As the years rolled on, a series of problems - including Tabor’s own failure
to anticipate silver prices dropping and poor investments - all combined with the repeal
of the Sherman Silver Act in 1893. The result was that Tabor lost his entire $9,000,000.00+
fortune! Although he desperately held on to his precious Matchless as long as he possibly
could, he eventually lost that also... To foreclosure.|
Almost penniless, and now working as Denver's postmaster for a salary of $3,500/year
(an amount just a few years earlier he easily earned in a DAY), Tabor still
believed the silver market would come back, and when that happened, he hoped to be able
to reclaim the Matchless and repeat his earlier success with it. But appendicitis claimed
his life in 1899 before his hope could reach fruition, leaving his wife, Baby Doe Tabor
and their two daughters, Silver Dollar and Lilly Tabor, flat broke on the streets of Denver.
Embellished stories abound claiming that on his death bed Tabor uttered the words to his
beloved wife Baby Doe, "Hold on to the Matchless... it will pay millions again."
It makes for a nice fairy tale, but the facts would refute such a comment being made.
Tabor was in a coma for many days before his death in his room at the Windsor Hotel, and
besides... clearly both he and Baby Doe knew they had lost their precious Matchless
several years before to creditors.
However, it is possible that the two believed the Matchless could produce again...
or it’s possible that Baby Doe became so distraught over her dear husband’s
death that she became obsessed with the past, and held desperately to the one thing in
her mind which had given them so many millions of dollars - The Matchless Mine.
Whatever the reason, for the remaining 36 years of her life, Baby Doe Tabor held steadfast
to the belief that some day, if she could just find an investor with enough faith in her
and the Matchless Mine, it could and would produce again.
As a staunch Catholic, she believed she owed repentance for things she had done in her
earlier life, and refusing "handouts", began wrapping her feet and legs in
gunnysacks held on over her worn boots with twine. She wore a long black shoelace knotted
intermittently to form beads and holding a large plain wooden cross, was seen calling on
old friends in Denver, hoping to raise enough capital to repurchase the Matchless, or at
least make it operational again.
Although she was able to obtain some financial help from former friends and
investors; ultimately the best she was ever able to accomplish was getting permission
from the owners of the mine to move in to the old supply cabin next to the shaft house.
It was in that small cabin, after 35 years of isolation, she finally died in March of
1935 of a heart attack.
Her body was found frozen by neighbors who had noticed no smoke coming out of her
chimney for at least a week. It was headline news in newspapers coast to coast... One of
the nation’s most intriguing legacies had passed in the frozen mountains of
The cabin her frozen body was found in, along with the gallows and shaft house are presently accessible during the tours as well as a complete story-telling experience to best understand the legacy left behind by the greatest Silver King of all.