RSS

Tag Archives: Leadville

Happy Birthday, Baby Doe Tabor … or is it??

Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen

When I began my research on Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt Doe Tabor, aka Baby Doe Tabor, I soon discovered that searching for her birthdate might be problematic. The first date I saw tossed around was October 7, 1854. It was hard to pin down, and often overlooked or unmentioned in accounts of her family and childhood. It turns out that was the date of Elizabeth’s, or Lizzie’s as she was known to her family, christening. The search was on for something more concrete for her birthdate. I was happy and relieved when I found Elizabeth Tabor’s death certificate in the archives. There it was, her birthdate filled in by her younger brother, Willard McCourt. Of course, he would know his sister’s birthday. Or would he? It was listed as May 15, 1854.

1900 Denver Census

When dates and data do not agree, it is called negative evidence. I was dismayed to discover Elizabeth was listed as born in September on the 1900 census, which contains a column for birth month. Was this a fluke? The September reference appeared again in Judith Nolte Temple’s biography, Baby Doe Tabor: The Madwoman in the Cabin, page 157. Elizabeth wrote a diary entry that said the following: “Sept. 25, 1914 – My birthday I am all alone in the world now alone my birthday where is my poor unfortunate Silver and how is my Lily and her babies I am alone here in Leadville” This appears to be her perceived birthdate at the time. Her headstone on her grave mentions only the year, 1854.

Her age is a whole conundrum on its own. As a coy Victorian lady, she often altered her age in her favor on public records. However, the 1854 date appears in enough places to make it the accepted year of her birth. Her death date was about February 20, 1935. She collapsed and died in her cabin by the headframe of the Matchless Mine. Her frozen body was found some time later, thus an inconclusive death date as well. As a biographer of Elizabeth Tabor, I feel comfortable celebrating the birth of this interesting, courageous and colorful Colorado pioneer woman on September 25. Happy Birthday, Lizzie. Here’s to you on your birthday!

Joyce at Matchless Mine 6 13

You can learn more about the fabulous lives of the Silver King and Silver Queen of Leadville in my award-winning book, Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, from Filter Press. Go to: http://www.FilterPressBooks.com, http://www.Amazon.com, http://www.LohseWorks.com, or ask for it from your favorite local book vendor.

Joyce B. Lohse

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Western history

 

Tags: , ,

Next stop: Leadville

Baby Doe Cover

As a historic biographer, my focus is writing about pioneer characters, which often takes me to places with a colorful past. When I researched and wrote my award-winning biography, Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, my search for truth and information about The Tabors and their Matchless Mine took me to the nooks and crannies of Leadville’s mining district. Interestingly, the fun did not end once the book was published by Filter Press in 2011.

This June, I was invited by Bob Hartzell, former director of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville, to present the story of Elizabeth Tabor during a special event. After several emails and phone calls, plans were in place. Museum members were invited to a banquet to honor Mrs. Tabor followed by my PowerPoint presentation about the Tabors’ life in the boom town and my research findings. Guests were invited to wear period clothing, which motivated participants, including myself, to show off Victorian finery. A signed copy of my book was included at each place setting.

After the banquet, the group of twenty people drove cars to the shack at the Matchless Mine where Mrs. Tabor lived her final years. We shared more stories in the dimly lit cabin. Although we witnessed no supernatural occurrences, we felt strongly that Mrs. Tabor’s spirit was present.

The next morning, we met again at the Matchless Mine for a tour of the site. Our guide was retired geologist Fred Mark, a remarkable researcher who combined a passion for history with his professional knowledge and expertise in geology and mining. After hiking over some rough terrain to study the property, we returned to the restored headframe where I signed more books.

My weekend in Leadville, sharing stories with knowledgeable history buffs, was easily one of my most fun and fascinating experiences as a writer. Leadville is still working its magic, and I look forward to more adventures there.

For those who visit Leadville, 100 miles west of Denver, there are many historic attractions. Stop by the visitors’ center on Harrison Avenue to pick up brochures and maps, for current access, hours, and road conditions. They can provide directions for a walking tour in town as well.

HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS IN LEADVILLE:

  1. National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum – 120 W. 9th St., open year round
  2. Matchless Silver Mine and Baby Doe Tabor’s Cabin – 1 ¾ miles east on 7th St., open May-September
  3. Mineral Belt and Road of the Silver Kings – in California Gulch, site of Oro City’s ghost town and Tabor’s General Store, follow Monroe Street from Leadville
  4. Tabor Home Museum, home of Horace Tabor and his first wife, Augusta – 116 E. 5th St.
  5. Annunciation Church, where Elizabeth Tabor worshipped, at Poplar and East 7th St.
  6. Tabor Opera House, 308 Harrison Ave., open May-Oct, closed Sundays.
  7. Delaware Hotel – 700 Harrison Ave., built in 1886, offers various walking tours.
  8. Silver Dollar Saloon – 315 Harrison Ave. – built in 1879.
  9. Baby Doe Room in the Lake County Public Library, for quiet reading and
    research among period antiques.
  10. Heritage Museum – 102 E. 9th St., – open May-Oct.
  11. Healy House & Dexter Cabin – 912 Harrison Ave., open May-Oct daily.
  12. Boom Days Festival – historic celebrations and parade – 1st weekend in August

Joyce B. Lohse is administrator for Women Writing the West. When she is not writing historical biographies, she enjoys lurking around in cemeteries and archives looking for stories.

Joyce B. Lohse – Centennial, Colorado
http://www.LohseWorks.com

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Baby Doe is on a Roll!

This week, Women Writing the West announced winners and finalists of the 2012 WILLA Literary awards. Lo and behold, Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen is a finalist in the Scholarly Nonfiction category, its second award this year after winning Best Biography from CIPA. What an honor! WILLA awards will be presented October 19-21 in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Annual WWW Conference. Baby Doe, who loved jewels, now has gold and silver emblems for her book cover!

Best wishes, Joyce
http://www.LohseWorks.com

Silver WILLA

Women Writing the West
2012 WILLA Winners and Finalists:

CONTEMPORARY FICTION
Winner: *Wrecker: A Novel* by Summer Wood
Finalist: * Fracture* by Susan Cummins Miller
Finalist: *Seance in Sepia* by Michelle Black

CREATIVE NONFICTION
Winner: *Rightful Place* by Amy Hale Auker
Finalist: * Light on the Devils: Coming of Age on the Klamath* by
Louise Wagenknecht
Finalist: * Bull Canyon: A Boat Builder, A Writer, and Other
Wildlife*by Lin Pardey

SCHOLARLY NONFICTION
Winner: *Recollecting: Lives of Aboriginal Women of the Canadian
Northwest and Borderlands*, edited by Sarah Carter and Patricia McCormack
Finalist: *Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen* by Joyce B. Lohse

HISTORICAL FICTION
Winner: *The Bride’s House* by Sandra Dallas
Finalist: *Mercury’s Rise* by Ann Parker
Finalist: *A Race to Splendor* by Ciji Ware

POETRY
Winner: *Married Into It* by Patricia Frolander
Finalist: *The Singing Bowl* by Joan Logghe
Finalist: *Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet* by Linda M. Hasselstrom and
Twyla M. Hansen

ORIGINAL SOFTCOVER* *FICTION
* *Winner: *The American Cafe *by Sara Sue Hoklotubbe
Finalist: *Captive Trail* by Susan Page Davis
Finalist: *Unbridled* by Tammy Hinton

CHILDREN’S/YOUNG ADULT FICTION AND NONFICTION
Winner: *The Year We Were Famous* by Carole Estby Dagg
Finalist: *Forgiven* by Janet Fox
Finalist: *A Book for Black-Eyed Susan* by Judy Young

###

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Western history, Writing Life

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Colorado History Presentation

A History Presentation by Author Joyce B. Lohse:
“Mining for the Real Baby Doe Tabor”

at Historic Tattered Cover LoDo Bookstore
1628 16th St. at Wynkoop in Denver
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

Baby Doe Cover

A legendary pioneer woman, Baby Doe Tabor, provided us with one of the greatest rags-to-riches-to-rags stories in America’s western history. Award-winning biographer Joyce B. Lohse has written her biography set in Colorado’s days of boom and bust. The story appeals to a general audience and history buffs who appreciate the history of the West’s mining past. Her PowerPoint presentation includes historic photos, research stories, and Lizzie’s Cookies!

Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, ISBN 978-0-86541-107-4, list price $9.95, is now available through your favorite bookseller, or from the publisher, www.FilterPressBooks.com . It is distributed for resale and libraries through BooksWest and Baker and Taylor.

See you there! — Joyce Lohse
http://www.LohseWorks.com

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain

Baby Doe Cover

Waiting for a book in production conjures up a combination of excitement and drama. After concentrating and struggling with many edits, it is hard watch the little bird fly from the nest as it wings its way off to the print shop. As the author, it is hard to let it go after a couple of years of concentrated effort, and it seems too soon to watch it fly away, out of reach and beyond further guidance and tender nurturing. It is, however, time to take a few breaths, ponder what is at hand, and switch gears and concentration to marketing mode. Fly little bird, fly.

For me, the transition was helped along when I was presented with a tough question by a fellow member of Women Writing the West. I am grateful to author Carolyn Niethammer in Arizona for her insightful and thought-provoking question, which made me collect my thoughts and express what I had accomplished and produced. I will share the exchange with you here.

Carolyn Niethammer wrote:
>
> Joyce, I’m curious about your new book.  Several other books have been written about Baby Doe.  What led you to do another one? What new information or new take on her do you have?  Any book of this type is an enormous undertaking and I’m sure you have good reasons to think you could do better — and I’m so curious what they were.

Hello Carolyn —

My take on Baby Doe and other characters is to go beyond myths and legends to reveal the truth and the “voice” of my characters. They are succinct reads that appeal to history buffs of all ages and tourists looking for a solidly researched historical perspective.

To find Elizabeth Tabor’s voice, I went places never before revealed. Visualize personal notes written among recipes in a favorite cookbook. I found those, along with home remedies. It was much like snooping through her cupboards and medicine cabinet. Good stuff!

If you are familiar with the work of Caroline Bancroft, my niche is a modern version of her format, except my nonfiction work is reality based. My combination of journalism and genealogy background for biography is somewhat unique. I seek primary sources for facts and I do not make up dialogue. This is the real deal, skillfully edited and crafted by Filter Press.

Good questions — thanks for asking — Joyce

P.S. Denverites: Come see me next Sunday, April 17, at the Englewood Public Library Author Showcase. With luck, Baby Doe will be with me!

I just heard that several copies are in the mail and will be in my hands for Sunday’s event. Then the fun begins!

Joyce Lohse, 4/13/11
LohseWorks.com

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Western history, Writing Life

 

Tags: , , ,

Real Boom Town Treasures

mine ruins

mine ruins

Publication date of my latest book, Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, is fast approaching. As we struggle through final edits in an attempt to provide the most interesting and correct factual information possible, I am enjoying revisiting Colorado’s mining history as I have throughout the process. Just as I learned about railroads and their impact on our country’s western expansion during my work on General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer, I have experienced a similar learning curve about mining for Baby Doe Tabor’s story.

Research has taken me to Leadville, Colorado several times. I enjoy immersing myself in its rich history and breathtaking  landscape (literally, at an altitude of 10,200 feet,) while searching for my own nuggets of information and stories to preserve and share in biographies. My most recent trip took me to California Gulch, a stretch about three miles from Leadville, which was the site of the area’s earliest frantic mining activity.

Oro Ruin

Oro City Ruin

Nothing much is left of Oro City in California Gulch, where Horace Tabor first arrived in 1860. The Mineral Belt Trail through the mining camp reveals only a handful of partial building remains and mine ruins as a reminder of the frantic, fleeting days when Oro was a boom town. Nearby in Leadville, rich history has been preserved and restored at every turn, to be enjoyed, shared and absorbed by those who visit. After all, the stories of the lives of their pioneers are the real boom town treasures which have endured to the present.

Save the date:
Boom Days in Leadville, August 5-7, 2011

Joyce B. Lohse, 3/25/11
LohseWorks.com

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Western history

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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
http://www.lohseworks.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 5, 2010 in Western history

 

Tags: , , , , ,