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Josiah Hobart Pillsbury Family Papers


The Pillsbury Family Papers (1848-1958), were donated to Kansas State University by the descendants of Josiah Hobart Pillsbury in 1954-55.

The papers are housed in two document boxes. They are divided into six series: 1) diary, 1858-1860; 2) survey book, (1860); 3) correspondence, 1848-1958; 4) literary works, 1932-1940; 5) research, and 6) printed material. Photographs have been transferred to the photograph collection of the University Archives.

Processing of the papers was completed by Patty Emmerich, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Kansas State University. The project was completed under the University Archives internship program during the spring semester, 1990.

This collection was accessioned as PC 90, (revised number, PC 1988.20).

Biographical Sketch

1821        Born in Hebron, Grafton County, New Hampshire, a son, Josiah Hobart Pillsbury, 
               to Stephen and Lavinia (Hobart) Pillsbury.

1840        Taught in public schools and farming in the summers, at the age of nineteen.

1844        Clerked in a store in New York City, but returned in the fall to teaching in Orange County, 
               New York, and later Londonderry, New Hampshire.

1844-1845   Studied engineering and worked for the National Anti-Slavery Standard, in New York.

1847        Worked at a newspaper Anglo-Saxon, during the spring.

1847        Set up The Eagle, (a reform paper printed with a phonetic alphabet), during the fall.

1847        Failed health, so left New York City to go "upstate" to teach.  While in the area, met Horace Greeley, 
               and became a part of the anti-slavery crusade.

1847-1848   Returned to Londonderry and located on R farm. He became a carpenter, and studied surveying and 
               civil engineering.

1853        Married Alnora Pervier on August 16.

1854        Born to Josiah and Alnora (Pervier) Pillsbury, a son, Arthur Judson, on January 31.

1854        Migrated to Kansas as part of the third New England Emigrant Aid group.

1855        Chosen as a (free-stater) delegate to the Topeka Constitutional Convention.

1855-1863   Located family on Deep Creek in Zeandale Township.

1856        Located the post office in the Pillsbury cabin. (Josiah H. Pillsbury as assistant postmaster
               and Alnora Pillsbury as clerk.)

1858        Born to Josiah and Alnora (Pervier) Pillsbury, a daughter, Annie M. on January 25.

1860        Held post of Justice of the Peace for Zeandale Township.

1860        Born to Josiah and Alnora (Pervier) Pillsbury, a  daughter, Ellen, on March 5.

1863        Moved to Manhattan, Kansas with his family in June.

1863-1872   Elected surveyor for the county.

1863        Bought the Western Kansas Express, and changed the name to The Independent, (a free-state newspaper.)

1868        Death of Alnora (Pervier) Pillsbury on July 15. She bore eight children, four of which survived to
               adulthood; Arthur Judson, Annie M. (Annie Pillsbury Young), Nellie (Ellen Pillsbury Ellsworth Martin), 
               and Mary A. (Mary Pillsbury Akerley.)

1868-1870   Held the job of deputy collector of Internal Revenue.

1869-1879   Postmaster for Manhattan, Kansas.

1870        Married Mrs. Emma Steele on November 4.

1874        Divorce of Josiah and Emma (Steele) Pillsbury.

1879        Death of Josiah Hobart Pillsbury on November 12.

1936        Memorial honoring Josiah Hobart Pillsbury with 'Pillsbury Drive' by the city of Manhattan, Kansas on 
               August 25.


Geiger, Marilyn L. "Zeandale Township, 1854-1894," a master's thesis, Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science, 1958.

Personal Papers, Pillsbury Family, Kansas State University Archives, Manhattan, Kansas,

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, Kansas State University Archives, Manhattan, Kansas,

Scope and Content Note

The Pillsbury Family Papers (1848-1958), contain a diary, a survey book, correspondence, literary works, research, and printed material. The papers, consisting of approximately 150 items, are housed in two document boxes.

The papers are divided into six series l) diary, 1858-1860, 2) survey book, (1860); 3) correspondence, 1848-1958, 4) literary works, 1932-1940; 5) research; and 6) printed material. The major portion of the collection consists of material from Annie Pillsbury Young, daughter of Josiah H. and Alnora (Pervier) Pillsbury.

The first and second series containing a diary (1858-1860) and a survey book (1860) of Josiah H. Pillsbury have significant historical information about his life in the Zeandale Township area, as well as his civil engineering pursuits.

The copy of the diary has been translated by Mrs. E.M. Platt of Manhattan, Kansas, as it was in Isaac Pittman shorthand of 1850-60 period. The location of the original diary is unknown. The second folder contains page markers containing notes taken from the copy of the diary. Page numbers have been recorded on the markers for future reference.

The diary of Josiah H. Pillsbury documents family history of the Pillsbury clan from 1858 to 1860 in the Zeandale Township area. Recorded are trials of illness and disease, weather hazards, and political turmoil of the period. Through the diary, however, Josiah H. Pillsbury remains a devoted family man, dedicated to preserving a community for which a family could be proud to reside. The work ethic was ingrained in him, as exemplified by being a carpenter, farmer, surveyor, newspaperman, political delegate, teacher, assistant clergyman, and postmaster, during his lifetime.

Josiah H. Pillsbury was meticulous with numbers. The survey book (1860) has records of transactions for school, house, and fence building. A major portion is devoted to surveying for road construction into the Manhattan, Kansas area.

The correspondence of the Pillsbury Family Papers is the third series in the collection. It is basically composed of letters of Annie Pillsbury Young, daughter of Josiah H. and Alnora (Pervier) Pillsbury. The time period ranges from 1848 through 1958. Mrs. Young was a prolific writer with numerous personal as well as business letters in the seven folders. Many of the letters involved correspondence with her sister Nellie on family concerns. Much of the business correspondence pertained to family genealogy.

Folder four contains early letters dated 1871, Folder five contains typescript from 1848 to 1872, The location of the originals is unknown. Both sections give insight into the strong commitment to religion and family life of the Pillsbury family. Also, a firm belief that migrating to the Kansas area was the way of the future.

Literary Works comprise the fourth series in the collection. Annie Pillsbury Young devoted time to writing essays and poetry. Some of the material appears to be partially autobiographical, such as "When Mother Was A Girl". She presented many of these writings to the newspaper for printing and to the literary societies' reading circles. The series, ranging in years 1932 to 1940, is contained in thirteen folders.

The fifth series is devoted to research on the Pillsbury Family Biographical notes, as well as the personal accounts of Annie Pillsbury Young are incorporated in this section of material. The "Civic Center," in particular, should be of interest to researchers wanting insight into her father's dreams of success for Zeandale Township. Five folders house the research series of the collection.

Printed Material is the sixth series in the Pillsbury Family Papers. This folder contains newspaper clippings, songs, and a brief excerpt about Josiah H. Pillsbury, by his son, Arthur J. Pillsbury.

Four photographs have been removed from the papers and filed in the University Archives photograph collection. A list of the photographs is located after the container list.

Container List

Box  Folder

1      01        Diary, Josiah H. Pillsbury, 1858-1860
       02        Diary, page markers
       03        Survey Book, (1860)
       04           (1871)
       05           Typescripts, 1848-1872
       06           1907
       07           1957-1958
                    Book Enclosures
       08               Notes of William Herschel, ND
       09               Letter - Lord Northwick, ND
       10               Letters - Senator A Capper, 1948
                 Literary Works - Annie P. Young
       11           "Alongside" Chapters 1-8, 1932
       12           "Alongside" Chapters 9-10, 1932
       13           "Second Book" Chapters 1-2
       14           "Second Book" Chapters 3-Addenda
       15           "When Mother Was A Girl", 1933
       16           "The Passing of Dr. Harrie" and "Christmas Carol"
       17           "The Kansas River"
       18           Various Essays
       19           "The Clergyman...."
       20           "The Greater Love"
       21           "The Little Sinner"
       22           Miscellaneous
       23           Poetry, 1940
2      01           Biographical Notes
       02           Annie P. Young, "Civic Center"
       03           Annie P. Young, Personal Accounts of Josiah H. Pillsbury, pp. 1-30
       04           Annie P. Young, Personal Accounts of Josiah H. Pillsbury, pp  31-47
       05           Miscellaneous
       06        Printed Material