Monday, June 14, 2010

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder

LAURA ELIZABETH "Bess" INGALLS WILDER (1867 – 1957) = Pioneer, Schoolteacher, Columnist, Author. Best known for her book called "Little House on the Prairie." The semi-fictional television series starring Michael Landon as Pa and Melissa Gilbert as Laura was based on her autobiographical books written for children. Born on February 7, 1867, in Wisconsin, she was the second child of Charles and Caroline Quiner Ingalls.
When Laura was three, the Ingalls moved to Kansas, traveling through Missouri, to the Verdigris River, ten miles from the present-day town of Independence. Pa built a log home there, near an Indian trail. The following year they moved back to Wisconsin. She didn't come back to Kansas until 1894 when she passed through the state on her way south to Mansfield, Missouri. At that time, Mansfield boasted a Methodist and a Presbyterian church, but not a Congregational one like Laura's Pa had helped organize in DeSmet, SD.
Laura married Almonzo James Wilder (1857-1949) or "Manly" as she called him, in 1885 and homesteaded near De Smet, Dakota Territory. They had two children, a daughter named Rose Wilder Lane (1886-1968), who became a famous journalist after she grew up and a boy who lived only a few weeks. Mama Bess and Manly were married 64 years. Manly passed away at the age of 92 and Laura, three days after she turned 90.
Sunday was a day not only to worship God in church, but also a day to visit with friends pioneer farmers might not see all week. Laura's Pa once gave three dollars to a church bell fund and the Wilders were active in the building of a Methodist Church in Spring Valley, MN in 1876. After coming to Missouri, Laura and Almanzo attended Methodist camp meetings.

A Quote by Laura Ingalls Wilder:

"Our ideal home should be made by a man and woman together."
Manly built this first home for Laura in Mansfield, Missouri. Our Tour Guide is standing on the front porch.

More to Read: (This is a short list of the books written about Laura Ingalls Wilder.)
1. Laura Ingalls Wilder: Little House in the Ozarks. Ed. By Stephen W. Hines.
Thomas Nelson, 1991.
2.100 Authors Who Shaped World History. By Christine N. Perkins. 1996.
3. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Fairy Poems. Compiled by: Stephen W. Hines.1998.
4. Who Were They Really? The True Stories Behind Famous Characters. By
Susan Beth Pfeffer. 1999.
5. Visiting the Homesites of Laura Ingalls Wilder with Barb Hawkins VHS.
Camelot Studios, 2000.
6. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Storyteller of the Prairie. by Ginger Wadsworth
7. Little House Traveler: Writings from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Journeys
Across America. By Laura Ingalls Wilder. Harper-Collins; 2006.
8. Laura Ingalls Wilder: Farm Journalist. Ed. By Stephen W Hines. 2007.
Missouri Legends: Famous People from the Show-Me State. By John W.
Brown., 2008.
9. The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Author of The Little House on the Prairie. Donald Zochert. 1976.
10. The Ghost in the Little Hill: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane. William Holtz. 1993.
11. Missouri Death Certificate: #11919
12. Findagrave # 1625

Writings by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Little House in the Big Woods (1932);
Farmer Boy (1933); Little House on the Prairie (1935);On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937); By the Shores of the Silver Lake (1939); The Long Winter (1940);Little Town on the Prairie (1941); These Happy Golden Years (1943); and The First Four Years (1971);
poetry such as  "The Sunshine Fairy"

Places to Visit in MO. & KS:
1. Rocky Ridge Farm, 3068 Highway A, Mansfield, MO. 65704
2. Laura Ingalls Wilder Library. Mansfield, MO
3. Mansfield, Mo. Cemetery
4. Little House On the Prairie log house replica, US Hwy 75, Independence, Ks. (13 miles SW of Independence).


Our Field Trip:
I finally found the photo I snapped of the replica of the Ingalls cabin the first weekend of October, 1992. My husband, son, and I were on a weekend holiday to Coffeyville, KS. for the 100th Anniversary of the Dalton Raid on the Banks and we veered over to Independence, KS. to see it on the way down.
My great-grandparents owned a café on Main Street and the Farmers Motel in Coffeyville, in 1892 and were "front row" witnesses to the original bank robberies.


Extras For the (Home) Educator:
1. The History Chicks featured article
2. Laura Ingalls Wilder Frontier Girl website
3. Garden of Praise website on Wilder
4. Here is a Sunbonnet Card inspired by Laura.
5. Homeschooling Unit Study and Lapbook Ideas 
6. A printable Laura Ingalls Wilder quote