Monthly Archives: June 2010

Closure and Reflection

Baby Doe Funeral Scene

Finalizing a book manuscript to hand over to the publisher is a strange and wonderful time. I could continue editing indefinitely, but the time has come to finalize it. The danger with over-editing is that the life and character might be sucked out of the text, rendering it ordinary. Thus, I bid farewell to Baby Doe Tabor while she is still lively and colorful so her story can move on to the next step. I have enjoyed the ride, and gained a much broader perspective of her character and her times. The biggest lesson I learned from this one is to not be judgmental. As wisdom sets in, I find that message repeated over and over again. There was certainly more going on with Lizzie Tabor than meets the eye. With that thought in mind, I have closure with gratitude to Baby Doe for her story of fortitude and persistence.

Right now, I am also thinking about a friend of mine. Pat Werner, a member of Women Writing the West, was a mighty fine writer and researcher. She passed away much too soon. Pat was cool. We were sisters-in-arms in the fight against cancer, but we much preferred sharing historical research. She called me from the hospital bubbling with finishing touches on her book. A week later, she was gone. The memory of sharing writing adventures and friendship with her still inspires me in my quest for excellence in writing. Her final book was just published by our mutual publisher, Filter Press. If she was still with us, we would all celebrate the victories and defeats, and the fabulous stories of Colorado history we were able to share and enjoy.

Watch for my book, Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, which should reach publication sometime this year. In the meantime, Pat Werner’s book, The Walls Talk: Historic House Museums of Colorado, is a fabulous piece of work to help direct those seeking history destinations in Colorado this summer, or anytime. For more information, go to: .

Joyce B. Lohse, 6/16/10

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Posted by on June 17, 2010 in Western history, Writing Life


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Historic Shadows and Footsteps

Busy times and family fun have arrived with the onset of summer. As I push hard to finalize my latest biography, I cannot resist the lure of a mountain road on a sunny day in the name of history research.

Silver Kings

Once again, my intrepid research pal Christie accompanied me on a field trip to the mining town of Leadville. With Christie driving her 4×4, we explored the routes of the Silver Kings through the Oro City mining district and California Gulch. Ruins cast shadows where prospectors once clamored through rocks in the 1800s in search of riches in the form of gold, then silver. Five taverns once lined up one next to the other along the narrow clearing. In an atmosphere of industry, noise, pollution, and debauchery, Horace and Augusta Tabor arrived to open a general store in 1860. They provided needed supplies for all who came in search of their fortunes. When prospectors could not pay, Horace was willing to “grubstake” them. They agreed to share their fortunes with him when they struck it rich.

Oro Ruin

Thus began the fabulous tale of Horace Tabor and the Matchless Mine which made him a Silver King. This was only the beginning of the story. After Horace Tabor became a silver king, he met a beautiful young divorced woman named Elizabeth Doe, fondly known as “Baby”. With his marriage to Augusta strained and crumbling, he sought a divorce. He wished to build a new life with Baby Doe, a woman who appreciated the finer things in life, including him.

Eventually, Horace and Baby Doe married and moved to a large home in Denver. However, it was in Leadville where the magic began when they met, and Tabor made millions from his Matchless Mine. Leadville has preserved the Tabor legacy as part of its local history. As you walk the streets of Leadville, you can absorb its culture as you walk in the shadows and footsteps of silver kings and their queens.

My next book, Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, is due for publication by Filter Press later this year. It is an amazing story of a couple who found love and riches, then lost a fortune during an economic downturn. Baby Doe’s reaction to the situation was unexpected, unusual, and legendary. Progress reports will be forthcoming as the book nears publication.

Joyce B. Lohse, 6/5/10

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Posted by on June 5, 2010 in Western history


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