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Title: Augusta Tabor - Her Side of the Scandal
Author: Bancroft, Caroline
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Augusta Tabor - Her Side of the Scandal" ***

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                       _HER SIDE OF THE SCANDAL_

                   By Caroline Bancroft    Price 75c

        Copyright 1955 by Caroline Bancroft. Fifth edition, 1968

_All rights in this book are reserved. It may not be used for dramatic,
 radio, television, motion or talking picture purposes without written

               Johnson Publishing Co., Boulder, Colorado


                               The Author

Caroline Bancroft is a third generation Coloradan who began writing her
first history for The Denver Post in 1928.

Her long-standing interest in western history was inherited. Her pioneer
grandfather, Dr. F. J. Bancroft, was a founder of the Colorado
Historical Society and its first president.

His granddaughter has carried on the family tradition. She is the author
of the interesting series of Bancroft Booklets, _Silver Queen: The
Fabulous Story of Baby Doe Tabor_, _Famous Aspen_, _Denver’s Lively
Past_, _Historic Central City_, _The Brown Palace in Denver_, _Tabor’s
Matchless Mine and Lusty Leadville_, _Glenwood’s Early Glamor_, _Augusta
Tabor: Her Side of the Scandal_, _The Unsinkable Mrs. Brown_, _Unique
Ghost Towns_, _Colorado’s Lost Gold Mines and Buried Treasure_, and the
basic, over-all history, _Colorful Colorado_.

A Bachelor of Arts from Smith College, she later obtained a Master of
Arts degree from the University of Denver, writing her thesis on Central
City, Colorado. Her full-sized _Gulch of Gold_ is the attractive,
definitive history of that well-known area.

She is shown standing beside the headgate at Lake Caroline on Mt.
Bancroft, a Continental Divide peak named for her grandfather. The photo
was taken by Charles Eaton in the summer of 1956.

                                                 STEPHEN L. R. McNICHOLS
                                                    Governor of Colorado


                             Augusta Tabor:
                       _Her Side of the Scandal_

“She is a blonde, I understand, and paints. But I have never seen her.”

Augusta Tabor made this remark about Baby Doe in the course of a long
interview that she gave to a reporter for the _Denver Republican_. The
account appeared on October 31, 1883, and carried several heads. One of
these read, “Mrs. Tabor No. 1 makes some spicy revelations.”

Augusta received her caller in the elegantly furnished sitting-room of
her twenty-room mansion. The house stood at the corner of Seventeenth
Avenue and Lincoln Street but faced Broadway. Its address was 97
Broadway, and was entered along a spruce-lined circular driveway. The
house and its surrounding block of land had been part of her divorce
settlement from the millionaire Silver King, Horace A. W. Tabor.

That divorce in the January preceding had been a national scandal, only
to be topped by the even greater scandal of her former husband’s
remarriage. The wedding was performed on March 1 in Washington where
Tabor had gone to serve a thirty-day term as senator. It was attended by
a number of political big-wigs, including President Chester Arthur; but
they came without their wives. The women drew a sharp line against
recognizing “that blonde,” the former Mrs. Elizabeth McCourt Doe.

The best people continued to draw that line. When the Tabors returned to
Denver after their honeymoon, no one called on the second Mrs. Tabor.
But shortly afterward Augusta came home from California where she had
taken her broken heart. Two hundred and fifty people organized a
surprise reception for her at her palatial residence.

But in the following months Augusta brooded.

“I do not consider myself divorced from Mr. Tabor,” she told the
reporter. “The whole proceedings were irregular. If it were not for my
son, Maxcy, I would commence suit tomorrow to have the divorce annulled.
I repeat, it was illegal.”

“Do you think Mr. Tabor would live with you if you were to have the
divorce set aside?” the reporter asked.

“No, I couldn’t hope for that. But it would be a great deal of
satisfaction to know that that woman was no more to him than she was
before he gave her his name and mine.”

Augusta glanced over to the center table where she had laid down her
sewing, a piece of silk patchwork. The reporter thought she looked
lonely and sad-faced. Then she sighed.

“Well, there has been scandal enough, God knows. It would make a big
volume if put in book form. It has aged me.”

A new chapter of the scandal was being enacted that week. Horace Tabor
was suing his old friend and business manager, William H. Bush, for
$25,000 because of sundry debts, including a $2,000 embezzlement as
former manager of the Tabor Grand Opera House of Denver. Bush had
retaliated with a counter-suit against Tabor, asking payment for all
sorts of flagrant services performed for the Silver King. The juicy
trial was the sensation of the week.

Augusta had been called to testify for Bush. Her testimony had been very
titillating; and she had startled the court even further by crossing
over and sitting down beside Tabor while she tried to engage him in

“Mr. Tabor has changed a great deal,” she commented to the reporter. “He
used to detest women of that kind. He would never allow me to whitewash
my face however much I desired to do so. She wants his money and will
hang to him as long as he has got a nickel. She don’t want an old man.”

The reporter ventured the suggestion that the fifty-two-year old Tabor
was not such an old man.

“Oh, yes he is! He dyes his hair and moustache. I noticed him in the
court room the other day. He was afraid to draw his handkerchief across
his mouth for fear of staining it. I also noticed that the hair on his
temples, which is gray, was colored nicely to give him a rejuvenated

Augusta and the reporter conversed for two solid columns of small,
tightly-packed print while she revealed a number of intimate matters.
The details of the secret, illegal, first divorce which Tabor had
procured from her in March, 1882, were set forth. Augusta claimed the
charges had been a lie from beginning to end and gave conclusive data in

“Mr. Tabor used to be a truthful man. He is changed now,” she remarked
indignantly. After a pause, she continued with:

“I understand that she has her family quartered at his home. I mean all
in this country. I understand that a fresh invoice is coming over from

The reporter smiled at her sally and encouraged her to talk on. She
showed him three scrapbooks that she was making of clippings about
Tabor. (These scrapbooks are now in the Western History Collection of
the Denver Public Library, and contain this particular interview along
with many others.) Augusta explained that at first she had only saved
newspaper articles that spoke well of him. But now she was saving
everything, and the later clippings were all derogatory.


  _The two buildings on the left at the corner of Harrison, looking down
  Chestnut, were Tabor’s bank and store; in 1879’s booming Leadville._]

“Is there really seventeen in that McCourt family? Well, there is one
thing that Mr. Tabor cannot say, and that is that any of my relatives
ever lived off him. Not one of them ever received a cent from him. That
woman will break him up.”

Augusta liked to talk to newspaper people. She, herself, had contributed
to Eastern newspapers and been a member of the Colorado State Press
Association. In July, 1879, she attended a meeting of the Association at
Manitou in company with Flora Stevens, a correspondent for the Kansas
City _Times_. Miss Stevens later wrote Augusta up under the heading, “A
Rich Man’s Wife,” in which she said that Augusta kept an extensive
journal during the trip to Manitou. Unfortunately this particular
example of Augusta’s authorship has not been preserved.

Augusta also liked to visit newspaper offices. In May, 1879, she brought
a visitor, “her dainty niece,” Suzie Marston, to see the various
departments of the _Rocky Mountain News_. This girl was from Augusta,
Maine, the family home-town, after which Augusta had been named. Augusta
took her niece on trips around Colorado and in 1889 chaperoned her on a
diversified tour of Europe while they traveled with the George Tritches
of Denver.

The first Mrs. Tabor’s habit of calling on writers has preserved for us
a very fine autobiography. In September of 1883 Mrs. Alice Polk Hill of
Denver, who had lived in Colorado for a decade or so, decided to compile
a book by collecting reminiscences and informal bits of history. She
spent several months traveling about the state to obtain material.
Sometime prior to the publication of her book in 1884, she arrived in
Leadville and stayed at the Clarendon Hotel. Augusta, who was visiting
her sister, Mrs. Melvina L. Clarke, in Leadville at the time, came to

Mrs. Hill was delighted and later described Augusta as a “frail,
delicate-looking woman with pleasing manners.”

More importantly, Mrs. Tabor No. 1 wrote out a detailed account of her
early marriage, much of which Mrs. Hill used in her first book, “Tales
of the Colorado Pioneers,” but which has survived intact in the _Denver

Her romance with Tabor, a Vermont stone-cutter, began in Maine in
August, 1853, when Augusta L. Pierce was twenty years old and Horace
Austin Warner Tabor was twenty-two. He came to work for her father, a
contractor. After a couple of years’ employment he fell in love with the
boss’s daughter. A two-year engagement followed while Tabor homesteaded
a 160-acre farm in Riley County, Kansas.

“On January 31, 1857, we were married in the room where we first met,”
Augusta recalled.

Farming in Kansas proved bleak, arduous and lonely for the
twenty-four-year old bride, and unprofitable for her husband. When the
news of gold in Colorado broke, the Tabors joined the rush. On April 5,
1859, they set out in an ox-drawn covered wagon with two men friends and
their sixteen-month-old baby son, Maxcy, who was teething. They also
took along several cows to provide milk. The journey to Denver took them
until June 20. They camped there for two weeks because the cattle were
footsore, and then moved to a site near Golden.

Here, the men decided to push on to Gregory Diggings, now Central City,
and they went afoot since there was no adequate road for a wagon.

“Leaving me and my sick child in the 7 by 9 tent, that my hands had
made, the men took a supply of provisions on their backs, a few
blankets, and bidding me be good to myself, left on the morning of the
glorious Fourth. My babe was suffering from fever and I was weak and
worn. My weight was only ninety pounds. How sadly I felt, none but God,
in whom I then firmly trusted, knew. Twelve miles from a human soul save
my babe. The only sound I heard was the lowing of the cattle, and they,
poor things, seemed to feel the loneliness of the situation and kept
unusually quiet. Every morning and evening I had a ‘round-up’ all to
myself,” Augusta wrote.

After three “long, weary weeks” the men returned. On the 26th of July
they again “loded” the wagon and started into the mountains. Traveling
by way of Russell Gulch, it took them three weeks to reach Payne’s Bar,
now Idaho Springs. She remarked:

“Ours was the first wagon through and I was the first white woman there,
if white I could be called, after camping out three months.”

The men cut logs, laid them up four feet and put the 7 by 9 tent on top
for a roof. Horace went prospecting and Augusta opened a business. She
baked bread and pies, gave meals and sold milk from their cows.

          [Illustration: AUGUSTA SAT WITH A PRESIDENT IN A BOX

  _The Tabor Opera House in Leadville was the home of legitimate drama
  and provided many cultural evenings for early-day bonanza barons._]

Horace found no gold, but Augusta was very successful. She made enough
money to buy their unpaid-for farm in Kansas and to keep them through
the winter in Denver. In February Horace returned to his prospect but
found his claim had been jumped. He decided to go prospecting farther
afield, on the Arkansas, and returned to Denver to make plans.

They traveled by way of Ute Pass and were a month on the road before
they reached South Park. Now she waxed lyrical.

“I shall never forget my first vision of the park. The sun was just
setting. I can only describe it by saying it was one of Colorado’s
sunsets. Those who have seen them know how glorious they are. Those who
have not cannot imagine how gorgeously beautiful they are. The park
looked like a cultivated field with rivulets coursing through, and herds
of antelope in the distance.”

After two hazardous crossings of the ice-caked and tumultuous Arkansas,
and after several weeks of unsuccessful placering when they could not
separate heavy black particles from the gold, they arrived in California
Gulch. It was May 8, 1860.

“The first thing after camping was to have the faithful old oxen
butchered that had brought us all the way from Kansas—yes, from the
Missouri River three years before. We divided the meat with the miners
in the gulch, for they were without provisions or ammunition.”

Once again Augusta was the first woman in the camp, and once again the
men built her a primitive log cabin. This one had a sod roof, no window,
and a dirt floor. She promptly went into business and Horace went
prospecting. As the Tabors were the only people in the upper end of the
gulch who owned a gold-scales, Augusta added weighing dust to her duties
of taking boarders and doing laundry. In a few weeks ten thousand men
were crowded in the gulch, and a mail and express office was needed.
Augusta was appointed postmistress of Oro City.

          [Illustration: THE PASSAGE-WAY OVER ST. LOUIS AVENUE

  _The Tabor Opera House was connected with the Clarendon Hotel for the
  ease of Tabor and Bush who had private suites in the former._]

“I was very happy that summer,” she added.

By September 20th Horace had accumulated $5,000 in gold dust from his
claim. He gave $1,000 worth of this dust to Augusta, and she prepared to
leave the mountains to spend the winter with her father and mother.

“I put my wardrobe, what there was of it, in a carpet bag, and took
passage with a mule train that was going to the Missouri River. I was
five weeks in crossing and cooked for my board.”

(Horace and Maxcy also went to Maine that winter but Augusta did not
mention this.)

“With that $1,000, I purchased 160 acres of land in Kansas, adjoining
the tract we already owned. My folks dressed me up, and in the spring I
bought a pair of mules and a wagon in St. Joe to return with, which took
about all my money.”

Horace spent the $4,000 that was left of the gold dust for flour in Iowa
on the way back. In the spring they opened a store in Augusta’s cabin.
While he mined the claim, Augusta waited on customers and raised her
son. She even transported gold to Denver on horseback for the express
office. In order to fool highway robbers, Tabor carried a small amount
of gold, while large amounts were hidden under her skirts enjoying the
protection of chivalry to ladies! That summer of 1861 the store was more
profitable than mining because the easy placer gold was nearly played

                         [Illustration: MARRIED

  _In 1878 Tabor and his first wife were respectable citizens and
  suitably wed. He kept a general store in the booming mining town of
  Leadville and she, the mayor’s wife, had boarders to increase the
  family earnings and budget._]

  [Illustration: _In those days the Tabor residence stood on Harrison
  Avenue; and can be seen toward the rear of this sketch, occupying the
  space between the Clarendon Hotel and some new stores. Augusta’s
  boarders would have looked exactly like these men. Although most of
  her boarders in 1878 were Tabor’s clerks, they spent every hour of
  their free time searching the hills for silver like everyone else.
  This was a typical prospecting outfit._]

                        [Illustration: DIVORCED

  _Tabor hardly looks like the sort of Lothario who would have been the
  idol of two remarkable women. But such he was. Both wives were
  courageous, articulate and full of initiative, besides adoring. The
  first liked to work; the second to play. The first was downright; the
  second, flattering. The first hated to show off; the second loved the
  limelight. The first was economical and the second, extravagant. But
  both were unusual women who made history. A detailed treatment of the
  second Mrs. Tabor’s life will be found in the illustrated booklet,
  “Silver Queen: The Fabulous Story of Baby Doe Tabor.” It is a
  rags-to-riches and riches-to-rags tale, full of pathos._

  _The photographs of Horace Tabor and Baby Doe, below, have never been
  published before; also the photograph of Baby Doe on the next page.
  The following sketch of Augusta, as a young woman with curls, was
  printed with a write-up of the scandal in the national Police


                       [Illustration: BITTER FOES

  _The first Mrs. Tabor, or the second, would tell her coachman to pass
  the other’s carriage if they saw each other out driving. Their enmity
  never relented the least bit during Augusta’s life._]

The camp fell off rapidly and by autumn was practically deserted. The
Tabors decided to try the other side of the Mosquito Range and the
booming camp of Buckskin Joe. Again they opened a store and again it was
selected as the post office. Horace had no better luck with mining in
South Park than in Oro and so resigned himself to their small business

But he still dreamt of bonanzas and hopefully grubstaked penniless
prospectors. The agreement was that in return for supplies, which he
gave them, they would share any rich finds. Augusta viewed the practice
with disfavor.

When the Printer Boy mine was expanded in 1868 in California Gulch, the
Tabors moved back to Oro City. This time they erected a four-room log
cabin about a mile above the present site of Leadville and settled down
to their usual routine of running a general store. For ten more years,
bringing the total to eighteen, Augusta kept at her labors and Horace
cherished his dreams.

As the years passed, Augusta’s natural New England frankness grew more
tart. She found Horace’s easy-going ways irritating. His off-hand
generosities made no sense to a woman who knew the value of a
hard-earned dollar. Or, perhaps, some psychic intuition warned Augusta
that that very same trait would bring her eventual heart-break, and she
was trying subconsciously to ward off the blow.

The blow came disguised as good fortune. In 1877 the news leaked out
that those heavy particles of black sand, which had been so difficult
for the placer miners to separate from gold, were really bits of
lead-silver carbonates. A second rush to California Gulch began. The
newcomers were silver-seekers and chose the lower part of the gulch in
which to settle. The Tabors decided to move their Oro City store a mile
farther down, and selected a site on the south side of Chestnut Street,
a door below the Harrison Avenue corner. They built a story-and-a-half
log and frame building with sleeping quarters upstairs, and dining and
kitchen arrangements to the rear.

                     [Illustration: AUGUSTA’S HOUSE

  _This little clapboard dwelling originally stood on Harrison Avenue,
  Leadville, where the Opera House is now. It was moved to its present
  place on Fifth Street in 1879. In 1955 it was opened as a small
  shop-museum. It now stands alone on the block, but for many years it
  was huddled against a clapboard false-front assay office on one side
  and small residences on the other._]

Business boomed. Tabor had to hire two clerks to take care of the post
office alone. Soon he was forced to open a banking department since he
owned an ordinary iron safe which sat outside the counter. Everyone
wanted to deposit their cash in his safe. The cashier divided his time
between the dry goods and grocery divisions, and the receipt of deposits
and writing of exchange. Tabor hired still more clerks and expanded
jovially in the balmy atmosphere of his new importance.

In January, 1878, the settlement comprised some seventy tents, shanties
and log cabins. The inhabitants decided to call a meeting, effect an
organization and choose a name. “Leadville” was selected, although a few
people thought “Cloud City” was more poetic. A short while afterward
they voted Tabor to the mayorship, and officially confirmed his
year-long office with a city election in April. Tabor was now worth
between $25,000 and $30,000.

As sleeping and eating facilities were at a premium, the Tabors decided
to build a residence for themselves, where Augusta could serve meals,
and to allow the clerks to sleep above the store. They chose a site at
310 Harrison Avenue, way off from the settlement, and began to build in
the spring. Meanwhile Tabor was handing out grubstakes and still

Then the momentous day of his Castles-in-Spain arrived. On Sunday, April
21, 1878, two German prospectors, August Rische and George Theodore
Hook, asked him for a stake while Tabor was sorting mail. Postmaster
Tabor told them to pick out what they needed, and the men chose about
$17 worth of supplies, mostly groceries. They drew up an agreement that
Tabor was entitled to a third of what they found.

A few days later they came back and asked for a second hand-out. They
had staked a claim and they needed shovels, a hand-switch, drills and
blasting powder to sink a shaft. This brought the total outlay to some

                      [Illustration: FAST FRIENDS

  _Although Bush quarreled violently with both Maxcy’s father and
  mother, no friction ever marred their affection. They were business
  partners and friends for twenty years despite sixteen years’
  difference in their age and outlook._]

Early in May, Augusta was coming downstairs one morning when August
Rische burst into the store. As she told the story to Flora Stevens, his
hands were full of specimens. He rushed toward her and shouted:

“We’ve struck it! We’ve struck it!”

Augusta said she was rather frigid to him.

“Rische, when you bring me money instead of rocks, then I’ll believe

But it was true. Their mine, the Little Pittsburgh, netted Tabor
$500,000 in the following fifteen months. He bought the Chrysolite which
proved to be another bonanza. Augusta continued to keep boarders during
the summer and Tabor, to supervise the store’s activities. But then
Tabor began to splurge, and in the autumn they sold out. The fall
election had made Tabor lieutenant-governor of Colorado, so they planned
to move to Denver.

In January, 1879, Tabor rented, and the next month purchased, the Henry
C. Brown house at 17th and Broadway, paying $40,000. According to
Augusta, when her husband took her to see it, she was very mindful of
the quick rises and equally rapid descents of Colorado fortunes. Augusta
took one look at her husband’s idea of a new home and said:

“I will never go up these steps, Tabor, if you think I will ever have to
go down them.”

Thirty-five curious callers appeared the first day she was at home. She
remarked sarcastically:

“I would scarcely know how to return the call of the woman next door who
arrived in a carriage.”

Tabor provided the means for returning the call. It was a $2,000
carriage, an exact replica of the one driven by the White House coachman
around Washington.

“La,” she told Flora Stevens, “If we had only had the money that is in
that carriage when we began life.”

Delegations from the various churches also came to call, each seeking
the Tabors’ membership. Augusta remarked:

         [Illustration: TABOR PROPERTY DOMINATED DENVER IN 1881

  _The Tabor Grand rose like a cathedral beyond the spired church. At
  far right is Augusta’s house. The light building behind the present
  Navarre Restaurant is the Windsor Hotel. The tall business building in
  the middle was the Tabor block. The Brown was a triangular cow
  pasture. In front of it was Augusta’s coach house that faced
  Seventeenth Avenue._]

“I suppose Mr. Tabor’s and my souls are of more value than they were a
year ago.”

Poor Augusta! Time was running out. Tabor’s answer to her tartness was
to spend his evenings in the variety halls and bordellos. As his
interests and investments widened, he took the most seductive inmates
traveling with him. The newspapers reported that Tabor had given
clothes, jewelry, furs and furbelows to three or four women (one paper
said five) so that they could appear as “Mrs. Tabor.” One that he
singled out was Alice Morgan, an Indian club swinger at the Grand
Central variety hall in Leadville. Next he was charmed by Willie Deville
in Lizzie Allen’s parlor house in Chicago, and he brought Willie west
with him. Augusta discovered the affair and the miscreants promised to

But this was a ruse. Tabor kept on seeing her secretly and took Willie
on a trip to New York. There, she was so indiscreet about their
relations that a woman in the hotel tried to blackmail the Silver King.
Tabor told Willie she talked too much and made her a gift of $5,000 to
soften the blow of saying “good-bye.” (Augusta preserved an interview,
with many more details than these, that Willie gave to a St. Louis
reporter a couple of years after the affair. Apparently, Willie was
still talking too much.)

In September, 1879, Tabor sold out his interest in the Little Pittsburgh
for a cool million dollars. He bought the Matchless for $117,000 (which
later proved the greatest bonanza of all) and over 800 shares of stock
of the First National Bank in Denver. Then he and Augusta went East for
six weeks while he made further investments, notably land in South

                      [Illustration: TWENTY ROOMS

  _Henry C. Brown, the builder of the Brown Palace Hotel and donor of
  the State Capitol ground, sold this house to Horace Tabor in 1879.
  Augusta’s first act, when she obtained it as part of her divorce
  settlement, was to have the grounds landscaped. Each summer thereafter
  she entertained at a lawn party to aid charities of the Unity Church._]

On November 5 the Tabors returned to Denver and Horace left for
Leadville to see to the completion and opening of the Tabor Opera House.
Augusta remained in Denver. Tabor did not return even for Christmas. His
bachelor suite on the second floor of the Opera House (with its handy
passageway across to Bill Bush’s Clarendon Hotel) proved too delightful
for a man whose eyes wandered.

Augusta and he began to quarrel more violently. During 1880 they
appeared together at balls of the Tabor Hose Co. in Denver and of the
Tabor Light Cavalry in Leadville, and when Tabor entertained
ex-President and Mrs. Grant in the “Cloud City.” The two couples sat
together in the left-hand box for the second act of “Ours,” and then
left to attend a ball in the general’s honor. This was July 23, 1880, a
momentous date for forty-seven-year old Augusta—not because she had met
a president, but because just about that time Horace ceased to be her

In the autumn, back in Denver, Horace gave her $100,000, following his
usual practice of making a parting gift. In January, 1881, Tabor left
the Broadway mansion irrevocably and established residence in a suite at
the Windsor Hotel of which he was part-owner.

What had happened was that, some time during the spring or summer on one
of his frequent trips to Leadville, Tabor had met “Baby” Doe. She was
twenty-five and he was forty-nine. They were introduced by Bill Bush who
had known the Dresden-doll beauty as Mrs. Harvey Doe during her
two-and-a-half year residence in Central City. Bill Bush had been
proprietor of the Teller House and had also known her husband and
in-laws. She had obtained a divorce from Harvey Doe in March, 1880, for
adultery and non-support, and shortly after arrived in Leadville.

Baby Doe said that it was “love at first sight” on her part. With Tabor,
the feeling grew on him. She became his mistress almost immediately, but
it was not until January, 1881, that he began to think of divorce and
re-marriage. Augusta put her foot down. She refused successive overtures
of a handsome settlement in return for a divorce.

Augusta knew what was going on. In December, 1880, she bought a third
interest in the Windsor Hotel from Charles L. Hall of Leadville. The
other third was owned by Bill Bush, who also managed the hotel, assisted
by her son, Maxcy. In the next months Augusta used her ownership to
check up regularly on activities at the hotel. When Tabor brought Baby
Doe down from Leadville and installed her at the Windsor, the two women
must have passed in the lobby frequently.


  _When Augusta disposed of her last remaining lot at Seventeenth and
  Broadway, her trees were sold and transplanted to Wolhurst,

Augusta realized a fine monthly profit from her Windsor investment, and
in April, 1881, she treated herself to a trip abroad for several months.
Both Tabor and Bush wanted to buy out her share. Tabor did not like her
making “such a damned nuisance of herself” going in and out of the
rooms, and Bush wanted to obtain a controlling interest in the hotel.
Augusta kept on saying, “No.” No divorce and no hotel sale.

When Augusta returned from Europe, she found her husband had risen to
new heights. He was being considered for a senatorship and he had
finished building the Tabor Grand Opera House in Denver. The citizens
were tendering a ceremony and watch fob to him on the opening night.

Augusta wrote him a letter apologizing for what she “had said in the
heat of passion.” She also asked to be allowed to come to the opening
night of the Tabor Grand and to go with him to Washington as a senator’s
wife. This letter turned up among Baby Doe’s papers at her death. No one
knows how, or if, it was answered. But the Tabor box was empty on
September 5, 1881, the gala occasion Augusta wanted to attend.

In April, 1882, Augusta instituted a suit for payment of $50,000 a year
alimony despite the fact that she was not divorced. She listed Tabor’s
holdings and their specific worth, an impressive tabulation, which
brought the total to $9,410,000. The suit caused a lot of scandal,
damaged Tabor politically, but accomplished nothing for Augusta since it
was thrown out of court as illegal.

Augusta gave in on the hotel-sale petition first. She sold her interest
in the Windsor to Bush for close to $40,000 in May, 1882. Finally, on
January 2, 1883, she gave Tabor a divorce in exchange for property worth
about $300,000. She caused a sensation at the divorce trial by

“Not willingly, Oh God, not willingly!”

It was this public statement of hers to the judge which made her feel
that the divorce was not valid.

Amos Steck, Augusta’s lawyer, summed up the whole five years of public
quarreling and scandal when he talked about her to a reporter:

“Oh, she knows all about his practises with lewd women. I never saw such
a woman. She is crazy about Tabor. She loves him and that settles it.”

For years Augusta hoped that Baby Doe would tire of Horace and,
crestfallen, he would come back to his first wife. She thought that when
the money was gone, the young hussy would flit. She told reporters she
was building up her own fortune and hanging on to her large house in
order that she might take care of Tabor in his old age.

But Augusta was wrong. She had underestimated her rival. When the Silver
Panic of 1893 reduced the former millionaire to poverty, his pretty
blonde wife stuck like glue.

Belatedly Augusta realized the true character of Baby Doe. In 1892 the
first Mrs. Tabor sold her house on Broadway and moved across the street
to the newly-opened Brown Palace Hotel. Although Maxcy and Bill Bush
were the managers and lived there also, Augusta did not enjoy hotel
life. Her health was starting to fail and she went to California for the
winter, seeking a milder climate. There in Pasadena, on February 1,
1895, at the age of sixty-two she died, her social position still
secure, if not showy, and her fortune built to a million and a half

She said in her own words when Tabor was at his richest:

“I feel that in those early years of self-sacrifice, hard labor, and
economy, I laid the foundation for Mr. Tabor’s immense wealth. Had I not
stayed with him and worked by his side, he would have been discouraged,
returned to the stone-cutting trade and so lost his big opportunity.”

All Colorado agreed with her at the time—and then the mills of the Gods
ground slowly and exceedingly fine. Tabor’s immense wealth evaporated.

But its going did not bring Horace back to her; he clung to Baby Doe
until the end, four years after Augusta’s death. Never once was there
the slightest rumor of any infidelity of his to her after 1881 and none
of Baby Doe to him after their first meeting. It must have been galling
to Augusta.

Maxcy Tabor inherited the money his mother had husbanded with such
business acumen. He brought her body back from California and she was
buried in Riverside cemetery. With the passage of the years Maxcy was
laid to rest in Fairmount beside his wife; and Horace Tabor, in Mt.
Olivet beside Baby Doe. Augusta lies alone in an old-fashioned cemetery,
as alone as she lived her last fifteen years, terribly alone.

For many years of her middle life Augusta was called “Leadville’s First
Lady.” The nickname was spoken in affection and in admiration, and she
was interviewed for the Leadville papers under that heading. Yes, she
was a first lady in many ways, courageous and industrious and civic. The
tragedy of her life lay in the fact that, although she was beloved of
many, she lost the key to the only heart she wanted.


        (Reprinted from earlier editions for the fifth in 1968)

  For Research Aid:
    First, as always, to the patient staff of the Western History
          Department of the Denver Public Library—Ina T. Aulls, Alys
          Freeze, Opal Harber and Katherine Hawkins—who find the answers
          to many puzzlers. Secondly, Agnes Wright Spring, Colorado
          historian, always generous; and helpful others at the State
          Museum—Dolores Renze, Frances Shea, Dorothy Stewart and
          Kenneth Watson. Next, Lorena Jones and Allen Young of _The
          Denver Post_ library, unfailingly obliging. My gratitude to
  For Photographs and Sketches:
    The Western History Department of the Denver Public Library has
          supplied the great majority of the illustrations used. The
          Colorado Historical Society contributed two photographs; the
          Oshkosh Public Museum, one; Mrs. Belle Taylor, two; the Mile
          High Center, one; and one gift of Fred Mazzulla was graciously
          rehabilitated by Phil Slattery and Bill Brown of _The Denver
  For Proofreading:
    Mrs. J. Alvin Fitzell continues to donate her time and aptitude for
          catching typographical errors in each successive booklet.

                          _By the Same Author_

  Gulch of Gold: Her affection for and pride in Gregory Gulch shows in
  every line of this book.... The old photographs and maps are
                               Marshall Sprague in the _New York Times_.

  Colorful Colorado: Its Dramatic History: “... a remarkable feat of
  condensation ... ought to be a copy in your car’s glove locker.”
                             Robert Perkin in the _Rocky Mountain News_.

  Unique Ghost Towns: “This new Bancroft Booklet is the best yet.”
                                   Stanton Peckham in _The Denver Post_.

  The Unsinkable Mrs. Brown: “Caroline Bancroft’s booklets are brighter,
  better-illustrated and cheaper than formal histories of Colorado....
  The Unsinkable Mrs. Brown was a delightful person, and I wish I had
  known her.”
                    John J. Lipsey in the _Colorado Springs Free Press_.

  The Brown Palace in Denver: “Miss Bancroft has a sure touch and this
  new title adds another wide-selling item to her list.”
                                                 Don Bloch in _Roundup_.

  Denver’s Lively Past: “With zest and frankness the author emphasizes
  the dramatic, lusty, bizarre and spicy happenings.”
                               Agnes Wright Spring in _The Denver Post_.

  Historic Central City: “We could do with more such stories of
  Colorado’s fabled past.”
                                     Marian Castle in _The Denver Post_.

  Famous Aspen: “It’s all here.... Aspenites should be grateful.”
                                        Luke Short in _The Aspen Times_.

  Silver Queen: The Fabulous Story of Baby Doe Tabor: “Attractive,
  sprightly, well-printed book ... which is more informative and
  genuinely human than preceding works giving the Tabor story.”
                                 Fred A. Rosenstock in _The Brand Book_.

  Tabor’s Matchless Mine and Lusty Leadville: “Seventh in her series of
  Bancroft Booklets retelling segments of Colorado’s history. They are
  popularly written, color-packed little pamphlets, and it’s a pleasure
  to commend them to native and tourist alike.”
                             Robert Perkin in the _Rocky Mountain News_.

  Six Racy Madams of Colorado: “This delightful booklet is written both
  with good humor and good taste.”
                                                  _Rocky Mountain News._

  Colorado’s Lost Gold Mines and Buried Treasure: “The casual reader ...
  will find his own treasure buried in this little booklet.”
                        Claude Powe in _The Central City Tommy-Knawker_.

                     (_See back cover for prices_)

                             GULCH OF GOLD

A fictionized history, reading like a novel but of the soundest
research, picturing the stories of colorful characters who started the
state, with over 100 photos and maps. Hard cover book. $6.25


The whole magnificent sweep of the state’s history in a sprightly
condensation, with 111 photos (31 in color). Paper, $2.00.


Forty-two of Colorado’s romance-packed high-country towns have their
stories, told with old and new photos, history and maps. $2.00.

                       THE UNSINKABLE MRS. BROWN

The rollicking story of an ignorant Leadville waitress who reached the
top of Newport society as a _Titanic_ heroine. Illustrated. $1.25.


Her love affair caused a sensational triangle and a national scandal in
the ’Eighties. Illustrated. $1.50.


Colorado’s most publicized mine was just one facet of the extraordinary
history of the lusty camp where it operated. Illustrated. 75c.

                              FAMOUS ASPEN

Today the silver-studded slopes of an early day bonanza town have turned
into a scenic summer and ski resort. Illustrated. $1.50.

                         HISTORIC CENTRAL CITY

Colorado’s first big gold camp lived to become a Summer Opera and Play
Festival town. Illustrated. 85c.

                          DENVER’S LIVELY PAST

A wild frontier town, built on a jumped claim and promoting a red-light
district, became a popular tourist spot. Illustrated. $1.00.

                       THE BROWN PALACE IN DENVER

No hotel had more turn-of-the-century glamor, nor has seen such plush
love-affairs, murders and bizarre doings. Illustrated. 75c.


Thirty fabulous tales, which will inspire the reader to go searching
with a spade, enliven the state’s past. Illustrated. $1.25.

                      SIX RACY MADAMS OF COLORADO

Biographies of six “ladies of pleasure” (whose parlor houses were
scarlet ornaments to the state) make amusing reading. Illust. $1.50.

   (_Add 20 cents for mailing one copy; 30 cents for more than one_)

  Available Summer, 1968:
  Two Burros of Fairplay, Morsels of History for Young and Old $1.00
  Trail Ridge Country, Romance of Estes Park and Grand Lake $2.00

                       JOHNSON PUBLISHING COMPANY
                   839 Pearl, Boulder, Colorado 80302

                         _Transcriber’s Notes_

--Copyright notice provided as in the original—this e-text is public
  domain in the country of publication.

--Silently corrected palpable typos; left non-standard spellings and
  dialect unchanged.

--In the text versions, delimited italicized text by _underscores_.

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