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After Laura married Almanzo, Pa built a house in town. This home was the final stop on our Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society guided tour.

The House Charles Ingalls Built in Town
The House Charles Ingalls Built in Town

In the kitchen is the beautiful and efficient cabinet that Pa built for Ma. Inside are dishes belonging to Ma, Laura, and Laura and Almanzo’s daughter Rose. In an upstairs bedroom are many items that once belonged to Rose.

The Ingalls’ third daughter Carrie became a newspaper woman and a photographer. The first photograph she took was of Ma sitting in the parlor of this house. A copy is on display in that room. Though the parlor does not have the original furniture, curators have reproduced the scene in the photograph.

Here you can see the wallpaper in the parlor.
Here you can see the wallpaper in the parlor.

On a settee is a fiddle that children can play to their hearts’ content. Our grandchildren had such fun with it.

Grace lived with Pa, Ma, Mary, and Carrie until she married. Carrie lived here off and on after she began her career as a newspaper woman. When she was 41 years old, she settled in Keystone, South Dakota, where she continued to work at a newspaper and where she married a widower with two children.

Pa and Ma lived in their house in town until their deaths. Ma survived Pa by twenty-two years. She and Mary continued to live in their home, supporting themselves by taking in boarders and by selling Mary’s handiwork that she learned how to make at the Iowa school for the blind. Mary made rugs and beaded covers for horses, designed to keep flies away! In a downstairs bedroom is one volume of Mary’s raised letter Bible. This is the reading method Mary learned at the school, which did not teach Braille at that time.

After Ma’s death, Mary lived alone in her parents’ home, but later she moved to Keystone to live with Carrie, who cared for her there until Mary’s death four years after Ma’s. Pa, Ma, Mary, Carrie, and Grace are buried in the city cemetery in DeSmet.

It is not surprising that Ma and Mary resourcefully supported themselves after Pa’s death. Ma had been resourceful in one little house after another since way back in the Big Woods and had been teaching her girls to do the same.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:25-27



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