Divorce the Lout, Earn Your Own Millions

I love historic home tours. You get to look at how people lived and hear their stories as told by curators who (usually) love them. For a historical novelist, it's the only way to travel.

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Of course, when we were in Leadville, CO, I managed to sneak off to a house tour -- of the indomitable Augusta Tabor. She was a leading figure in that 19th century mining town, and is today known mostly for her husband's scandal: he left her for his lover, the enviably nicknamed Baby Doe.

 Augusta Tabor (1833-1895)

Augusta Tabor (1833-1895)

But Augusta, as I hear it, wasn't letting her idiot ex-husband keep her down. She won a relative pittance in their divorce settlement, but it was still enough money at the time to serve as seed money for her own enterprises. She ended up a millionaire, while her husband died a pauper. Not that money is the measuring stick for revenge, but I'll bet it felt good to Augusta.

You can find Augusta's full story in a 1955 book that's now, luckily for US readers at least, available for free via the Gutenberg Project. And if you're ever in Leadville, check out her home. Lovers of Victorian furniture and lives will marvel.

 The charming Victorian parlor.

The charming Victorian parlor.

 Horace and Augusta built this home to serve as their retirement. When Augusta got it for herself, she made good use of the cozy (six-room) space.

Horace and Augusta built this home to serve as their retirement. When Augusta got it for herself, she made good use of the cozy (six-room) space.

 A Victorian guest bed! In a cabinet!

A Victorian guest bed! In a cabinet!

 Augusta's own silver-ornamented traveling trunk. She brought this with her to Colorado from Maine, where she grew up.

Augusta's own silver-ornamented traveling trunk. She brought this with her to Colorado from Maine, where she grew up.

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