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“Once upon a time, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little grey house made of logs, her name was Laura Ingalls.” This log cabin was where her first memories would be created; she was born February 7, 1867, in the home built by her parents Charles and Caroline Ingalls. The setting of Wisconsin would be the basis for her first book, Little House, and the Big Woods. Laura wrote it over sixty years later after she left the home. Her book is filled with stories and memories of her childhood about trials, tales of good times, and a map of American history. According to Laura, her memories, “were stories that had to be told”. Laura said “I wanted children to understand more about the beginnings of things- what it is that made America. Children today, could not have a childhood like mine in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, but they could learn of it and hear the stories that Pa used to tell.” One of her most cheerful memories was the winter evening, in the cabin with her family. The fire shimmered in the fireplace, the work was completed for the day, and her Pa began playing his fiddle and told them his favorite stories “The evening storm winds howled outside The snow with darkness fell; And the firelight and the shadows, Wove many a magic spell, As I listened to the stories That Father use to tell.”


  • Laura Ingalls Wilder, the women who shared her experience of the Prairie to children everywhere.
  • "Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the first of her eight novels: Little House in the Big Woods. Her books would go on to sell 60 million copies. This story was about this house and the people and stories shared within it."
  • "The Little House, The Big Woods of Wisconsin: Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder BirthPlace"
  • Here is: Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder
"The girl who acted as Laura Ingalls Wilder in the famous TV series: the Little House on the Prairie"

Laura Ingalls Wilder illustrates her childhood as “full of sunshine and shadow.” Growing up, she and her Pa, Ma, sisters, and brother frequently moved from one town to the next. Her family experienced harsh winters, crop and business (hotel) failures. In 1874, the Ingalls left their home in Wisconsin, to the Kansas prairie, Native American country of the Osage tribe. Afraid for good reason, the Osage tribe, didn’t want settlers to push them out of their home. Laura remembered the Indian war chants as the tribes discussed taking the land back. When her father heard of the US army coming into the area to zone off the Native Americans the family packed and moved back to their Pepin farm in Wisconsin. The family reminisced about good times in Wisconsin: prime fishing in Lake Pepin, hunting the woods, strawberries on the hill, and a growing wheat field. Her father, however, did not want to stay long; he had the ambition to move west. Laura describes her dad as a “jolly person, but was inclined to be reckless.” Her mother was more careful when it came to making big decisions.1-19

 

      In Wisconsin, she lived close to other family members, her Uncle Henry (her mom’s brother) and Aunt Polly (her father’s sister). She shares memories of her father hunting and fishing preparing for winter. “The wagon box was full and some of them were so lone the more reached across the wagon box. Father had been to Lake Pepin, seven miles away and caught them with a net. There were so many fish and so few people, in those days that it was not wrong to do so.” Sitting by her fire, she watches her father melt bits of led into bullets for hunting. She describes salting down the meat for winter; this was one way her family would preserve food. Additionally, there was a garden that was previously started when they moved back. It was full of carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips, and cabbage. They stored it away along with other crops: onions, pumpkins, and squash.1-19

 

     Laura recalls playing indoors as the snow fell, “one day the sun was nearly hidden by smoke all day.” When the work was done, her Ma would cut out paper dolls and allowed the children use the stove for their “playhouse dinners”. On occasion, when Pa would finish work before the girls went to bed, they enjoyed playing a game called ‘mad- dog’. Her dad “would run his fingers through his through his hair standing it all to one end. Then he would get on all fours and growl chasing the girls all around the room, trying to corner them so they couldn’t get away.” The family would also, bundle up and take turns sledding in one big slay on special days like Christmas for fun. Laura had fond memories living in Wisconsin, but the itch her father had about moving west came over time. Throughout, her lifetime, she moved to multiple different places with her family, and her husband Almanzo Wilder.1-19

 

     Because they moved frequently, Laura and her sibling taught one another. Laura was unenthusiastic about going to school at first, but her dad reminded her the importance of education; “…it isn’t everybody that gets a chance to learn to read and write and cipher,” he told his daughters. Laura’s mom had been a teacher when her parents met. Caroline wanted her children to receive an education at every opportunity. Laura and her sisters would go to every school house near where they lived. For a short time, she went to Barry Corner School in Pepin County, Wisconsin at age 4. However, she was taught to read before, becoming a student. When Laura was older, she became a school teacher in Dakota Territory, and at Bouchie School about twelve miles from her parents’ home, around 1882. Although she did not graduate high school Laura passed the certifications exam at 15 years old and began teaching. Her sister Mary Ingalls, also became a teacher and graduated from Iowa College of the Blind in 1889.1-19

 

     Laura began writing her memories of her childhood into children’s books to share a part of life that many people will never experience. The first time she showed her stories to publishers they rejected them, telling her it was a waste of time to write for children. However, in the midst of the Depression, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the first of her eight novels: Little House in the Big Woods. Her books would go on to sell 60 million copies. This story was about this house and the people and stories shared within it. She explains her life through a child’s eyes living a pioneer life: describing how her father hunted for food, her family growing in the garden, and how hey built everything they had with their bare hands. In cheerful detail, she writes about Christmas morning with gifts of paper dolls, candy, and red mittens. Additionally, talking about her first ride into town, the harvest, and her jolly Pa playing the fiddle. Overall, “not only does she tell the stories of her life through these novels, but what life could be like if you live up to the best ideals.” 1-19

Biography.com Editors. Laura Ingalls Wilder Biography.com. Biography.com. July 20, 2017. Accessed November 01, 2017. https://www.biography.com/people/laura-ingalls-wilder-9531246. Learn about Lauren Ingalls.1

Lee, Robert B.. Telling Laura Ingalls Wilder's Story. The Journal Times. September 10, 2017. Accessed November 01, 2017. http://journaltimes.com/lifestyles/relationships-and-special-occasions/telling-laura-ingalls-wilder-.... 2

Brammer, Rebecca. Laura Ingalls Wilder Frontier Girl. May 19, 2008. Accessed November 01, 2017. http://www.liwfrontiergirl.com. 3

Greetham, Phil. Laura Ingalls Wilder Frontier Girl. May 19, 2008. Accessed November 01, 2017. http://www.liwfrontiergirl.com/4

Rebecca Brammer & Phil Greetham. Pepin, Wisconsin. Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society. http://www.liwfrontiergirl.com/pepin.html. Copyright © 1996 - 20085



Wisconsin Historical Society. Wilder, Laura Ingalls (1867-1957). Wisconsin Historical Society. Accessed November 01, 2017. https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS557.6

Mumford, Tracy. Where the Wilder things are: The Laura Ingalls Wilder road trip. MPR News. August 12, 2017. Accessed November 01, 2017. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/08/12/bcst-thread-books-laura-ingalls-wilder-road-trip.7

Hill, Pamela Smith. IN SEARCH OF LAURA – ABOUT LAURA INGALLS WILDER. Little House on the Prairie. Accessed November 01, 2017. http://littlehouseontheprairie.com/in-search-of-laura-about-laura-ingalls-wilder/. 8


http://www.laurasprairiehouse.com/sites/ writers. Information on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historical Sites. Definitive Laura Ingalls Wilder & Little House on the Prairie. Accessed November 01, 2009. http://www.laurasprairiehouse.com/sites/. 9

" Laura Ingalls Wilder," FamousAuthors.org, http://www.famousauthors.org/laura-ingalls-wilder (accessed December 3, 2017). 10
Encyclopedia of World Biography authors. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Encyclopedia.com. Accessed November 01, 2017. http://www.encyclopedia.com/people/literature-and-arts/american-literature-biographies/laura-ingalls.... 11


ENotes authors. Little House in the Big Woods Summary. ENotes. Accessed November 01, 2017. https://www.enotes.com/topics/little-house. 12



Memorial Society, Inc.. VIST 'LAURA'S LITTLE HOUSE'. Laura Ingalls Pepin. Accessed November 01, 2017. http://www.lauraingallspepin.com/big-woods-cabin.html. 13

edmorrisjr. Leg 6 Laura Ingalls Wilder Trail “Little House” series. Ed Morris Jr. Word PRess. Accessed November 01, 2017. https://edmorrisjr.wordpress.com/laura-ingalls-wilder-trail-little-house-series/. 14


Bamberger-Scott, Barbara. The View from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House: A True Pioneer Woman. homestead.org. Accessed November 01, 2017. http://www.homestead.org/browse/21-history/806-the-view-from-laura-ingalls-wilder-s-little-house.. 15

Ingalls Wilder, Laura. Little House in the Big Woods. New York, NY. Harper Collins Publishers, 1932, 1936. 16

Ingalls Wilder, Laura. Smith Hill, Pamela. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. South Dakota. South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2014. Great Plains Education Foundation17

Anderson, William. Laura Ingalls Country. New York, NY. Harper Perennial, 1990. Harper Collins Publishers18

Picture Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Ingalls_Wilder

https://hoover.archives.gov/LIW

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/g2667/little-house-on-the-prairie

homestead.org