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

Claim Jumping

A matter which troubled us all for by this time I considered myself on a footing with any man in either town because of being Mr. Middleton's partner was the jumping of claims.

[Illustration] from Seth of Colorado by James Otis

I have already tried to define what I mean by this term, and I will again strive to make the matter clear. When a man goes into a new country he stakes out his claim, that is to say, he locates himself upon land which no one owns, and drives down his stakes to mark out a farm, or a town lot, as the case may be.

After this has been done, he waits until the people have formed a government of some kind, and when land offices have been opened he "makes an entry," that is to say, he reports to the officials in the land office the boundary lines of his claim.

Until a claim has been properly recorded, the would-be owner must live on the land in order to hold possession, or at least that was the unwritten law in the country where we then were.

It often happens that a man, having entered a claim and put up a shanty to shelter him from the weather, goes off on business and leaves his claim unguarded for a time, as those people did who first laid out the settlement of the town then called St. Charles, but which is now known as Denver.

When the rightful owner is gone other men come, and, finding the shanty abandoned, even though it be for only a short time, settle down there, and this act is called "jumping "the claim. When the one who had originally laid out the boundary lines comes back, he finds others in possession, whereupon much trouble ensues.