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 Elizabeth Bonduel “Baby Doe” <I>McCourt</I> Tabor

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Elizabeth Bonduel “Baby Doe” McCourt Tabor Famous memorial

Birth
Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, USA
Death 5 Mar 1935 (aged 80)
Leadville, Lake County, Colorado, USA
Burial Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County, Colorado, USA
Plot Section 18, Block 6, Lot 16, Grave 2, just east of third tree
Memorial ID 2751 View Source

Folk Figure. Born Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, one of fourteen children of Irish immigrants Elizabeth Anderson and Peter McCourt, a shop and theatre owner. Noted for her beauty, her mother had hopes that she would marry well. In December 1876, she won a local skating contest, and gained the notice of William Harvey Doe, Jr. heir to numerous mining claims in Colorado and a lumber mill in Oshkosh. The couple were married within six months, and moved to Denver to take over the Fourth of July Mine. She was known for her hands on approach to mine management, and became a popular figure with the men, among whom, because of her petite form, she became known as 'Baby Doe.' When the mine ultimately failed, her husband went to work for another mine owner, but she was still determined to succeed. The estranged couple divorced in early 1880. She moved to Leadville, a prosperous silver mining hub, where she crossed paths with Horace Tabor. A married man, they began a secret affair, that eventually came to light, causing a scandal. He obtained a divorced and married Elizabeth in March 1883, while he served as Colorado's interim US senator, in a social event in Washington, DC, and attended by President Chester A. Arthur. The scandal around their affair and marriage permanently damaged their social standing, however, and they were ostracized, never finding a place in Denver society. His Matchless Mine, however, earned the couple more than a $1 million annually; Tabor bankrolled two newspapers, a bank, and an opera house in Leadville, and she was visible in the Colorado women's suffrage movement. The Panic of 1893 cut the bottom from the silver market, however, and the Tabors lost everything; their income vanished, and their properties foreclosed upon. After working as a laborer at a mine, Horace was appointed Denver's postmaster in 1898, but months later he succumbed to acute appendicitis. She then moved to Leadville and focused her efforts on finding investors to reopen the Matchless. The belief in the Matchless would dominate the rest of her life. She refused to give up or sell the property, even when there was nothing else, eventually reduced to living in a one-room cabin that originally served as a tool shed at the mine. When the mine was finally foreclosed in 1927, the new owners allowed her to continue in the cabin. She had no comment for a 1932 movie, 'Silver Dollar' loosely based upon her, other than saying it was a story of the past; she received no compensation for it. In 1935, a days long blizzard left neighbors concerned when they saw no smoke from her chimney, and upon investigation, her frozen body was discovered inside, having succumbed to heart failure during the storm. All that remained of her past were 21 trunks left in storage, containing mementos such as bolts of rich fabric, a tea service, a diamond and sapphire ring, and her husband's watch fob and chain. Eventually the Matchless Mine and her cabin became a museum. Her story would be retold in two operas, a German stage play, a musical, a screenplay, a one-woman show, and numerous novels and books including 'Silver Queen: The Fabulous Story of Baby Doe Tabor' (1950) and 'Baby Doe Tabor' by Joyce B. Lohse (2011).

Bio by: Iola

Gravesite Details

Large headstone with Horace A. W Tabor.


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2751
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/2751/elizabeth-bonduel-tabor : accessed ), memorial page for Elizabeth Bonduel “Baby Doe” McCourt Tabor (7 Oct 1854–5 Mar 1935), Find a Grave Memorial ID 2751, citing Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .