Horace Tabor’s Tumultuous Life: A Timeline

HoraceThe man once called “Silver King of the West” left little behind other than his name and a tragic love story. Here are some key events in his tumultuous life:

Nov. 26, 1830 – Horace Tabor born in Vermont. Worked as a teen in Maine quarry owned by Augusta Pierce’s father.

1855 – Tabor immigrates to Kansas Territory to homestead a farm.

1856 – Elected to Kansas Legislature.

Jan. 31, 1857 – Married Augusta Pierce in Maine; both returned to Kansas Territory.

1859 – Horace, Augusta and toddler Maxcy arrived at Colorado goldfields.

1877 – Elected Leadville’s first mayor.

1877 – Mrs. Harvey Doe (Elizabeth McCourt Doe), 23, arrived in Central City. Her husband was to work his father’s half stake in a gold mine, but lost interest, so Mrs. Doe went into the mine and worked, apparently the first woman to do so in that area.

1878 – Tabor elected Lieutenant Governor of Colorado.

May 1878 – Two miners grubstaked by Tabor hit pay dirt.  The stake becomes the Little Pittsburg mine.

1879 – Tabor Opera House in Leadville opened.

1880 – Tabor took up with “Baby” Doe, so named by the miners of Central City (now divorced from Harvey).

January 1881 – Tabor moved out of home; Augusta refused divorce.

Sept. 5, 1881 – Tabor Grand Opera House in Denver opened; Augusta barred from admission.

September 1882 – “Secret” divorce in Durango (Augusta never notified);

Sept. 28, 1882 – Baby Doe and Tabor allegedly married by St. Louis justice of peace.

January 1883 – Horace paid Augusta $280,000 in divorce settlement.

1883 – Horace appointed to serve out the U.S. Senate term of Henry M. Teller, who had resigned in order to become Secretary of the Interior.

March 1, 1883 – Tabor married Baby Doe in Washington, with President Chester Arthur attending.

July 13, 1884 – Elizabeth Bonduel Lily Tabor born.

Dec. 12, 1889 – Rose Mary Echo Silver Dollar Tabor born.

1892 – Tabor in debt for more than $800,000.

1893 The “Silver Panic” causes silver to drastically lose value.  Tabor fortune collapses.

Feb. 1, 1895 – Augusta, 62, a millionaire, died in Pasadena, Calif.

1897 – Tabor, age 67, worked tailings of an abandoned mine for $3 a day.

1898 – Friends got Tabor appointed Denver Postmaster; he and Baby moved into Windsor Hotel.

April 10, 1899 – Tabor died of infection from appendicitis.

1903 – Baby Doe moved to shack at the Matchless Mine, began guarding mine with a shotgun.

1925 – Silver Dollar found dead in unsavory Chicago boardinghouse.

March 7, 1935 – Baby Doe’s rag-wrapped, emaciated body found frozen in her shack at the Matchless Mine.

Want to learn more about this season’s operas?

Get the inside scoop via Opera Insider, our festival guide featuring history on this season’s operas, insight into what inspired the composers and librettists to write them, interviews with the artists and opera-themed activities. Download the Opera Insider at www.centralcityopera.org/insider or pick up a copy in our Gift Shop in Central City.

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