The story of the Cooper Brothers mining interests in Colorado is very intertwined with H. A. W. Tabor so I'll try to give a brief biography of him. The Cooper group owned the Little Chief mine shown below. Tabor owned the Little Pittsburg and later purchased the Matchless Mine where Baby Doe, his wife was found frozen to death in 1935. All of these mining claims are about 20 acres and are about a mile northeast of Leadville, Colorado.
H. A. W. Tabor was born in 1830, 5 years before Thomas J. Cooper, one of the Cooper Brothers that founded Cooperstown. He moved to Leadville, Colorado in 1878 because of the rumors of great mineral wealth. He ran a general store and post office and did some prospecting on the side. He was a generous man and when 2 German miners came in and asked to be grubstaked, he happily obliged. He have them about $17 worth of materials from his store including picks, shovels, food, whiskey and tobacco. The story is that one of the German miners decided to have a little drink and stuck his pick in the ground, sat down, and noticed a "bit of color" and they filed for a claim called the "Little Pittsburg" after the Germans miners hometown. The H in Pittsburgh had to be deleted because of another nearby mine.
He eventually sold his share of the Tabor for $1,000,000 and bought the Matchless for $117,000. He bought and sold other mines and amassed a wealth estimated as high as $9,000,000 and he established newspapers, a bank, an opera house in Leadville, the Tabor Grand Opera House and the Tabor Block in Denver. He was also elected Lt. Gov. of Colorado in 1878.
Tabor had married Augusta Pierce in 1857 in Maine. He had been working as a stone mason and she was the quarry owner's daughter. In 1859 H. A. W. and Augusta started hearing about gold strikes in Colorado and decided to go there. It took them six weeks to walk from Kansas to the mining areas of Colorado. For the next 20 years the Tabors foraged for riches in the Colorado mining camps.
He met Baby Doe in 1880. She was 25 and beautiful and he was 50 and rich. She had been married before and had a bit of a reputation.