The story of Horace and 'Baby Doe' Tabor
Horace Tabor was not a miner. Instead he ran a general store in Leadville after arriving from Maine. Horace was married to a woman he met and returned for in Maine named Augusta (strangely from Augusta, Maine).
Augusta was reputed to be a great housekeeper and shopkeeper. She was just not all that pretty, at least not by 1880 (by then she was 47).
Not being a miner Horace could not strike it rich by mining. But he was fond of taking a stake in mining in exchange for goods from his store. He hit paydirt with one of his 'grubstakes' in 1878 when some German-immigrant miners gave him 1/3 of their claim and he proceeded to continue to invest until he was alledgedly the wealthiest man in Colorado!
So Who is Baby Doe?
Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt Doe Tabor was born in Wisconsin in 1854 to Peter Mcourt and Ellizabeth Nellis. She was vivacious, married Harvey Doe, and moved to Colorado! A beautiful woman with spunk when her husband failed to get to work Lizzie donned miner's clothes and worked in her father-in-law's mine around Central City, CO. The miner's alledgedly nicknamed her 'Baby Doe.'
Whether 'Baby' Doe divorced and moved to Leadville, or whether Horace met her before her divorce they connected. Baby Doe was approx. 25 years Horace's junior. In 1883 when they married, she was almost age 29, and Horace was nearly 53.
While we would assume she might have married for money and fame since Horace became Mayor of Leadville and then Governor of Colorado, indeed they were loyal to each other. How so....
Though quite wealthy for a few years the price of silver dropped in the 1890s and poor Horace lost nearly everything. In his later life he was reportedly working as a Postmaster in Leadville.
After his death, Baby Doe was left with little but the Matchless Mine. In a cabin at the entrance to the Matchless she spent her last years and was found frozen to death there! Loyal to Horace and loyal to the thought that the Matchless might someday produce more.
thanks to the Univ. of Colorado, www.babydoe.org, and www.leadville.com as well as the History Channel for filling in pieces of this story
Visit the Matchless mine and Downtown Leadville
Fondest memory: learning the history of Horace, Augusta, and Baby Doe Tabor
Images courtesy of www.leadville.com