The Gold Rush. This is Queens of the Mines.
In Vermont in 1812, Mary and Ebenezer Parkhurst, a young couple, had three children, Maria, Charlotte, and Charles. After the sudden death of one of the children, the couple abandoned the other two. They were sent to an orphanage in Lebanon, New Hampshire where they were raised under the care of an unkind man named Mr. Millshark. Men had a greater advantage over girls in the battle of life. Charlotte, the youngest of the two, became aware that women had few economic opportunities. She felt her only chance was to be a seamstress, laundress, teacher or sex worker. So, when she was 12 years old, she left Maria, her older sister at the orphanage, stole a few pieces of boys clothing and ran away to Worcester, MA. Charlotte then took on the name of her deceased brother, Charles, or, Charley.