Laura Ingalls Wilder was born on February 7th, 1867, to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ingalls. Wilder was born in a log cabin outside of Pepin in Wisconsin. In most of her books, she would refer to the cabin as “The Little House in the Big Woods.” Her mother was Caroline Ingalls, and Wilder was the favorite child. Her family relocated to Kansas when she was two years old; she grew up in Kansas to write The little house on the Prairie. She had 4 siblings, 3 sisters and a brother who died at 9 months. Her sisters were Carrie, Grace, and Mary, while her brother was Charles. In her books, Wilder would describe her childhood age as full of sunshine and shadows. During her childhood, the family would frequently move from one location to another in search of greener pastures. They moved from Midwestern town to another, from Wisconsin to Walnut Grove to Minnesota and later to Iowa and Dakota.
Education and Career
Laura Ingalls Wilder began her teaching career at a young age of 16 and was responsible for teaching three terms in her first teaching role. However, Wilder received her first teaching certificate on December 24th, 1882. Wilder’s original 3rd-grade teaching certificate can still be found on page 25 of William Anderson’s book published in 1998. She did not enjoy teaching but accepted the role just because of the responsibilities she shouldered at that young age. She needed to help her family and brought more financial stability to their home. Wage earning opportunities for women was greatly limited, so she never wanted to pass up the opportunity as well. Between 1883 and 1885, Wilder attended high school (She did not graduate), worked in a local dressmakers shop, and also taught in 3 different terms.
Wilder was responsible for teaching her siblings and herself because the family moved from one location to another too frequently. However, they attended local schools whenever the opportunity arose. Her parents would always send a family friend to pick her up and bring her back every weekend because she was very young. Wilder wrote a lot of books during her career, but she is best remembered for Little House on the Prairie, Farmer Boy, The Long Winter, and On the Way Home.
Laura Ingalls Wilder effectively ended her teaching career at the age of 18 and got married to Almanzo Wilder, who was 28 years old. They got married on the 25th August 1885, moved to De Smet, and had two children together. Not long after their marriage, a series of unfortunate events unfolded where they lost their son, suffered life-threatening bouts of diphtheria, and the destruction of their ban by a mysterious fire. Wilder’s husband died at the age of 92 in 1947. While in 1956, Wilder became very ill from undiagnosed diabetes and cardiac issues. Her health declined drastically, and she eventually died at home in her sleep in 1957 at the age of 90.