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Pillsbury family papers

Call Number: RH MS 802


These family papers, which date chiefly from the early 1840s through the 1860s, emanated from the family line of the Reverend Stephen Pillsbury and his wife Lavinia (Hobart) Pillsbury of New Hampshire. Comprising the bulk of the collection is Lavinia Pillsbury's correspondence with her adult children and their correspondence with each other--several of whom were early Kansas settlers. Included are typed memoirs of their son Leonard Hobart Pillsbury, who fought in several major battles of the Civil War. A number of Pillsbury and Weston family photographs are included.


  • Creation: 1805 - 1924


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Pillsbury family

The Pillsbury family line represented by these papers is that of the Reverend Stephen Pillsbury (1781-1851) and his wife Lavinia (Hobart) Pillsbury (1795-1871).

STEPHEN PILLSBURY (1781-1851) was born October 30, 1781 at Amesbury, Massachusetts to Micajah and Sarah (Sargent) Pillsbury. On March 3, 1816, he married LAVINIA HOBART (1795-1871), born October 31, 1795 at Hebron, New Hampshire to Josiah and Joanna (Hazelton) Hobart. Five of the children born to Stephen and Lavinia Pillsbury emigrated to Kansas--three of them emigrating to Kansas Territory in the 1850s, and two moving to Kansas in the first two decades of its statehood. The Reverend Stephen Pillsbury died at Londonderry, New Hampshire on January 22, 1851. His wife Lavinia died October 29, 1871 at Concord, New Hampshire.

Children born to Stephen and Lavinia Pillsbury included

MARY BARTLETT PILLSBURY, born January 5, 1817. She studied art, was a painter, and married Valentine W. Weston, who died in 1863. Following his death, she moved with her children to Manhattan, Kansas, where her daughter Valentine was married. In 1874, Mary and her younger daughter Eva moved to Lawrence, Kansas.

LAVINIA HOBART PILLSBURY (1818-1871), born November 8, 1818. She married Samuel Andrews on June 6, 1852. Their daughter Sarah was born in 1855, and their daughter Ann in 1861.

JOSIAH HOBART PILLSBURY (1821-1874), born August 15, 1821. Josiah married Frances Elnorah Peveare on August 16, 1853. They emigrated to Riley County, Kansas in 1854, settling at Zeandale, where Josiah was postmaster and justice of the peace. He later moved with his family to Manhattan, Kansas, where he was county surveyor, postmaster, and editor of The Independent, a free-state newspaper. After the death of his first wife, Josiah married Emma Steele on November 4, 1870. He died on November 12, 1874 at Manhattan.

STEPHEN PILLSBURY (1824-1892), born January 25, 1824. Stephen married Sarah Ann Bailey on March 7, 1852. He died on April 28, 1892.

EDWIN JUDSON PILLSBURY, born March 26, 1826. Edwin married Mary Ann Reed on February 7, 1847 and moved with his wife and children from Massachusetts to Manhattan, Kansas about 1859.

ANN JUDSON PILLSBURY (1828-1856), born July 1, 1828. She married William B. Marshall on February 26, 1855, and emigrated with her husband to Kansas in the spring of 1855 with the first party of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, settling near Zeandale (Riley County) Kansas. Ann died shortly thereafter on February 28, 1856.

ADONIRAM JUDSON PILLSBURY (1830-1854), born June 11, 1830. He died September 18, 1854.

WILLIAM STOUGHTON PILLSBURY, born March 16, 1833. William married Sarah A. Crowell on May 8, 1854. Following his first wife's death, William married Martha Silver Crowell on April 15, 1856.

LEONARD HOBART PILLSBURY (1835-1933), born December 25, 1835 at Dunbarton, New Hampshire. Hobart, as known by his family, emigrated to Kansas in the spring of 1855 with his sister Ann Pillsbury Marshall and her husband William in the first party of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. After approximately three years in Kansas Territory, he returned to New Hampshire. He attended the Phillips Exeter Academy, in 1862 joining the Union Army as captain of Company A of New Hampshire's 9th Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He married Eveline F. Sanborn on August 23, 1862, departed on August 25 for defense of Washington, D.C. against General Lee, and later fought in the Civil War battles of South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Vicksburg. Soon after the war, he returned to Kansas, where he resided in Manhattan for approximately six years before accepting appointment as U. S. Commissioner and Assistant Clerk of the U.S. Circuit and District Court in Memphis, Tennessee. In later years, he lived in New Hampshire, where he died at Derry on December 26, 1933.


4 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Pillsbury family papers reflect the lives and descendants of the Reverend Stephen Pillsbury and his wife Lavinia (Hobart) Pillsbury of New Hampshire. The papers, which date chiefly from the early 1840s through the 1860s, consist primarily of the correspondence of Lavinia Pillsbury with her adult children and their correspondence with each other, although letters of other Hobart, Weston, Kimball, and Andrews family members are included.

Because several of the children of Lavinia Pillsbury were early Kansas settlers, the collection contains their many letters from Kansas, including the communities of Zeandale, Manhattan, and Leavenworth. The Kansas letters, which date from 1854, include letters of Josiah Hobart Pillsbury, Leonard Hobart Pillsbury, Ann Pillsbury Marshall, and Edwin Judson Pillsbury. Letters of Leonard Hobart Pillsbury include his experiences as a Union soldier in the Civil War. The papers also include his typed memoirs, including his experiences as an early settler in Kansas Territory, as a Civil War soldier, and as a Riley County, Kansas homesteader following the war.

Also in the collection are small numbers of sermons, transcribed Bible verses, and poems or hymns, as well as a news clipping regarding an historic Pillsbury family reunion. A number of Pillsbury and Weston family photographs and photographic negatives are available at RH MS-P 802.

As received from the donor, a number of the letters were arranged by name of the creator or correspondent. Many of these letters are accompanied by the donor's typed transcription, and many lack postmarked envelopes, or are accompanied by envelopes with stamps removed. Most of the collection's letters were received without arrangement in postmarked envelopes. These are arranged chronologically by year, each with its envelope attached.

Physical Location

RH MS 802

Physical Location

RH MS-P 802

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Helen Pillsbury Kruger and Susan Pillsbury Clarke, 1988.

Related Materials

Additional Pillsbury family material is available at Pillsbury-Weston family correspondence, Kansas Collection, RH MS 233, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Guide to the Pillsbury Family Collection
Pillsbury family papers
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2006; revised by cl, 2010. Finding aid encoded by mh, 2006. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2018.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Pillsbury family papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 802, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States