Lyman Colton to Ruth Fletcher, 1853 May 15
Otsego Sunday May 15th __53My Dear Aunt
It is with feelings of mingled pain and pleasure that I now take my pen in hand, to inform you of my health, and that of all of our family: which is good at present: and hope that these few lines, if they reach you; will find you, enjoying the Same blessing. This is the first time, that I have ever presumed, to take a pen in my hand, to write to you; and for this reason, I hope that you will bear with me, Should I be considered an intruder. Years have flown, to that [ ] from whence none can return, Since Last we were permitted to behold each other, and since god took me, to your home, to live with you and took all the care of me, that of which a kind aunt is capable. I was then in my childhood; but Alas; how was that kindness repaid? by causing still more anxiety, and trouble. Years have passed away, and yet those scenes are as fresh to my mind, as the deeds of yesterday: Young though I was, I knew these actions to be wrong, and time cannot efface them from my memory. Since I have grown [ ] years of more understanding, Sorrow has been my constant companion, Whenever my mind reverts to the scenes of my childhood days (I mean the two years of my life in which I lived, with Esquire Fletcher & with you and Uncle A.) in Vermont.
Without doubt I was called, the worst boy in the country, and well it might be so; for I had become so notorious for my truancy, that bold, swearing, and irreverent, as I was: I scarcely dared, to enter a neighbors door, for fear of being taken, as a Runaway: This was one cause of my acting as I did, the last time that I ran away: Forgive me dear aunt aunt, if I recall painful feelings to your mind; and permit me to ask your forgiveness for the wrong actions which I did, and the trouble which I caused you: Oh could I but see you, once more and on my knee ask you, to forgive me; methinks I could be the happiest of mortals, ...I will say nothing at present of the primary cause, of those actions, but nevertheless permit me to enquire: What has become of Enos Fletcher? for a cripled hand, and a broken nose, are unmistakeable tokens, which I bear in memory of him, besides Sundry other kicks, and cuffs, which I received of him, and I will not say what else reminds me of him. Give my love to Unkle A. & Aunt L, and tell them that I sincerely crave their pardon for my past actions, I remember my actions to Mr and Mrs F, but they have gone to their long homes (if I am not mistaken) and I have not the chance of saying anything to them. If Harvey, Elias and Maria are living, give my best respects to them. I wish to know what has become of Mary, Cornelius, and Levi. tell them to write to me, give my love to them.
Give my love to all enquiring friends kiss your little ones for me and consider me your affectionate nephew till death. I must close by requesting you to excuse the poorness of this writing, for I am not a good penman; and my hand trembles at present so that I can hardly control it. Remember me in your petitions at a throne of grace
Lyman S Colton
R. A. FletcherL. S Colton
P S Write to me as soon as you can and direct to Mets post office Steubn Co Ind