by Trent Rosser
No one knows her real name, but they believe that it was Elizabeth. At 16 years old, she had enough and ran away. No one really knows why she ran away, or what she was running from? Abusive family, was she an outlaw? How many people did she kill before running away from the banks of the mighty Mississippi river to the dance halls of Kansas and Texas? She loved to dance and so she joined the burlesque stage to entertain the cowboys. Her Irish decent was showing with her blue eyes and black hair. While in Dodge City, she heard about the buffalo hunters, cowboys and soldiers in Texas. So she packed up her floor length ensembles and dancing dresses and caught the stage to Sweetwater.
In 1876, Bat Masterson had his famous gunfight in Sweetwater, but in 1880 is when Elizabeth met the man of her dreams. A livery stable operator and gambler by the name of Mickey caught her eye and he stated that every time she sat beside him, we won at the gambling tables. She was his good luck charm. Mickey had a past also, and like Elizabeth, no one really knows. The only ones that they told of their past was each other and they agreed that they would tell no one else. When Mickey went back home, he took Elizabeth with him. He built her a nice 2 room adobe house. Livery business was booming but old habits are hard to break and Mickey continued his side business of gambling rooms behind the saloon. While Mickey gambled with all cowboys and famous outlaws, Elizabeth dealt Monte. She claimed to once collect $1800 in one night. Today that would be approximately $40,000 today. Not bad for one night.
In 1881 Mickey and Elizabeth were finally married. On the marriage certificate, Elizabeth gave the name “Elizabeth McCraw and Mickey McCormick”. The marriage certificate was her prize possession for the rest of her life. There love and devotion to each other lasted for years. They never had children, but had plenty of pets. Mickey had brought home a talking parrot for Elizabeth once which she treasured along with the many hunting dogs. The town was a crossroads for cattleman, lawmen and renegades and it was booming. By the late 1880,s the town was starting to dwindle down. Then the incoming railroad was built around the town and people started to move.
They livery stable was sold and gamblers stop coming to the dying town. Micky was an enthusiastic hunter and game was very abundant. Mickey brought in everything from quail to deer and antelope. Even an occasional buffalo before the herds disappeared. He brought home enough food for both of them. One day in 1912 he told Elizabeth that he was going to go hunting but laid down in bed. Elizabeth went to him and he opened his eyes and said. “I wonder what you will do?”. She left to the kitchen and when she returned he had passed away. He knew that he was about to pass away and was still concerned for Elizabeth. She buried him half a mile to the east of the house. Every time she went to the well, she could look to the east and see his marker. In death, as in life, no one would know about themselves. No relatives were notified and Elizabeth declined to reveal her true identity. She vowed to live out her life near Mickey’s grave and join him when her time comes.
When Mickey died, Elizabeth was still a fine looking woman and could have moved elsewhere and earned a living, but she stayed in the desolate town, andshe stayed with her Mickey. In 1915 Elizabeth still had a few neighbors but they were moving on and shortly after, she was the last living soul in town. For weeks and months at a time she would not see another soul. She lasted throughout the dust bowls of the 30’s and the cold freezing winters but neither was strong enough to pull her away from Mickey. She tried to keep a few dogs but the other animals and rattlesnakes would kill them. Not long after her last dog was killed, a den of rattlesnakes made their home underneath the crumbling adobe that Mickey had built for her so many years ago. Many offers from friends to move went unheard. Her reply every time would be, “I will stay right here next to my Mickey, I want to be buried by his side.” She lived alone in the ghost town for 27 years.
In 1939 she finally moved to a friend’s house on the agreement that when Elizabeth died, she would be taken back to town and buried next to her Mickey. Her health improved and wherever she went, the press went with her. A woman seen her picture in the Fort Worth newspaper and seem to think that it was her long lost aunt that ran away from Baton Rouge 60 to 70 years prior. They offered Elizabeth a home with them for the rest of her life. Her reply was “If they come and see me, I will talk with them and see if we can get it straighten out” They would send pictures and gifts, but Elizabeth would still refuse to tell who she was. She would say time and time again, “No one knows who I am, and I’ll never tell”.
January 12, 1941 Elizabeth died in her sleep of pneumonia. She was buried the next day next to Mickey. Following the last rites, 22 cars passed along the road and past the adobe house in she had lived for nearly 60 years. The well had caved in, the doors and windows were open and the fence around it was falling down. The newspapers and newscasters reported that the “Girl of the Golden West” was finally laid to rest. Elizabeth looked forward to this day for a very long time. She also kept her promise, “No one will ever find out who I am”. Elizabeth “Frenchy” McCormick, the last resident of Tascosa, Texas, was finally reunited with her Mickey.