Information About Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in Walnut Grove with her family and never dreamed her Little House books would one day entertain the world.

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born on February 7, 1867 in Big Woods, Wisconsin. She learned to word paint by describing how things looked to her blind sister. Mary had suffered a stroke at a young age and lost her sight so Laura served as her sister's eyes.

Laura's parents were Caroline and Charles Ingalls. Charles was a private person and whenever folks moved in too close; he would pack up his family and move them on by covered wagon, still looking for his promised land.

Laura's first book, Little House in the Bigwoods, was about her first home where she was born. She included everything she could remember about the little cabin, even the sound of Pa's ax and a little square in the door for the kitty to crawl through.

In Little House on the Prairie, she continues telling the story of her family. She writes about their journey to Kansas and how Jack, the bulldog trotted along beside the wagon. In, On the Banks of Plum Creek, she writes about moving again to Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

Laura never tells about her little brother, Freddie Ingalls in any of her books. He died while on their journey to Iowa to help friends run a hotel. Perhaps it was too painful for her to bring up the memories. Later, the Ingalls family moved back to Walnut Groove. From there, Pa Ingalls sets off for the west laying tracks for the railroad.

In By the Shores of Silver Lake, the Ingalls family takes off to join Pa in the Dakota Territory. At age 15, Laura earned her teaching certificate and was hired to teach at a school 12 miles away. Laura meets Almanzo Wilder in DeSmet. They married on August 25, 1885 and a few years later they moved to Mississippi and became farmers. It is here, Laura raises her prize Leghorn hens and becomes the household editor for the Missouri Ruralist Magazine.



The Wilders have a daughter, Rose and she grows up listening to her mother tell stories of the pioneer days. Rose becomes a newspaper reporter and encourages her mother to write down everything she remembers about growing up. Then conflict strikes the Wilder family. Almanzo caught diphtheria and was left crippled. Their second child, a boy, died and their big farmhouse accidentally caught on fire.

They left DeSmet and traveled to Spring Valley Minnesota to live with Almanzo's parents. From there they moved to Westville, Florida in the hopes of improving Almanzo's health. Although his health did improved, Laura was unable to stand the intense Florida heat so in 1892 they returned to DeSmet. Two years later they traveled to the Ozarks of Missouri and bought Rocky Ridge Farm.

In 1930 Laura wrote her autobiography Pioneer Girl, but unable to find a publisher she rewrote part of it as Little House in the Big Woods. Children loved it and begged for more of Laura Ingalls stories and the Little House Books were born.

Laura's stories are classified as historical fiction but today some call it faction, fiction with facts weaved in and out. Little did Laura Ingalls know when she was writing of her adventures that one day a man named Michael Landon would turn her life into a television series called, Little House on the Prairie.

Today, many tourist travel to the towns that Laura once lived in. They especially love Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri where her stories were written. The house is open to visitors and has a display of family items including Pa's fiddle. The lined yellow writing tablets that Laura wrote her stories on are enclosed in glass cases.

Almanzo died on October 23, 1949 at age 92 and Laura Ingalls Wilder died on February 10, 1957 at Rocky Ridge Farm at age 90. Although she is gone, her memory will live forever in the hearts and books of her readers.

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