Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House” series of books on American pioneer life, was born on February 7, 1867, in a log cabin near Pepin, Wisconsin. She was the second of four daughters born to Charles and Caroline Quiner Ingalls. Her siblings were Mary Amelia, who went blind, Caroline Celestia, Charles Frederick, who died in infancy, and Grace Pearl. Her birth site is commemorated by a log cabin, the Little House Wayside. The story of the family’s adventures on the American frontier became the subject of Wilder’s nine autobiographical books.
From 1869 to 1879, the Ingall’s family traveled by covered wagon throughout the Midwest in search of productive land on which they could build a homestead in what was then Indian Territory near what is now Independence, Kansas. Her father's restless spirit led them on various moves to a preemption claim in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, living with relatives near South Troy, Minnesota, and helping to run a hotel in Burr Oak, Iowa. After a move from Burr Oak back to Walnut Grove, where he served as the town butcher and Justice of the Peace, Charles Ingalls accepted a railroad job in the spring of 1879 which led him to eastern Dakota Territory, where he was joined by the family in the fall of 1879. The close-knit Ingall’s family survived the blizzards, prairie fires, grasshopper plagues, and illness of pioneer life. Laura and her sisters attended school whenever possible; any other time they were home-schooled by there mother, who was a previous school teacher. The Ingall’s girls enjoyed books, reading, and their father’s violin music.
On December 10, 1882, two months before her 16th birthday, Laura accepted her first teaching position, teaching three terms in one-room schools, when not attending school herself in DeSmet. In the book Little Town on the Prairie, Laura states that she received her first teaching certificate on December 24, 1882, but this was an enhancement for dramatic effect. Laura's original "Third...
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