Rosemary Silver Dollar Echo Tabor (1889 - 1925)

‹ Back to Tabor surname

Is your surname Tabor?

Research the Tabor family

Silver Dollar Tabor's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Related Projects

Death: Died
Cause of death: murdered
Managed by: Doug Robinson
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Rosemary Silver Dollar Echo Tabor

Rosemary Echo Silver Dollar Tabor, was the second daughter of Horace and Elizabeth "Baby Doe" Tabor. The Tabors were one of Colorado's wealthiest families of the time.

Silver's mother, Elizabeth Doe, came west from Wisconsin with her husband, Harvey, in 1877; the couple hoped to make a fortune in the booming gold and silver mines of Colorado. Harvey Doe proved to be an inept and lazy miner, though, so Elizabeth divorced him and moved to the mining town of Leadville in 1881, where she performed on the stage and was nicknamed "Baby Doe" by admiring miners. During a chance encounter, Baby Doe won the affections of Horace Tabor, an emigrant from Vermont who made millions in the silver mines. Although Tabor was a married man, he moved Baby Doe into an elegant hotel in Denver and began a not-so-secret affair that scandalized the Colorado gentry. Ignoring the wagging tongues, Tabor divorced his wife and married the beautiful Baby Doe, who was nearly a quarter-century younger than he.

For a time, the couple lived a life of extraordinary opulence and pleasure, and Baby Doe had two daughters named Lilie and Silver Dollar, the latter in recognition of the source of the family's wealth. During the early 1890s, the good times started to slow as some of Tabor's investments went sour and his mines began to decline. The fatal blow came in 1893, when the U.S. Congress repealed the Silver Purchase Act of 1890, which had kept silver prices high through government investment. Without these large purchases of silver by the U.S treasury, prices plummeted and Tabor's once valuable mines were suddenly nearly worthless. In a matter of months, Tabor was bankrupt and the family was reduced to living on the modest income he earned as Denver's postmaster.

When Tabor died in 1899 of appendicitis, Baby Doe and her young daughters were left penniless, and moved back to Chicago to live with relatives. Eventually, Baby Doe left Lily in Chicago and returned to Leadville with Silver Dollar. The decision was disastrous: mired in poverty, Baby Doe and Silver eked out a threadbare existence, living in a small shack near one of the worthless silver mines they inherited from Horace Tabor.

As Silver grew older she drank heavily and used drugs. She moved to Chicago, where she was murdered in 1925 at 36 years old. Baby Doe survived for another decade, an impoverished recluse who used old gunny sacks for shoes and doctored herself with turpentine and lard. During a severe blizzard that hit Leadville for several days in February 1935, Baby Doe--who had once been one of the richest people on earth--died cold and alone at 81 years old. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Real Story on Baby Doe & Horace's Kids by Jim Metz

Baby Doe Tabor spent countless hours and shed copious tears while agonizing about daughters Lily and Silver Dollar, over the lives they were leading and over the fate of their immortal souls.

A devout Catholic in spite of her habit of ignoring or skirting the moral teachings of her Church during her younger years, she found, in her widowhood, a particularly vexing challenge to the renewed vigor of her lifelong faith.

She was a single mom (as they say today) with two young daughters to bring up and to guide through their difficult teenage years.

She was especially handicapped in dealing with Silver Dollar as her darling “Honeymaid” began exhibiting the same kind of robust zest for life that Baby had experienced in her own teen years. She understood from personal exposure to the perils of such adventures that it could be laden with dangers. Not that she regretted her youth, but she understood that the role she had played could be hazardous to anyone as inexperienced, as naive as she perceived Honeymaid to be.

Baby Doe's struggles to guide Silver Dollar through the danger zones and to capitalize on the talents that Silver did exhibit occupied a great amount of Baby's energies for many years. She was her much-loved Honeymaid, even as the young woman piled disappointments and heartaches upon her mother. The stories of Silver's struggles for fame and her manifest failures have been retold frequently because they have an element of universality to them. In sum they amounted to a terrible, crushing burden – a mother's hellish nightmare – in the end.

It is one of the peculiar hallmarks of Baby Doe Tabor that she refused to accept – outwardly, at least – the reality of the tragic end of her Honeymaid. Rosemary Echo Silver Dollar Tabor suffered a horrible death, scalded terribly in her cheap, rundown apartment in Chicago in 1925 where she lived under an assumed name amid the down-and-outers of the Windy City .

Baby ever after insisted to the world that the dead woman in Chicago was not her child; that Silver had entered a convent and was doing the Lord's Work exactly as Baby had been praying that she would. Her persistence in believing that story (did she really believe it?) has always been cited, at best, as one of her most peculiar traits, and at worst, as evidence of her losing touch with reality.

If fans of The Ballad of Baby Doe find tiny Silver memorable because in the climactic scene she is caricaturized by a honky-tonk riff, few of them recall that just a few phrases earlier Horace Tabor is taunted that his other child, Lily, will deny her heritage.

view all

Silver Dollar Tabor's Timeline