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Pillsbury-Weston family correspondence

Call Number: RH MS 233


This collection consists of photocopied family correspondence from the 19th century, including family members who lived in New York City, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Kansas before, during, and after the United States' Civil War.


  • Creation: 1828 - 1896


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Donor retains all literary rights in unpublished manuscripts.

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

History of the Pillsbury Family

Members of the Pillsbury family found in this collection:

  1. Stephen Pillsbury: a Baptist minister in Hebron and North Londonderry, New Hampshire during the first half of the 19th century. He and wife Lavinia had 8 children:
  2. Josiah Pillsbury: left NH in 1840 to work as a clerk and merchant in New York City. He returned to North Londonderry in the 1850s and from there emigrated to Zeandale in Riley County, Kansas in 1854 with wife Nora, brother Hobart, and brother-in-law William Marshall.
  3. L. Hobart Pillsbury: emigrated to Zeandale with brother Josiah in 1854 but returned to NH some time before the U.S. Civil War started. He served in a battery of Union artillery he had helped raise and fought at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. He also took part in campaigns in Kentucky and Mississippi in 1863. After the war he traveled several times between Kansas and NH but seems to have settled down to start a business in NH by the 1880s.
  4. Anne Pillsbury (1827-1856): married William Marshall, who emigrated to KS in 1854. Anne's health was poor and she died shortly after joining her husband in KS in 1856.
  5. Edwin Pillsbury: went to sea, signing on with a whaling ship out of New Bedford, Massachusetts in the 1840s. He and his family could not afford to emigrate to KS with his brothers.
  6. William Pillsbury: served with Union forces during the Civil War and afterwards led a relatively quiet life in NH.
  7. Mary Pillsbury (1817-1894): ran away from home as a young woman to study art in Hartford, Connecticut. She became an artist, painting miniatures, portraits, landscapes, and religious subjects that included "Angel Gabriel" and "Infant Savior." Some of her paintings were exhibited in the National Academy in 1842. Mary continued to paint after she married NYC merchant Valentine Weston, around 1840. After her husband's death in 1863, Mary Weston and her daughter Eva lived with relatives in NH before moving to Lawrence, KS in 1874.
  8. Stephen Pillsbury: worked with brother Josiah in NYC in the 1840s and moved to Boston in 1846, settling in Andover, Massachusetts in 1849.
  9. Lavinia Pillsbury (died 1871): married Samuel Andrews of NH in 183 after living and working with the Westons in NYC for a time in the 1840s. The letters of Lavinia and her two daughters Sarah and Anne comprise the bulk of this collection.


2 Linear Feet (4 document cases)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The collection of photopied copies of family correspondence spans the years between 1828 and 1894. A number of the earlier letters are copies of typescript copies made by the donor. The letters written by each member of the family are filed separately. Letters to family members from persons outside the family are filed with letters written by the recipients.

Lavinia Hobart Pillsbury's letters to her children run from 1836 to 1871. Of particular interest is her description of a meeting with an escaped person who had been enslaved headed for Canada, dated April 9, 1850.

Four of Reverend Stephen Pillsbury's letters are in the collection. They run from 1828 to 1841.

Josiah Pillsbury's 29 letters run from 1840 to 1871. His letters to relatives in New Hampshire from 1854 through 1858 describe emigration and settlement in Kansas.

The 12 letters of L. Hobart Pillsbury to his mother and sisters run from 1856 to 1889. They describe his emigration to Kansas with Josiah in the 1850s and his Civil War service.

The collection contains five letters of Edwin Pillsbury from the 1850s. As a sailor, he had little contact with his family, and the letters describe the poverty that prevented him from joining his brothers in Kansas.

Nine letters of William Pillsbury to his brothers and his sister Lavinia run from 1853 to 1869.

Stephen Pillsbury's letters run from 1840 to 1892. His letters from the 1840s describe his and Josiah's efforts to start a business in New York City.

Mary Pillsbury Weston's letters run from 1840 through 1894. They cover New York City's cholera epidemic of 1854, the financial panic of 1857, and the Civil War years in the city.

Anne Pillsbury Marshall's letters run from 1841 through 1855. Her letters cease before her emigration to Kansas in 1855.

The correspondence of Lavinia Pillsbury Andrews runs from 1837 to 1871. She was the most active correspondent in the family, keeping in touch with the entire family and a number of friends. Her daughters Sarah and Anne were also active correspondents. Sarah's letters run from 1869 to 1894. Sarah wrote most of her letters to her parents and sister while at school in Concord, New Hampshire from 1869 to 1871. Anne's letters to her parents and sister run from 1871 to 1888. Eva Weston kept up an active correspondence with her cousin Sarah Andrews from 1865 on. Many of her letters describe her life in Lawrence, Kansas after 1874.

Physical Location

RH MS 233

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Elizabeth Horton, 1975.

Related Materials

Additional Pillsbury family papers available in the Pillsbury family papers, RH MS 802, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Additional Information

A family tree is available at ksrl.kc.pillsburywestonfamilytree.ead.pdf.

Guide to the Pillsbury-Weston Collection
Pillsbury-Weston family correspondence
Finding aid prepared by jom, May 1981. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2018; mwh, 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid writtenin<language> English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Pillsbury-Weston family correspondence, RH MS 233, 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