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

Building a Dwelling

I had laughed at those houses in the settlement we came upon after leaving Pueblo, with their roofs of green sods, but when Mr. Middleton and I set about planning the family homestead, we were glad enough to use the same humble material for our roof, because it could be put on more quickly than any other.

In order to save the labor of felling and shaping as many trees as would be needed for high walls, we dug down into the earth four or five feet, so that, as one of the children said, our house was hardly more than a hole in the ground.

The floor was beaten hard by the aid of short lengths of logs which we held upright with pegs for handles, raising and dropping them until the earth was so solid that one's footprints made no mark.

[Illustration] from Seth of Colorado by James Otis

The walls were raised five feet above the top of the excavation, making the height from the floor to where the roof began not less than ten feet on the side which we intended for the front, through which we cut a doorway and window openings.

The roof poles were put on slanting, for it was to be a shed roof, the rear wall of the house being only about seven feet high, and the slope of the top not less than three feet, while the width of the building was only ten. Our covering of sod would serve, on so steep a pitch, to shed water admirably.

[Illustration] from Seth of Colorado by James Otis

In wet weather we did not suffer from the dampness because of our lack of glazed windows, for a blanket hung up in front of the openings served to keep us comfortable, and it was only occasionally that we had to shield ourselves from the outer air, so friendly was the climate.