Lyman Colton to Andrew and Ruth Fletcher, 1875 February 9

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Holton Jackson Co KansasFeb 9th 1875Mr AndrewMrs Ruth. A. FletcherBelvidere VtDear Uncle and Aunt

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Without doubt you will be surprised to receive a letter from one whom you have not heard from for years that are past and gone; and I confess that I feel a certain degree of embarrassment in the attempt It will not however surprise you if I overcome such obstacles when I tell you that with my little family I am as it were a stranger in a strange land with "No kindred nor relative nigh" Doubtless you heard of Fathers death He died (If I mistake not) March 8th 1868 After Settling the Estate (as his Executor) I removed to Kansas arriving at Atchison Dec 23rd 1869. Sister Verona died Nov 22ond 1872 and thus you see that I am the only one of my Fathers family living Is it any wonder then that I should feel lonely? and more especially so when I have no family relatives near me Well now I am in the 45th year of my age and as I look back upon the years that are past since a child of nine years I left the hills and valleys of Vermont what changes have been wrought in my life and doubtless in yours also Ah! I was a wayward boy but I trust that the changes that have been wrought by Divine Grace in me have not been in vain I have now been Engaged in the ministry upwards of 18 years in the interests of the Baptist Church

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How often I wish to visit again the home of my childhood, the place of my birth and the little mound where rests my sainted mothers mouldering clay Ah well! I know not as I write this but you too may have gone beyond its reach forever to be known no more until we meet on the "other shore" But I will write in hope for although I have not heard from you for a long time I most Earnestly wish to hear and also to know something of the changes that have taken place with you and those around you I saw a methodist minister by the name of Spencer about two months ago who came from Somewhere near you and he told me he thought you were still living in your old home I have been married 16 years the 21st day of this month and we have now five children living and two have died. Our first born Eugene Shepard died when he was one year and five months old Our third son Edward Zebina died on the day of his birth our living are Annetta Jane Colton Born Sept 23rd 1861, Edwin Lyman Born March 28th 1863 Charles Nelson Born March 7th 1870 Lenna Verona Born June 23rd 1872 Our youngest Son we have not yet decided in full what we shall call him. He was Born March 16th 1874 Well let this suffise about our family for the present except that I may say that we enjoy tolerable good health in the main although I have never been what you could call a healthy man and I have recently taken a severe

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cold through exposure and am quite poorly at present and Nancy-my wife-is suffering from a severe attack of the Neuralgia Now I would be glad to hear from you about your family and all of our relatives within your knowledge Is Aunt Lydia still living? I would like to know about her and her family How many of Uncle Andrew's brothers and Sisters are living? Is Enos living and in the proper use of his mental faculties ah! he little realizes the trouble he has caused me all my life, or that I bear the marks of his cruelty to my grave. You thought the naughty little run away Lyman was crazy but you little knew the cause of it How kind you all were to me and then there was Elias and Maria and Grandfather and Grandmother Fletcher. How I have blessed their memory all these long years and hoped to meet them on "yonder shining shore" Has Enos any little children Twenty three years ago had I met him it would doubtless have been in a death struggle for need I tell you that young as I was I left Vt with dire vengeance in my heart and harbored it there till divine grace (I trust) Softened my heart and drove it away Could I See him now it would be to extend the friendly hand and to caress his little ones if he has any Oh! what thronging memories of the past rush into my mind but trusting to be forgiven for past misdeeds as "He forgives my follies past And gives me grace for days to come" and hoping still to be remembered I must leave them and devote a little space to other matters

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You have doubtless heard of the destitution in Kansas on the account of the [      ] bug and Grasshoppers Well we are in the midst of it and are ourselves Suffering extremely Neither tongue nor pen can tell the Sufferings of those who are left destitute If you will take your Bible and turn to Ex 8:15 you can form some Idea of what took place here when the grasshoppers came and they not only Eat up every green thing but came into the houses and eat the clothing in many cases But how came I here you ask? I will tell you My health was failing and Cornelius Pratt then a Land Agent at Atchison offered me a situation where I could realize from $1500. to #3000.00 a year and the two things put together induced me to come his offer proved a failure he left in the night and I shifted the best I knew how very few if any Baptist ministers get a living by the ministry here and having settled on a new place and not being able to do as much labor as common man (I am partially crippled as a result of [Enos] cruelty) I raised but a small crop and that was destroyed as aforesaid and now with our little family we are reduced to extreme suffering There is a county Relief Society at Holton and they have received one car load of provision that is now exhausted and our county paper has so prejudiced those in the East that it is feared the supplies of for this county will cease Should this be the case I know not where to look for our daily bread Our present food consists only of a little flour a little corn meal and a small quantity of molasses and money to buy with is out of the question (See top of inside pages reversed)

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please forgive me for thus writing and pardon me also for saying that if you or any of those around you or any who have any remembrance of me can sympathize with us in our suffering a knowledge of the fact will cheer us even as we are with starvation staring us in

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the face and if any can assist us how thankfully it will be received, please let us hear from you soon and give us all the information you can about the land of my birth God Bless & protect you

your affectionate NephewLyman. S. Colton

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there is provision to be bought if we had the money to buy with

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(See top of page reversed for PO Address)

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please Direct to Rev L.S. Colton Holton Jackson Co Kansas