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

Denver in Flames

One night in the year 1863 I heard from the opposite side of the creek an alarm of fire, and out of curiosity, rather than because I believed any serious danger threatened, I got up in leisurely fashion and went out to see what steps were being taken to extinguish the flames.

[Illustration] from Seth of Colorado by James Otis

It was then near two o'clock in the morning; but since the day my name had appeared in company with Mr. Middleton's, it had been my custom to wake at four, and I said to myself, as I went down to the bridge to see what might be going on, that I had two hours to spare before it would be time to begin the business of the day, therefore I could well afford to gratify my curiosity.

There was little business done during the next twenty-four hours, save that of fighting the flames and endeavoring to save the property of our neighbors from destruction, for every man, and even the women and children, labored for the common good.

Before the dawn had fully come, the entire eastern section was in flames, and because we had nothing with which to fight the fiery monster, save buckets and such utensils as could be used for carrying water from the streams, there was little to be done except rescue such goods as we could. During all that day every man on the west side toiled in unceasing effort in behalf of his fellow citizens, even as he would have done for himself.

While the fire raged among those rude buildings, sweeping from one to the other as if driven by, a blast, our entire settlement seemed doomed, and before night-fall I was firmly convinced that everything in the way of worldly goods which I had accumulated since coming to Auraria would be consumed.