The Journeys of

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder



Laura Ingalls Wilder





Pepin, Wisconsin

Little House In The Big Woods ~ Det lille hus i den store skov

1867 - 1868


Caroline Lake Quiner and Charles Phillip Ingalls ca. 1860


Caroline Lake Quiner and Charles Phillip Ingalls were married in Concord, Wisconsin in 1860, and settled in their Little House in the Big Woods 7 miles outside of Pepin, Wisconsin. Here their oldest daughter, Mary Amelia Ingalls, was born in 1865, and Laura Elizabeth Ingalls followed on February 7th, 1867.



Independence, Kansas

Little House on the Prairie ~ Det lille hus på prærien

1869 - 1871


In 1868 Charles and Caroline decided to go west and homestead, and they traveled by covered wagon to an area southwest of Independence, Kansas, a trip that lasted nearly a year. When they arrived the land office in Independence turned out to be closed, but Charles decided to go ahead and find a piece of land he liked and settle there anyway, which was a mistake that soon proved fateful.
Charles and Caroline built their little house on the prairie. They began to cultivate the land, and Caroline gave birth to yet another little girl, Caroline Celestia "Carrie" Ingalls, in 1870.
But when the Osage Indians returned from their hunt, it turned out that the Ingalls family had settled on Osage land, and the Indians, who in 1868 had signed a contract for their land in the Kansas Reserve, while not outwardly aggressive, were hostile and wanted the settlers to leave. In 1871 the United States Government mandated that the settlers leave, and Charles and Caroline packed up their three girls in the wagon and headed back to Pepin, Wisconsin.



Pepin, Wisconsin

Little House In The Big Woods ~ Det lille hus i den store skov
1871 - 1873


Upon returning from Kansas, Charles and Caroline were able to repurchase their old house in the woods, and they lived here once more, until 1873, when they sold the home and moved to Walnut Grove.



Walnut Grove, Minnesota

On the Banks of Plum Creek ~ Det lille hus ved floden
1874 - 1876


Caroline Celestia "Carrie", Mary Amelia, and Laura Elizabeth Ingalls


When the Ingalls family first came to Walnut Grove, they lived the first nine months in a dugout sod house on the banks of Plum Creek, while Charles built their wooden house. That first year Charles' crop, which had looked promising, was destroyed by locusts, a disaster that was repeated the next year when the locust eggs hatched.
With the crop destroyed, Charles and Caroline were not able to pay for the materials used to build their house, so without income and saddled by debt they both had to work at other farms and do odd jobs around town in order to make ends meet.
It was during this time Charles and Caroline had a little boy, Charles Frederick, who was nicknamed Freddie. Freddie died at nine months of age on the family's journey to Burr Oak, Iowa. The cause of death is uncertain, but it is noteworthy that many years later Laura and Almanzo's baby boy died as well, as did their daughter Rose Lane Wilder's baby boy, so it may have been some sort of hereditary defect manifesting itself in the family's baby boys not being viable.



Burr Oak, Iowa

1876 - 1878


Grace Pearl Ingalls ca. 1878


After two years of locusts completely obliterating the harvest, Charles and Caroline, desperate for money, moved to Burr Oak, Iowa, to manage the Masters' Hotel. The stay only lasted about a year, because Charles and Caroline didn't feel an environment of whiskey, fist fights, and gambling was a suitable or safe one for bringing up their girls, and they soon returned to Walnut Grove. Little Grace, their youngest daughter, was born in Burr Oak.



Walnut Grove, Minnesota

On the Banks of Plum Creek ~ Det lille hus ved floden

1878 - 1879


Mary Amelia Ingalls


In 1879, after their return to Walnut Grove from Burr Oak, Iowa, tragedy struck the Ingalls family once more. Mary became sick, most likely with scarlet fever, resulting in her eventual blindness, and shortly after the family made their last move, this time to South Dakota.



De Smet, South Dakota

By the Shores of Silver Lake ~ Huset ved soen
The Long Winter ~ Den Lange Vinter
The Town on the Prairie ~ Byen på prærien
These Happy Golden Years ~ De gyldne lykkeår
The First Four Years ~ De første fire år

1879 - 1894


Charles and Caroline Quiner Ingalls


After returning to Walnut Grove from Burr Oak, Caroline put her foot down and told Charles that this was it, she was done moving, and she wasn't going to do it anymore. Charles, who badly wanted to follow the railroad west, talked her into moving one last time, and this is how they came to DeSmet, where they remained for the rest of their lives.


Laura Elizabeth Ingalls and Almanzo James Wilder ca. 1884


At the age of 15 Laura received a teaching certificate, and took jobs as a teacher to help pay for Mary's tuition at the institute for the blind. It was on one of her teaching assignments she met Almanzo James Wilder, whom she eventually married.


Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder ca. 1886


In 1886 Laura and Almanzo had a little girl, Rose. Aside from an infant boy they lost two years later, Laura and Almanzo never had any other babies, and Rose remained an only child.


Rose Wilder, daughter of Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder, ca. 1889


Laura and Almanzo had some bad years in DeSmet. They not only lost their infant son, but after their initial harvest, which gave them a decent outcome, all their harvests failed for various reasons. Later they lost their home, which burned down when Laura was putting hay in the cooking stove, and some sparks ignited the hay bale that was sitting in the kitchen. Finally a bout with diphteria infected both Laura and Almanzo, and eventually left Almanzo crippled, a condition he dealt with for the rest of his life.


Ingalls Family ca. 1894
Caroline, Carrie, Laura, Charles, Grace, and Mary


Caroline and Charles Ingalls



Mansfield, Missouri

On the Way Home ~ På vej mod vort hjem

1894 - 1957


Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder ca. 1894


In 1894, after so much bad luck in DeSmet, Laura and Almanzo hitched up the wagon. They packed up Rose and a few of their most precious belongings, and with a hundred dollars to their name, they went out to look for a place to settle. They chose Mansfield in the Missouri Ozarks, and there they built their Rocky Ridge Farm, where they lived and died, and where Laura eventually handwrote all her books, a project she did not start till she was in her 60s.


Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, 1936


Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1948








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