Mrs. Abigail Guthrie became the personal assistant to Artemis Monk, the assayer to the small mining camp of Trouble, California.
Shortly after the start of the Gold Rush, in 1849, Abigail reluctantly followed her husband, Hank, in his plans to sell their farm in Kansas and move to California to strike it rich. It never happened. Staking a small claim in the camp of Trouble, Hank worked himself, literally, to death with nothing to show for it. After severely weakening his constitution, he was finally carried off by rheumatic fever.
Abigail had stood loyally by her husband for two years, but after his death, her options became limited. She had no money to return to Kansas, and no prospects of earning any, except to become a "sporting woman" (prostitute) in the local saloon. She tried to put off this choice by earning meager wages doing sewing and laundry for the miners, but her services were not much in demand - miners didn't see the point of spending hard-earned gold on clean clothes.
But just as she was preparing to swallow her revulsion and enter the "sporting life," she was offered a job by Artemis Monk, the one person in town who did value her talents at cleaning and sewing. In addition to his laundry, she also did his shopping, maintained the records in his office, and kept his cabin clean and in perfect order. In exchange, she received room and board, and a wage that would enable her to save up enough to return to Kansas one day (many of the townspeople naturally assumed that Monk also received her "favors" in exchange for his generosity, but she hardly cared).
In addition to valuing her security as Monk's assistant, she became caught up in the criminal investigations he sometimes solved for the local Sheriff. As more and more crimes were solved, she grew to admire his honesty and his dedication to justice. He, in turn, began to address her with more affection, calling her "Abby."
Historical rumors indicate that, when Trouble's economy died out with the end of the Gold Rush, Abigail chose not to return to Kansas, as she had planned. Instead, she and Artemis married, and moved to San Francisco. Their later adventures are, to date, unknown.