Saturday, July 5, 2008


Born: February 7, 1867
Pepin, Wisconsin
Died: February 10, 1957
Mansfield, Missouri

American writer

American author Laura Ingalls Wilder was the creator of the much-loved children’s series of “Little House” books that recounted her life as a young girl on the Western frontier during the late 1800s.

Raised on the American prairie

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born Laura Elizabeth Ingalls on February 7, 1867, in Pepin, Wisconsin, the second of four children. She once described her father, Charles Philip Ingalls, as always jolly and sometimes reckless. Her mother, Caroline Lake Quiner, was educated, gentle, and proud, according to her daughter. Her sisters, all of whom would eventually appear in her books, were Mary, Carrie, and Grace. Laura also had a younger brother, Charles, Jr. (nicknamed Freddie), who died at the age of only nine months.

As a young girl, Laura moved with her family from place to place across America’s heartland. In 1874, the Ingalls family left Wisconsin for Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where they lived at first in a dugout house. Two years later, the family moved to Burr Oak, Iowa, where Charles became part-owner of a hotel. By the fall of 1877, however, they had all returned to Walnut Grove. In 1879, the Ingalls family moved again, this time to homestead in the Dakota Territory.

The family finally settled in what would become De Smet, South Dakota, which remained Charles and Caroline’s home until they died. Their second winter in De Smet was one of the worst on record. Numerous blizzards prevented trains from delivering any supplies, essentially cutting off the town from December until May. Years later, Laura wrote about her experiences as a young teenager trying to survive the cold temperatures and lack of food, firewood, and other necessities.

Laura attended regular school whenever possible. However, because of her family’s frequent moves, she was largely self-taught. In 1882, at the age of fifteen, she received her teaching certificate. For three years, Laura taught at a small country school a dozen miles from her home in De Smet and boarded with a family who lived nearby.


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