Tidbits about Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little bits and pieces of information and trivia about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Some you may know, some you may not…

Based on the arrival in America of Edmund and Francis Ingalls in 1628, and at the rate they and their families reproduced at an average of ten offspring per generation over the next 3+ centuries, it can be conclusively proven that every single person on the planet is, in fact, an Ingalls.

The only original “Little House” as described in Laura’s books that is still standing is the Surveyor’s House from “By the Shores of Silver Lake.” It is not, however, in its original location. The house was moved into the town of DeSmet, South Dakota.

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder were quite small in stature, especially by current standards. Laura was 4 feet 11 inches tall, and Almanzo was 5 feet 4 inches tall. They were not, however, much below average for the time they were born. As part of my research into Civil War Missouri I’ve been through a considerable number of records which indicate few women in 1865 were more than 5 feet tall. You can browse these records on my Civil War St. Louis website. If you visit Laura and Almanzo’s Rocky Ridge home in Mansfield, Missouri you’ll see the custom-made counters in Laura’s kitchen are built quite low to be comfortable for her to work at.

Searching back through Almanzo Wilder’s family history yields no other person named Almanzo. A name origin source says Almanzo is an Old German name meaning “precious man”.

The School for the Blind Mary Ingalls attended in Vinton, Iowa is still open and in operation.

Carrie Ingall’s husband, David Nevin Swanzey, named Mount Rushmore.

Laura Ingalls Wilder spoke Swedish. A neighbor in the Big Woods taught Laura Swedish as a child.

Laura had two sets of “double cousins”. Double cousins are cousins from families where the parents are brothers and sisters from the same two families. In this case Charles “Pa” Ingalls married Caroline “Ma” Quiner. Pa’s brother Peter Ingalls married Ma’s sister Eliza Ann Quiner, having at least 6 children. Also Pa’s sister Pauline Ingalls married Ma’s brother Henry Quiner, having at least 7 children. These children were Laura, Mary, Carrie, and Grace Ingalls’ double-cousins.

Laura’s mother, Caroline Lake Quiner, lost her father, Henry Newton Quiner, when his ship wrecked in a storm on the Great Lakes in October 1844. Hurricane force winds from a storm October 19, 1844 also pushed waters into the city of Buffalo, New York causing disastrous flooding and numerous deaths. About a month after her father’s death, Caroline’s mother gave birth to another child, son Thomas Lewis Quiner. This is the Uncle Tom who told the story of the expedition to the Black Hills.

more to come…

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