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

In Great Peril

Then the instinct to save my own life awoke, and I rushed out, making for the higher ground, but hearing on every hand shrieks of agony and cries of fear, the shouts of men mingled with the wailing of children, as if indeed my first belief was true, and a second deluge was coming upon the earth because of the sins of the people.

I could not, of course, seek out Mr. and Mrs. Middleton, because this rushing torrent lay between our shop and the dwelling, and even though I might have been tempted to cross over to the east side, it would have been impossible to do so.

[Illustration] from Seth of Colorado by James Otis

The only thing remaining for me was to make for the high ground, as instinct had prompted, and all the while I was struggling to save my own life, I felt like a base coward because of turning my back upon those who I knew were in terrible danger of being drowned.

Yet to have lent a hand in that violent flood would have been beyond the power of man, and I could only do as did hundreds of others about me, seek my own safety, leaving those in danger to their fate until the day dawned, when we might be able to effect something in the way of relief.

Strive as I might, and spend all the hours of life remaining to me in the task, I could not convey to others a sense of all the fearful realities, the chilling horrors of those hours of darkness, when the creek roared like a mad thing, and continued to pour its waters down upon our city, but so lately recovered from the conflagration.

It was a fearful time, a time when I understood more clearly than ever before how far short I had fallen of doing my duty even when I had done my best. It was a time to make a lad realize that money getting is but the smallest, the most worthless part of life, save when he does it for the comfort and the well-being of those dependent upon him.