Smith, Bottomly & Lill Family Papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk P1987.10

Level of description



Smith, Bottomly & Lill Family Papers


  • 1832-1984 (Creation)


3.00 Linear Feet, 6.00 Boxes

Name of creator


Biographical history

George Smith was born January 15, 1809 in Burlington, Chittendon County, Vermont, the son of John and Mary Smith. In 1832, he began his law career in Vermont, Moved to Illinois, and eventually settled in the Iowa Territory. Mr. Smith served as a county judge from 1837-1841 in Tipton, Cedar County, Iowa and then resumed his law practice. On March 26, 1845, he married Elizabeth Davy Richards, whose family had recently immigrated from Devonshire, England. They had six children: Mary Eliza, Marcia Emma, Flora Ella, Frank Melville, Rollin George, and Jenny Lind. In 1871, George Smith set out alone to settle a homestead in smith County, Kansas. He died of suffocation on September 4, 1872 when the dug-out he was living in caved-in. His youngest daughter, Jenny Lind Smith, was born December 26, 1856 in Tipton, Iowa. She taught school at Dubuque High School in Dubuque, Iowa from 1875-79 and then moved to Kansas with her mother and brother Frank in 1880. In Kansas, she met and married Volney Bottomly in November 1882. They had two children, Herbert Jefferson and Helen Elizabeth. Mrs. Bottomly died on March 20, 1950. Helen Elizabeth Bottomly was born December 9, 1886 in Cedarville, Smith County, Kansas. She graduated from Kansas State Agricultural College in 1905. She taught school for a year in Cleburne, a country school north of Manhattan, Kansas. She then attended Kansas Wesleyan College in Salina the next year. On May 6, 1908 she married Percy Eugene Lill, son of Michael and Joanna Lill of rural Mt. Hope, Kansas. Percy had two brothers, Harry and Joe, and two sisters, Genevieve and Gertrude. Percy and Elizabeth Lill lived on a farm near Mt. Hope for most of their lives but moved to Oxford in 1947. They had seven children including Marjorie Elizabeth, Eugene Michael, Volney Bottomly, Wayne Percy, Gordon Grigsby, Dean Thomas, and Richard Alan. All but one, Volney, received degrees at Kansas State and he alone of the brothers did not fight in World War II. Dean Lill was killed in action in November 1944, in Germany and was buried in Holland. The rest of the family are all married and living in various locations in the U.S. Their parents, Percy and Helen Lill, have both passed away, he on July 28, 1967, and her on October 22, 1977.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Smith, Bottomly, and Lill Family Papers, 1827-1984, document four generations of a family. The collection focuses primarily on George Smith between 1827-72, to a lesser extent on his children and grandchildren (the Bottomlys'), and then increases in volume with the next generation (the Lills'), especially between 1934-45.
In the first series, journals and diaries, there are four items. Included in one of the journals is an interesting account of George Smith's trip from Iowa to Nebraska by wagon in 1865.
Correspondence (1828-1984), the second series in the collection, is housed in three document boxes and comprises the largest series in the collection. Items within the series are organized chronologically. The bulk of the items are the incoming and outgoing correspondence from 1934-45 between Percy and Helen Lill and their seven children, most of whom were either attending Kansas State College, preparing for military duty, or actively fighting overseas in World War II. Correspondence among family and friends, while the Lill brothers were attending K-State, describes student life. Also included in the collection are some letters by their mother, Helen Bottomly Lill, when she attended K-State from 1900-05. Perhaps the most significant items in the collection, however, are the early Smith family correspondence from 1828-41 because of its description of life in Vermont and the settlement of the Midwest particularly Iowa.
Contained in the third series, literary works, are speeches and essays housed in five folders. Although some of the works are undated, most were, apparently, penned by George Smith.
In the next series, education, there are a variety of items including diplomas, school programs, teachers' certificates, and grade cards. These items are diverse and cover the period from 1927-1953 and are contained in two folders.
The fifth series, medicine, contains a single item, a 1921 handwritten cold remedy.
The sixth series, Booth Association, is housed in one folder. This organization was formed on November 15, 1854, in New York by descendants of the Booth family of England, who claim to be the lawful heirs of the Booth family estates. Included in the materials are the association's constitution and by-laws, a membership fee receipt, certificate, and newsletter made out to George Smith, and a broadside removed to a larger flat box because of its size.
In the seventh series, financial documents, there are many items dating from 1837-1953; ledgers, receipts, bank statements, tax information, and related pieces. These materials are organized chronologically with the ledgers filed separately at the end of the series.
Genealogy, the eighth series, is separated by surname. There are some original handwritten items placed at the beginning of the series but most of the materials are photocopied, typed, or handwritten reproductions of original documents. These materials, contained in eleven folders, provide biographical information about the families.
The ninth series, printed materials, consists of Christmas and greeting cards, advertising cards, certificates, and miscellaneous items. These are housed in five folders.
The last series, photographs, are separated by family surname, specifically, or more generally, as family and friends. All negatives and tintypes are identified. Unidentified photographs are filed at the end of the series. Photographs of locations in Kansas, particularly of the campus at K-State, have been removed and placed in the University Archives photograph collection.

System of arrangement

The papers are contained in six document boxes and one oversize flatbox (3.0 linear feet) spanning the years 1827-1984. They are divided into eleven series: 1) journals and diaries, 1865, 1877- 79; 2)correspondence, 1828-1984; 3) literary works, 1851-68, 1870's; 4) education, 1827-1953; 5) medicine, 1921; 6) Booth Association, 1854-63; 7) financial documents, 1837-1953; 8) genealogy; 9) legal documents, 1832-1942; 10) printed materials; and 11) photographs.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No access restriction:  All materials are open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The reseacher assumes full responsbility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Processing of the papers was completed by Pam Neuschafer in June 1988. This collection's accession number is PC 60, and revised to number, PC 1987.10 (P1987.10).

Immediate source of acquisition

Acqusition Source: The Smith, Bottomly, and Lill Family Papers were donated to the University Archive in June 1987 by Gordon G. Lill. Several family members studied and received degrees at Kansas State University and th
Acqusition Method: Donation.
Acqusition Date: 19870615

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

The bulk of the collection is the incoming and outgoing correspondence, between 1934-45, when five of the Lill brothers were attending Kansas State College, preparing for military duty, or fighting overseas during World War II. There are also numerous resources in the collection from the period 1827-1872 including correspondence, journals and diaries, and legal and financial documents kept by George Smith. Of particular interest, is a diary kept by Smith while travelling by wagon from Iowa to Nebraska in 1865. Photographs in the collection have been transferred to the photograph collection of the University Archives. Some materials, because of their size, were removed and placed in an oversized flatbox. There are no restrictions regarding access to the papers.


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Smith, Bottomly & Lill Family papers,  Box [number], Folder [number or title] Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Alternative identifier(s)

Archon Collection ID


Description control element

Rules or conventions

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Sources used

Archivist's note

Processing Info: Processing of the papers was completed by Pam Neuschafer in June 1988. Archon processing by Edward Nagurny, graduate teaching assistant, June 2015.
Publication Date: 2015-06-19

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Accession area