You may have seen the 1970's popular series 'Little House on the Prairie', but do you know the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder and what Walnut Grove, Minnesota was to her?

Over 140 years ago, the family of Laura Ingalls settled in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, and it was inspiration for some of her popular "Little House" books, and the 70's TV show "Little House on the Prairie".

Laura was just 7 years old when she arrived in Walnut Grove, and the portrayal of her life at that age was Melissa Gilbert for the TV series.

The family moved from Pepin, Wisconsin to Walnut Grove, but had also lived in Lake City, Minnesota, as well as South Troy, Minnesota prior to that.

They settled in Walnut Grove near the banks of Plum Creek, which has been left in the exact condition as it was when the Ingalls family left the settlement 4 years later. Her book "On the Banks of Plum Creek" was about her childhood stories of living there. They lived in a dugout home while "Pa" (what they called their Father) could build a home. The dugout location on the banks of Plum Creek also exists in Walnut Grove, but is fully covered in dirt due to the roof collapsing many years ago.

Walnut Grove Dugout
William Bechmann via YouTube

When they left the settlement, after multiple failed crops that left them in a devastated financial situation, they headed to Burr Oak, Iowa. During their travel to Iowa, Laura's youngest brother, Charles Frederic Ingalls, died of illness at the age of 9-months. A couple years later the family moved back to Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

The Ingalls family didn't have a great life by any means. The children had very little and were always moving around every few years to survive. Many say the family was destine for hardship. The photo below is a family portrait taken around the mid-1880's with Laura and her 3 sisters, and Ma and Pa.

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on The Prairie Tribute Videos By me via YouTube

The family moved to De Smet, South Dakota, where her parents spent the rest of their lives. Laura became a school teacher in that town when she was 15 years old. She went on to marry Almanzo Wilder, a descendant of the Delano family, who has ancestry to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Laura and Almanzo had a daughter, Rose Wilder, who eventually became a writer as well, eventually becoming one of the founders of the American libertarian movement. Laura, Almonzo and Rose eventually moved to Mansfield, Missouri.

Laura Ingalls Wilder died in 1957 at the age of 90. Almonzo died 8-years prior at the age of 92. Daughter Rose died in 1968 at the age of 81.

Although Laura Ingalls Wilder never returned to Walnut Grove, the Minnesota town has kept that small part of her life alive. The town has a museum dedicated to the Ingalls family, and bases the town's website on the legend and tales of Laura Ingalls Winder's "Little House" series. Visit the website here.

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