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 Tide of Emigration

The reason for my ignorance sounds more like a fairy tale than sober truth, and yet there is nothing in it which may not be proved by any man who lived either in Denver or in Auraria during the year 1859.

I have quoted already the words of another regarding the human tide which rolled toward the mines and then back again, therefore it is but repetition when I say that no less than sixty thousand men came back from their gold seeking disappointed, and very many hundreds of them, perhaps thousands, had loaded their wagons with goods of various kinds, counting on selling them in the mines, where it was supposed gold would be so plentiful.

Having become discouraged, however, all this vast army, grown homesick, turned their faces toward the Missouri River, or whatever portion of the country they came from, and rather than haul back the goods with which their carts were laden, actually threw the merchandise away on the road. The cattle, neglected to the verge of starvation while the owners were off gold digging, were in no fit condition to haul heavy loads the distance of five or six hundred miles which lay between them and the more thickly settled country.

[Illustration] from Seth of Colorado by James Otis

These people, and there were thousands of them, had become so disheartened and longed so ardently for home, that their minds had only the desire to get out of the country into which they claimed they had been lured by falsehood, and to accomplish this they were ready to sacrifice everything.

I am telling no more than the plain truth when I say that the trail from the diggings down to Denver was lined with goods of every description which had been abandoned by the owners.