A Pioneer, A Teacher, A Writer

As most know, I’m an avid reader. Always have been. In my younger years I read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys… and then I found Little House on the Prairie. Oh my Lord, those books changed my life! I loved that series and how they fed my imagination. Those stories opened up a magical world for me.

Laura was born February 7, 1867 to Charles and Caroline Ingalls. (Yes, she used their real names in her books.) She came into the world in a log cabin in Wisconsin. She was one of five children—her older sister Mary; younger sisters, Carrie and Grace; and a brother Charles who died at nine months old.

When Laura was two years old, the family moved to Kansas and that began her trek across the territory. She described her early years as full of sunshine and shadow. The family’s frequent moves bear the blame for that. She barely got settled good and made friends only to have to start over in a new place.

Laura Ingalls Wilder schoolteacher, 1887. Found in the collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove. Artist : Anonymous. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Due to the numerous moves, Laura and her sisters taught themselves and were able to keep up whenever a school was available for them to attend.

She decided to teach school herself after Mary had to go away to a blind school and the family needed the extra income. Just fifteen years old, she accepted her first teaching position twelve miles from her family’s home.

Almanzo Wilder was a nearby neighbor and often went to pick Laura up from school. Over the course of those wagon rides, they fell in love and were married on August 25, 1885. She was 18 and quit teaching to help Almanzo.

Laura and Almanzo Wilder

In the winter of 1886, she gave birth to daughter Rose and in 1889, she had a son who died a month after birth. Tragedy struck again shortly after when Almanzo contracted diptheria. It left him partially paralyzed. Then their home burned to the ground in 1890.

They drifted from place to place for four years and finally settled on a 200 acre farm in the Ozarks of Mansfield, Missouri that they called Rocky Ridge. Times got no easier and they had to sell firewood to buy food.

Sometime in the 1910s, their daughter Rose became a reporter for the San Francisco Bulletin. She was the one who encouraged Laura to write. At first it was only articles and short stories about general farm life. She worked hard to develop her skill and found a little success.

Tragedy struck again. The Stock Market crashed in 1929 and they lost everything. Rose too. It was at this time that mother and daughter began to work on the Little House books. In 1932, Laura published The Little House in the Big Woods, the first of her 8 books and finally found success.

Charles and Caroline Ingalls

By the time she published the last one in 1943, she was 76 years old. Almanzo died in 1949 but Laura stayed on their farm, reading and responding to mail from readers. In February 1957, she passed from this life on their farm.

Daughter Rose Wilder Lane

The television series of Little House on the Prairie aired from 1974 to 1982. Children today love reading about Laura’s life, never guessing it’s all true.

Did you read the books or watch the TV series? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.

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Comments

A Pioneer, A Teacher, A Writer — 23 Comments

  1. Gosh I loved those books. I was shy being mainstreamed in school and knew no sign language to communicate so I loved to read and put books away on shelves starting in elementary and on. I discovered the Little House books and read them many times. They were such a comfort for me. I remember being pregnant with my first child and visiting the library , I saw them on display and couldn’t resist reading it before (and after) she was born. Now I need to read again ! I would find many other books of similar themes and never stopped reading. Beautiful to read her history. Thanks !

    • Hi Cathie……How glad I am to see you. I’m really happy you enjoyed my blog. Yes, those books we read so long ago are nice to read again. I’m thankful you had them as a source of comfort when you needed them. Laura Ingalls Wilder was a very special woman.

      Much love and hugs!

  2. I first read that series in fourth grade, and read it again in junior high. Then in high school, I worked at a library, and I read it again. Each time I got something out of the books, that I had previously missed. Then the tv show came on, and I loved it. Still watch the reruns once in a while.

    • Hi Veda……These books provided many hours of enjoyment. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had my books. Good luck in your surgery. I’ll be praying for you.

      Much love and hugs!

  3. Good morning Linda- I’m fixing to shock you, so don’t hold it against me. But I never read her books and I didn’t watch Little House On The Prairie growing up. For some strange reason I did not care for it. Now that I’m older, I might love it. I did not know that her books were actual true accounts of her life. So maybe I should try to watch it, just like they say a person’s taste and love of different foods change as they age, maybe my love and taste of this TV show might have changed now that I’m older and wiser. I loved all the old western shows from back then, except this one and The Walton’s. Who knows maybe I didn’t watch them at a younger age because I was saving them for my adult years. This was a great blog, maybe you opened my eyes to something new for me to watch. Lord knows what’s on TV now is horrible. Love you and have a great day.

    • I’m shocked Tonya! I loved the series. I never read the books though.

    • Hi Tonya…….You know, it doesn’t make any difference. We don’t all have to like the same things. That’s why there’s tons of books all different. For the record, I liked the books better than the TV show. Yes, TV shows today aren’t worth watching.

      Love you, sister friend!

  4. I absolutely loved the tv series! It’s the main tv show I remember watching as a child and I even watched the reruns off and on over the years. After reading this I am surprised to see some of the major differences though. I wonder if I would enjoy the books now at my age we may still have them.

    • Hi Stephanie……I’m glad you enjoyed reading about Laura Wilder. Maybe you should try the books again. The TV show was good but I preferred the books. They sure entertained many a child. Thanks for coming.

      Much love and hugs!

  5. I loved reading some of the Laura Ingalls books when I was younger and loved the TV show. It was always one of my favorite. My goodness, I had no idea she had to deal with so much tragedy in her life. Wow! It certainly gave her good fodder for her stories, but what a struggle. Thanks for sharing this today, sister. I enjoyed it. Hope you have a Happy Monday!

    • Hi Jan……I remember how we used to share books. Both of us liked about the same things. We sure read a lot. I had no idea either about the hardships she faced. Very sad. I sure didn’t know that she wrote about real events and real people. I thought they were fictional.

      I hope your Monday was better than mine. I was locked out of my website all day. Was just able to get in.

      Love you, sister!

  6. There was never an episode missed on television. Our family enjoyed Little House On The Prairie immensely! I began reading books after I retired four years ago, so I haven’t read her books. (Only yours … Ha!). Thanks for writing this tribute to Laura Ingalls. I enjoyed reading about her life.

    • Hi Kathy…….I’m so glad you came and that you enjoyed reading about Laura Wilder. Those TV episodes were so good. I liked Michael Landon. He was a good father. Loved his sense of humor. Well, I’m really glad you read my books. 🙂 Retirement is great!

      Love and hugs!

  7. I read the books as a child and loved them. I was born in Kansas and lived there on a farm for the first year of my life.

    • Hi Karlene……..I’m happy you enjoyed my post. These books were so special to children everywhere. I’m sure you could relate since you were from Kansas.

      Love and hugs!

  8. I don’t remember reading the books as a child but I watched the TV show and it was awesome. I can still watch it now if I find it on the TV.

    • Hi Quilt Lady…..Thanks for coming. I agree about the TV series. I loved Michael Landon! And he was really nice to look at. More than that though, he seemed like a great dad.

      Hugs!

  9. I wasn’t into reading as a child, but loved and still watch little house on the Prairie. I fell in love with it more as a adult. I feel like I am in the wrong time. I know this sounds strange to you, but I never felt like I belong in this time. I feel like I should be back in time and the Ingalls family makes me feel like I need to go back. Does this sound strange?

    • Hi Allison…….You know, I feel that too. I’ve always felt that I did live back in the 1800s. Of course that would really get a few people coming down on me so I don’t talk about this often. I really do believe in reincarnation though. It explains so many things. Ha, maybe we were friends back there!

      Hugs!

  10. I grew up adoring the Little House books – almost the first non picture books that I could read. I got them by ones and twos for birthdays and Christmas, and remember sitting down and devouring them almost at once. That and my mothers subscription to American Heritage guaranteed that I was enthralled by the American frontier, and the western movement – which eventually led to me writing HF myself.
    It seemed like – save for electricity and automobiles, we were very much a family who lived as Laura and her family did. We sang together, my dad built and fixed anything, mom sewed our clothes, and we had a faithful dog like Jack. The late 19th century was not all that long ago for us. Even less-long-ago for my mother. As a grade-school kid, her class wrote a fan letter to Laura Ingalls Wilder in the late 1930s – and got a lovely reply back from her!
    Never really got into the TV version, though — although I have a woman character in my current modern-day series who watched it in reruns as a kid, and decides that the kind of domestic life lived by Laura’s family is what she wants for herself.

    • Hi Celia……Thank you so much for coming. I’m so glad you did. You sound like me. My favorite books as a kid were the historical fiction ones set in the West. How interesting that your woman character watches reruns of Little House. I love that! Don’t be a stranger.

      Hugs!