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Ingalls-Quiner Marriage


As you know, Dakota Territory included what would become North and South Dakota, which gives North Dakota some claim to the Territory’s darling, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her parents were married on this date in 1860. Charles Phillip Ingalls and Caroline Lake Quiner were 24 and 20, when they married in southeast Wisconsin. Charles was a New York native who had lived in Illinois before moving to Wisconsin. He was the second of nine children.

Caroline was born in Wisconsin, one of seven children. When she was barely six, her father died in a schooner wreck on Lake Michigan. Her mother remarried four years later. Caroline’s stepfather was “chronically ill,” leaving her and her siblings to do the grueling adult labor of their farm. Caroline began teaching school at 16, but her marriage to her neighbor Charles Ingalls ended that career.

Two of her siblings had also married into the Ingalls family, and Caroline’s experiences after her mother’s remarriage had given her a thirst for stability with a husband, but not without some reservations. Before her marriage she wrote, “Who could wish to leave home and wander forth in the world to meet its tempests and its storms? Without a mother’s watchful care and a sister’s tender love?” She ended the essay with the answer, “Not one.”

Charles and Caroline Ingall had five children, born between 1865 and 1877. And they moved many times, from Wisconsin to Kansas then back to Wisconsin to Minnesota to Iowa then back to Minnesota and then to Dakota Territory. Laura pegged their many moves on her father’s wanderlust. He once said, “My wandering foot gets to itching.”

Caroline, however, made Charles promise that their 1879 move to De Smet in today’s South Dakota would be their last. Charles worked as a railroad timekeeper, a job his sister had offered him. The family wintered in a surveyor’s house until Charles finished their new home, the first in De Smet.

Five of Laura’s books in her Little House on the Prairie series are set in De Smet. Cottonwoods her father planted still stand near Silver Lake. Pa and Ma, as Little House readers know them, died in 1902 and 1924. They are buried in De Smet.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura


"http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2003/winter/little-town-in-nara-1.html" http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2003/winter/little-town-in-nara-1.html

"http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/08/12/bcst-thread-books-laura-ingalls-wilder-road-trip" http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/08/12/bcst-thread-books-laura-ingalls-wilder-road-trip

"https://books.google.com/books?id=WC0ZMqoaiYsC&pg=PA13&lpg=PA13&dq=charles+ingalls+and+caroline+quiner+neighbors&source=bl&ots=1ptNymx_da&sig=aA3lILbi0f3FznOQm3E7VXl_H_k&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZxaPim5nKAhUKzmMKHUtsDvI4ChDoAQgbMAA#v=snippet&q=1860&f=false" https://books.google.com/books?id=WC0ZMqoaiYsC&pg=PA13&lpg=PA13&dq=charles+ingalls+and+caroline+quiner+neighbors&source=bl&ots=1ptNymx_da&sig=aA3lILbi0f3FznOQm3E7VXl_H_k&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZxaPim5nKAhUKzmMKHUtsDvI4ChDoAQgbMAA#v=snippet&q=1860&f=false

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