BIRTH OF LAURA INGALLS~WILDER~7th JANUARY 1867
In 1932, the book 'Little House in the Big Woods' was released, kicking off the Little House on the Prairie series, that would span eight books, and become a sensation with films, stage shows, and a massively successful television show.
The books were written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was born in Wisconsin on 7th February, 1867.
The books are largely autobiographical, based on her own experiences growing up and the stories of her family.
They are captivating in their depiction of a homesteading lifestyle in mid-to-late 19th century America.
The Ingalls moved many times, and the family kept growing along the way.
Having lived in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, and Iowa, the Ingalls needed to settle, especially as there were money troubles at that time.
It was in 1879 that Charles managed to get a job in the Dakota Territory with the railroad, where he worked as a bookkeeper and clerk.
The family then relocated to De Smet in South Dakota.
Laura experienced a wide range of life growing up, which would show in her writing later on.
"I realized I had seen and lived it all - all the successive phases of the frontier, first the frontiersman, then the pioneer, then the farmers and the towns."
The family lived on the outskirts of the city, where they made their best effort to survive and earn money on the land.
Laura had to take greater responsibility for her family during this time, as she was taking care of her sister Mary who, before they came to De Smet, had gone blind due to a fever.
Dealing with "acts of God" was a fact of life back then, and the family had its share of troubles that they constantly had to live through.
In De Smet, the Ingalls suffered through awful storms in the winter.
Laura never forgot these, and they made it into the book The Long Winter.
A horrible blizzard came in their second year there, and everyone in town had to do whatever they could to make it through.
Among the dramatic survival techniques they were required to try, included making flour by putting their wheat into their coffee grinder when their supply ran out.
They had neither enough food nor wood, and they had to burn hay that they gathered, and packed together just to stay warm.
The storm was so bad that when Charles went out, he would follow the path of a string that was tied between the house and the barn, otherwise, he may have gotten lost as he barely had any line of sight.
It was not all harsh winters at this time though.
Laura proved to be a bright girl at a young age, and she did well socially and academically.
These would be formative years for her, with her education giving her the lifelong literary skills, that would immortalize her life story.
Laura decided to get a teaching certificate, and she was only 15 years old when she stood in front of the classroom and started teaching.
In 1882, Laura was already a career woman.
Laura was extremely mature for her age, being in her mid-teenage years when she started teaching, so it is not surprising that the man she fell for was a whole decade older than her.
His name was Almanzo Wilder, and Laura referred to him affectionately as Manly.
The two became friends and then fell in love, and in 1885 they sealed the deal and got married when she was 18 and he was 28. Laura became Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the couple moved onto his land and took up the farm life.
Laura gave birth to a girl named Rose in 1886, but dark times were ahead.
They were struck by diseases and drought which greatly impacted their livelihood.
Almanzo got diphtheria, and went from being healthy and strong, to becoming paralyzed and being unable to farm.
In August of 1889, Laura gave birth to her second child, this time a boy.
However, he died after only two weeks of life.
The Wilder family had seen enough devastation for one lifetime, but sadly even more were to come and plague them.
Around the same time their son died, their house was destroyed in a fire.
With no home, no crops as a result of the drought, no income, and memories of their tragedy haunting them, they knew they needed to start fresh.
In 1890, they made the move to Minnesota, to settle in Spring Valley.
As Almanzo was still struggling with his condition, Laura had to assist him with work.
They were always on the lookout for a new life they could make for themselves, and they decided that some higher temperatures may do Almanzo good, so they decided they would move once again, this time to Florida.
While it seemed like a good idea, especially as it had great opportunities for farming, the weather in the state did not sit right with Laura, and she especially took poorly to the high humidity.
In 1892, they made a home once again in De Smet.
After a few years in De Smet, the Wilders made their home in Missouri, moving to Mansfield in 1894.
With their savings, they set up Rocky Ridge Farm on a piece of land that was on the outskirts of town, which they still lived in.
They made a living selling firewood, which they would sell for just 50 cents, and began to rebuild their lives.
They planted apple trees, and after seven years, the fruit started to grow, which helped their business.
Things were starting to look up for Almanzo and Laura as they had accrued 200 acres of land, and they were finally able to move to their farm and sell off the house which they lived in in the town.
After 20 years, their farm became a success for them, and they sold fruit, poultry, and dairy.
As Laura settled into her new life of stability and success, she was able to become part of the community.
She was a valued member of various clubs, and spoke in favor of local farm associations.
When it came to her farming lifestyle and poultry, she had extensive knowledge, and she would go around and give talks to help educate people.
With teaching in her blood, she simply had to share everything she had learned.
It was in 1911 that she first wrote an article, she took her lifestyle of educating and brought it to print, and her work was so well received, that she got a regular column and became an editor.
Laura put together a book called Pioneer Girl in 1930.
Laura was in her 50s, and she would finally write her first book.
The book was rejected and would only be published in 2014 by the South Dakota Historical Society Press.
Even though Lauras first book never took off, it set the stage for her to write her later works, which would find massive success.
After Little House in the Big Woods was published, Laura got a royalty check for $500.
This would be the smallest royalty check she ever received and considering that it was worth nearly $9,000 in todays money, thats nothing to scoff at.
The books took off quickly, never going out of print and eventually being released around the world, and translated into 40 languages.
Laura struggled for a lot of her life, and only found success in her later years.
In just over a decade, she had eight books, and she continued writing, with many books that would eventually be published after her death.
The final installment of the original Little House series was published in 1943, and Laura lived on until 1957, often greeting fans who came to her home to meet her.
Almanzo died when he was 92, and after her husbands death, Laura lived by herself, and was well taken care of by her community.
It was just three days before her 90th birthday on 10th February 1957, that she passed away.
Laura was buried with her husband and later her daughter.