A story of pioneers, silver mining, and scandal told in Eagle | VailDaily.com

A story of pioneers, silver mining, and scandal told in Eagle

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

EAGLE, Colorado – There is probably no more enduring scandal in Colorado history than the rags-to-riches-to-rags story of Leadville’s Tabor family.

Horace Tabor was the ambitious man who brought his wife, Augusta out west so he could seek a fortune in the state’s gold and silver mines in the late 1800s. He found his fortune and subsequent political fame. But Tabor also found a new love, and eventually abandoned his loyal wife for a beautiful younger woman who became known as Baby Doe Tabor.

The Eagle County Historical Society will host actress and storyteller Mary Jane Bradbury on Thursday as she portrays Augusta Tabor, the pioneering businesswoman who was once known as the “First Lady of Leadville.” Bradbury, dressed in vintage costume, will offer a look at Colorado’s gold rush and life in the boom camps as perceived from the perspective of Augusta. And of course, she will talk about the scandal that ended her marriage.

The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the commissioner’s meeting room at the Eagle County Administration building in Eagle.

Bradbury points out that the story of a middle-aged man leaving his wife for a younger woman isn’t exactly unique. However, the saga of the Tabor family’s life before the scandal is a classic example of the kind of people who settled the West.

“Augusta Tabor crossed the prairie in a covered wagon, with a toddler. Her health was not good. She had the determination to make it work,” says Bradbury. “This is the personal history of Augusta told with the backdrop of Colorado’s history.”

Bradbury is an actress and teacher who has found a unique way to make history come alive by coupling her acting skills with factual history. The ECHS is bringing the program to the Eagle Valley with the help of a grant from the Colorado Humanities Chautauqua Speakers Bureau. The program is suitable for children as well as adults.

The presentation, which is free of charge, is part of the annual business meeting of the ECHS. A brief business meeting will precede the presentation at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Questions can be directed to Kathy Heicher at 970-328-7104, or to Marion Laughlin at 970-328-1098.

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