Front Matter How I Came to Write my Story Who I am My Great Loss My Worldly Wealth Plans for the Future The Gold Fever My Great Disappointment Cured of the Gold Fever My Opportunity How I Might Work My Way Keeping My Bargain At Pueblo A Welcome Time of Rest Outbreak of Gold Fever Opportunity for Money Middleton Agrees With Me Middleton's Proposition Gold Seekers Land Claims Our Ranch Building a Dwelling Corn and Gold Dreams of a Harvest Disappointed Prospectors Returning Evil for Good Striving to Save Our Corn Defending Our Own A Council of War Interview With The Enemy Missouri Miners Make Sport How to Collect The Debt Possession of Cattle Night Before the Battle A War of Words The Prospectors Try to Kill Us A Real Battle A Truce Terms of Peace The Enemy Surrenders The Prospectors Depart The Growth of Our City Farming Or Mining My Share of the Harvest Middleton Goes on a Journey Auraria and Denver Middleton Turns Trader Middleton's Plan A Weighty Problem Middleton's Partner A Change of Homes Arrival At Auraria The Town of Denver We Hire a Shop I Regret Turning Merchant How We Transported Goods Middleton's Advice The Tide of Emigration Finding Goods By the Roadside Gold in Colorado How the Cities Grew A Post Office in Auraria Letters From Home Our Business Flourishes Denver Outstripping Auraria Claim Jumping The Claim Club The Turkey War The Need of Government Union of Denver and Auraria What Others Thought of Us Territory of Colorado Good Citizenship Civil War Breaks Out Need of a Jail Denver in Flames Our Loss By Fire Mrs. Middleton Consoles Us Good Resulting From Evil Middleton's Honesty Rebuilding Denver The Flood Destruction of the Town In Great Peril The City Destroyed Our Lives Are Spared Fears Regarding the Future Uprising of the Indians Begging for Help A Famine Threatens Horrors of an Indian War My Duty at Home Beginning Over Again My Story is Done

Seth of Colorado - James Otis

The Destruction of the Town

It was a flood, and the most terrific I have ever heard of, for as I stood there gazing at this horrible thing which seemed to cleave the darkness sufficiently for one to see with reasonable distinctness, houses on either side of the creek toppled and fell inward, as if the underpinnings had suddenly given way. The horror swept on its way with a thundering roar, amid which one could hear the crash of falling timbers. I believed that the Last Day was at hand, and that we were to be called to Judgment.

I was so overwhelmed that it was impossible for me to stir a finger, watching that scene of destruction with a fear that clutched at my heart, for I remembered that within those buildings which were toppled here and there like houses of cards the children build, there were many human beings who, not forewarned as I had been, might slumber on until overtaken by this monstrous mountain of water.

[Illustration] from Seth of Colorado by James Otis

The flood came surging up into the very shop, and still I stood stupidly on the threshold knee-deep in water. Even though I realized that the peril was great,—for no one could say how much higher this tide might rise,—my half-dazed mind kept revolving the one question, "How could it all have come about?"

There had been no storm in our vicinity, so far as I knew, yet something must have elsewhere, otherwise why were we being thus engulfed?

Until the water had risen nearly waist high, and was pouring into the building with such force that the doors of the shop were wrenched from their hinges, I stood motionless on the threshold as if my wits had left me, and truly it was so for the time being.