Laura Ingalls Wilder Biography

Knowing the Laura Ingalls Wilder biography will give you a much greater appreciation of her works. The beloved author of the Little House series based many of her stories and characters on events from her own life.

Early Years
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born in Pepin, Wisconsin, on February 7, 1867 to Charles Phillip Ingalls and Caroline Lake (Quiner) Ingalls. This site is the subject of her first book, Little House in the Big Woods.

Throughout her childhood she traveled with her family, first from Pepin to Walnut Grove, Minnesota, then to Burr Oak, Iowa. It was in Burr Oak that her brother, who was not mentioned in her books, died at nine months of age. Her sister Grace was also born during this time. The family was in Burr Oak for only a short time before they moved back to Walnut Grove. Two years later, in 1879, the family moved to the Dakota Territory to a small town later to be named DeSmet.

Life in DeSmet
The Ingalls family finally settled in DeSmet, and Charles and Caroline Ingalls would remain there until their deaths. At the age of 15, Laura started teaching school 12 miles from her home. She continued teaching until she married Almanzo Wilder at the age of 18. While teaching school, she stayed with a family during the week. Almanzo made the trip every Friday afternoon to pick her up and take her home to her family in a horse-drawn carriage.

The Wilders stayed in DeSmet for four years that brought some very tough times. Their first-born child, Rose, was the couple's only child to survive. They also had a son who died shortly after birth. The family home, which Amanzo built, burned to the ground in their fourth year together.

After the house burned, Laura and Almanzo moved to Mansfield, Missouri, where they spent the last of their savings to acquire a piece of land. Over the next several years, the couple struggled to get the farm running. Eventually, their Rocky Ridge farm would become a stable source of income from fruit and livestock. 

Success in Publishing
While Laura and Alonzo were building their farm, their daughter Rose found success as a travel writer and journalist. She encouraged her mother to write about her experiences, and Laura soon had a weekly column in a local newspaper.

With steady income from the farm, Laura was free to spend more time writing. She began turning the stories of her life into a series of children's books. The exact role of Rose in the books' writing remains a mystery. While the stories themselves were Laura's, there are some who believe that Rose quietly polished her mother's manuscripts, turning them into the stories that remain favorites of young girls today.

Laura died on February 10, 1957, at the Rocky Ridge Farm. Today, the farmhouse where she wrote her books is a museum where fans can learn more about Laura's life and times.

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The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum was built in the house where Wilder lived for more than 60 years, and where she wrote her famous children's books.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum was built in the house where Wilder lived for more than 60 years, and where she wrote her famous children's books.

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Little House fans will want to learn more about the biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. 

Little House fans will want to learn more about the biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. 

Little House fans will want to learn more about the biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. 

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