DANICA headshotIt 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.

DANICA inside cabin

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.

DANICA outside cabinOne 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!

DANICA Matchless mine with cabinBut 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:



DANICA Bookcover

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.


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  1. Hi Danica! Thank you for the post and pictures. Isn’t it fun to hear people tell a story from the past and you get many versions. I love it.

    I would love to win a copy of your book.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  2. Hi Danica! What a fascinating story from history!Your own story–The Lawman’s Redemption–sounds like a great read! I can’t think of anything in “history” from my family, however, I do have personal stories passed down. Best of luck on your book!

  3. Thank you for your interesting post! Years ago, there was a restaurant in Dallas called Baby Doe’s Matchless Mine. I just thought it was an interesting name. Now, I know the rest of the story!

    • I didn’t know they had one in Dallas! They used to have one in Denver, too, and I really enjoyed eating there. I was sad when it closed. Definitely look up the story… I only told the super short version in this post, but it’s really a neat story to get the whole thing!

  4. Hello Danica! I enjoyed reading your post! I was actually a winner of yours from over at another blog site last month, but I never heard back from you and then my e-mails were bouncing back. Not sure how else to get in contact with you since I do not do all of the social media things.

  5. I love your family’s historical ties to Leadville, Danica! Thank you for sharing this fascinating post and wonderful giveaway!

  6. Loved your post. I really don’t know of any history stories in my family. I am sure I have heard a few but I don’t remember them.

  7. welcome,,enjoyed the post,,i have a few family stories but not sure how true they are,,my family always had a lend toward embellisment,,lol

  8. I think I have been to Leadville, but your post sparked an interest again. Need to go again someday. 🙂 Thanks for an interesting post and the opportunity to receive one of your books. Love historical romance stories.

  9. What fascinating family history! I have a relative on my side of the family who keeps track of our family genealogy. I’m not sure of the whole history, but I know my family branch originated in Prussia. Tofel & Anna were the start of our side. I’m not sure how my relative keeps track of it all!! So much information to go through and verify. There’s also a rumor(true or not, I have no idea) that we are somehow related to John Wilkes Booth. Imagine that, yikes! History is fascinating stuff, isn’t it?
    Thanks for sharing some of yours, it was quite interesting to read! And for the giveaway of “The Lawman’s Redemption” Love Inspired Historical ate my favorite books!
    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. you new books sounds great. as gar as family stories…the first thing I thought of were the tall tales my dad used to tell about growing up in Ohio in the winter. They usually started with long walks to school and back up-hill both ways 🙂 it would always make me laugh and remind me life is bigger than myself.

  11. Thank you for the fascinating pictures. Did the mine Baby Doe was told to hang on to ever produce anything more?

  12. Enjoyed your family history post today!
    We have a great-great-grandfather that was one of the founder of our town. On election day they would all show up and vote just before closing of the polls as they were waiting for someone to shout – Here comes Orin! as he came over the hill in his wagon lead by a team of matching horses with the celebratory libations in the wagon! Election day was a day of celebrating 🙂 (Documented at the local museum) We’ve been told he was quite the character..

  13. Hi Danica! That’s a great story! I have many wonderful historical stories in my family because so many of them came west along the pioneer trails in covered wagons to settle in the west during the 1800’s. So many hardships but I’m grateful to them! Most of my ancestors came from Denmark and England to settle in the west so I am glad they did it so I could be born in America!
    I bought your book already and can’t wait to read it!

  14. Thanks for the giveaway. I don’t have any stories in my family. Just little things like my uncle running from punishment by my grandmother and she picked up a piece of wood and throwing it and hittiy him square in the middle of his back. He didn’t run anymore.

  15. What wonderful family history. I enjoyed reading about it. And the pictures are great ! Thank you for sharing with us. I love Love Inspired Historicals and would love to read this one. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity !

  16. We lived in Colorado Springs for 3 years and loved the area. We did go to Leadville andCripple Creek several times. The history in that area is interesting and exciting. Every time we went out, we found something new to explore. How much more interesting it would have been if we had know someone local to give us insight into the area and its history. For me, it is a bonus to read a book set somewhere I have been. Even a little bit of familiarity with the locale give one a bit of the feeling of being there. You know what the area looks like, you know approximately how things are located in relation to each other. . I was reading an historical set in New Orleans and in one scene I knew exactly where the characters were standing, what streets and buildings were near them, and which way they would have to go. That type of thing really draws one into the story.
    I will be looking for your books. It will be nice going back to visit the area again.

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