It is such an honor to be visiting the Petticoats and Pistols blog today. Is it all right if I have a fan girl moment here for a few moments? (Pretend I’m super squee-ing and getting all excited!) Phew! I’m done. No, okay, wait… EEE!!! I’m so happy to be here with so many of my favorite authors!!
Okay, now I’m really done, because you didn’t invite me here to say how fabulous you are! You wanted to hear about some cool historical stuff.
I write books set in Leadville, Colorado. My husband’s family settled there near the dawn of the 20th century. Since then, they’ve maintained ties to the area. It’s one of my favorite places, and I’m so glad to be able to share it with my readers.
Leadville’s claim to fame is the silver boom that happened from 1879 until 1893. During those years, what amounts to billions of dollars in today’s money came out of the Leadville area. Some of the wealthiest families in America, such as the Guggenheims, found their start in Leadville. Doc Holliday spent some time in Leadville, as did Molly Brown of the Unsinkable Molly Brown fame. It always surprises me when I read something about Leadville and find the name of one more famous person who spent time there.
It’s tempting to base my books on real history, and in some ways, I do. But I also fictionalize things and change them up a bit because many of the old-timers, folks who have generational ties to Leadville, know the stories, and in some cases, have differing versions of the story.
For example, the story of Baby Doe Tabor’s later years. Baby Doe Tabor, if you’re not familiar with the story, is a rags to riches to rags tale. She married Horace Tabor, one of Leadville’s wealthiest men, after his scandalous divorce from his first wife. They lived extravagantly, and were ill-prepared for the silver crash in 1893. Overnight, the Tabors lost everything, and when Horace died, Baby Doe was left penniless.
As the story goes, Horace’s deathbed wish to Baby Doe was to “hang on to the Matchless.” The Matchless was one of Tabor’s silver mines, and Horace believed it would someday make money again.
Many historical sources say “hang on to the Matchless” was not what Tabor said, however, after Horace’s death, Baby Doe ended up living in poverty in a little shack at the mine. She became a recluse, and had little contact with the outside world. She allowed very few people to come visit her, and this is where the old-timers all have a tale to tell.
One of the few people allowed to visit Baby Doe was the grocery delivery boy, who would occasionally bring her groceries. I’ve met so many people who will tell you that their relative was the delivery boy. Of course, I have it on very good authority from my husband’s late great-aunt, that the delivery boy was her brother! But if only one delivery boy was allowed access, you can see where that might be a problem!
So, as you can see, real history, real people… well, let’s just say it’s safer to make it up!
But there are always touches of the real in my books, because what I love about Leadville is the adventurous spirit that comes with living in a rough place in a rough time. After all, isn’t that what makes the west so great?
Now it’s your turn… do you have any fun historical claims to fame? Even if you don’t, I’d love to hear a fun history story passed down in your family. Share your story for a chance to win a copy of The Lawman’s Redemption.
If you’re interested in seeing some more of our family historical ties to Leadville, stop by my website, where I have some fun videos posted in the extras section:
About the book:
Lawman on a Mission
Former deputy Will Lawson is fighting to regain his reputation—and Mary Stone is his only lead to the bandit who framed him. Now that he’s tracked Mary to Leadville, Colorado, Will needs the proud beauty to reveal her past. Instead, his efforts spark a mighty inconvenient attraction…
Mary’s only real crime is that she once believed an outlaw’s lies. Still, she fears disclosing the truth to Will may land her in jail—and leave her young siblings without protection. Now she must choose between honesty and safeguarding her family. And if Will does clear his own name, can he convince the woman he loves to share it?
Click HERE for the Amazon link!
I’m giving away one print copy of THE LAWMAN’S REDEMPTION! Leave a comment to get your name in the pot.