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The Legend of Baby Doe
Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt was born in 1854 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Her parents were Irish immigrants and brought fourteen children into the
world, though several children died in birth. Elizabeth was their fourth
daughter. Her father, Peter McCourt, was a tailor.
During years following the Civil War, there was a building boom and a
great demand for lumber. McCourt had purchased lots all over town for
people to build cottages upon. However, the Peshtigo fire of October, 1871,
burned over 1,280,000 acres and left more than 1,000 people dead. This
ended the lumber boom and mcCourt went into debt to the bank.
Elizabeth loved attention from men when she was a teenager and she
liked to be talked about, even if the talk didn\'t compliment her. Her sisters
were jealous of her most of the time. Even their parents lavished affection on
her. To put it plainly, Elizabeth was spoiled. She always went her own way
and damned anyone who tried to stop her.
After winning an ice skating contest with an incredibly revealing
costume, a man named Harvey Doe began courting her. Soon after, they
decided to be married.
There were disapproving glances at the wedding from both mothers.
The wedding was on June 27, 1877. After honeymooning in Denver,
Colorado for two weeks, they went down to Central City where they met his
father, who was at the time inspecting his gold fields. Harvey Doe, Sr.
decided to let Harvey work one of his quartz mines in return for a large share
of the profits. He agreed immediately after his father added that if he made
out good, he would be deeded the mine.
The Fourth of July mine was out near Dogtown on Quartz Hill. Mr.
Doe was in no hurry to begin mining, but with the pressures from Elizabeth,
they both soon went to work, side by side.
After spending all of the money his father had left and all that he had
borrowed from banks, work on the mine subsided.
Harvey was forced to become a day-laborer at the Bobtail Tunnel. He
lost that job, but soon got another and sold the Fourth of July mine to more
energetic developers. Baby Doe, as the miners who worked for her had
nicknamed her, did not like the idea of being a day-laborers wife and did not
mind telling her husband that she wouldn\'t stand for it very long.
Harvey left Baby for long periods of time, and in November 1878,
while Harvey was still absent, Baby Doe learned that she was pregnant.
Harvey was found by his father and brought back to Baby. He got another
job working nights at a mine. On July 13, 1819, Baby Doe\'s baby boy was
After the death of his son, Harvey was a greatly absent husband. Though
hesitant, Baby Doe finally decided to divorce him. She then moved to
Here, Baby met Horace A. W. Tabor who was, at that time, worth eight
million dollars. With his first wife, Agusta Pierce, he had struck his first
fortune in a silver mine. He was able to make much more money with
buying and selling of mines and investments. Therefore, Agusta left him, but
did not divorce him, when he started living lavishly and spending his fortune
Then Mr. Tabor met Baby Doe. She agreed to move into a suite at the
Clarendon. Baby Doe became his mistress almost overnight. She thought
this promising because, after all, a mistress could become a wife.
In the time that followed, Horace enjoyed the comfort of Baby, especially
when the miners that worked for him went on strike and demanded more
money and more working hours. When it was all over, the miners were
forced to go back to work at the usual $3.00 a day with 12 hour days.
A short time afterwards, Ex-President Ulysses S. Grant came to visit
Leadville. Tabor was quick to take control of the festivities that were in
honor of the Ex-President and the first to volunteer to show him around the
City. It was said that Grant got tired of listening to Tabor talk one night and
fled to his own hotel across the street from were they were.
Horace Tabor then decided that there was nothing left for him to do in
Leadville. He and Baby moved to Denver, still keeping their affair secret by
traveling different routes.
It was around this time that Baby Doe realized that Horace had come to
think of her mainly as a sexual plaything rather than his wife-to-be. She
started to listen to him,
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Baby Doe Tabor, National Register of Historic Places in Lake County, Colorado, Leadville, Colorado, Horace Tabor, Matchless Mine, Tabor, Silver Dollar, Baby Doe, McCourt, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Augusta Tabor, Geology of the Rocky Mountains
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