Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was Born

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder used her experienc...

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder used her experiences growing up near De Smet as the basis for four of her novels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was born February 7, 1867 to Charles Phillip Ingalls and Caroline Lake (Quiner) Ingalls. She was the second of five children, the eldest Mary Amelia, who became blind as a teenager, Caroline Celestia; Charles Frederick, who died when he was an infant; and Grace Pearl.

Laura documented her life in Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota. Living the life on the prairie they ran into Indians and other settlers. Her father took odd jobs when possible. As a young girl I read the books she was to have published, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silvery Lake, The Long Winter, and These Happy Golden Years.

Laura studied and became a teacher. She later met her love, Almanzo Wilder or Manly as she called him. They married on August 25, 1885 in De Smet, South Dakota.

On December 5, 1886, she gave birth to Rose. After a severe drought and debt along with illness that left Manly walking with a cane. Laura took a paid position as a columnist for the Missouri Ruralist in 1911. She wrote a column called, “As a Farm Woman Thinks,” capturing many farmers in the area and gaining regular readership. In the 1920s she started working for the Farm Loan Association on the side. In 1929 they were wiped out with the stock market crash, but thankful Laura was writing. In 1932 her first book was published.

Cover of

Cover of These Happy Golden Years (Little House)

More books were published about her life, an autobiography. Her life was later televised by Michael Landon in the series, Little House on the Prairie. Melissa Gilbert played Laura Ingalls. There was a more detailed movie of her life named, Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder (but parts were still fictional).

Her life touched ours for many years. For me this show was a constant. I grew up reading the books. She lead a hard life, but times were definitely different. It was a time of discovery. Laura became a teacher because she knew she may be needed to help bring money into the home. She had to be able to survive if she were by herself or be able to take care of her family. She took odd jobs just as her father did. But when she was able to take a chance to do what she loved, she took it, and if she hadn’t when the stock market crashed, maybe they not have survived. I can’t really say, it was a different time. She managed.




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One response to “Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was Born

  1. Pingback: Tennessee Williams was Born | Journal of an Academic Dreamer

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