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 6 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.
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Augusta was appointed postmistress of Oro City. I was five weeks in crossing and cooked for my board.
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. 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 the store was more profitable than mining because the easy placer gold was nearly played out. In Tabor and his first wife were respectable citizens and suitably wed. 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.
This was a typical prospecting outfit. Tabor hardly looks like the sort of Lothario who would have been the idol of two remarkable women. But such he was.
Falling into the Bible 3 -- Mt. Tabor; Above All, Jesus!
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. 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 Gazette. The camp fell off rapidly and by autumn was practically deserted. 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 venture.
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. 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. 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 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 10 corner.
They built a story-and-a-half log and frame building with sleeping quarters upstairs, and dining and kitchen arrangements to the rear. This little clapboard dwelling originally stood on Harrison Avenue, Leadville, where the Opera House is now.
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It was moved to its present place on Fifth Street in In 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, , the settlement comprised some seventy tents, shanties and log cabins. The inhabitants decided to call a meeting, effect an organization and choose a name. A short while afterward they voted Tabor to the mayorship, and officially confirmed his year-long office with a city election in April.
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 Harrison Avenue, way off from the settlement, and began to build in the spring. Meanwhile Tabor was handing out grubstakes and still dreaming.
Then the momentous day of his Castles-in-Spain arrived. 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. 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:. But it was true. He bought the Chrysolite which proved to be another bonanza. 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, , Tabor rented, and the next month purchased, the Henry C.
"You'd Be Surprised"
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. Tabor provided the means for returning the call. Augusta remarked:. The Tabor Grand rose like a cathedral beyond the spired church.
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. Poor Augusta!
The Second Time Around
Time was running out. As his interests and investments widened, he took the most seductive inmates traveling with him.
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Augusta discovered the affair and the miscreants promised to part. 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. Louis reporter a couple of years after the affair.
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Apparently, Willie was still talking too much. In September, , Tabor sold out his interest in the Little Pittsburgh for a cool million dollars. Then he and Augusta went East for six weeks while he made further investments, notably land in South Chicago. Henry C. Each summer thereafter she entertained at a lawn party to aid charities of the Unity Church.