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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Wilder, Laura Ingalls (1867-1957)(Historic Marker Erected 1962)


Hwy. 35, Pepin Park, Pepin, Pepin County 

This park is named in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the "Little House" books, which were awarded a medal in 1954 as "lasting contributions to children's literature." Laura Ingalls was born in a log cabin seven miles northwest of here February 7, 1867. In the 1870's her parents moved the family to Kansas Territory, then to Minnesota and finally to South Dakota. At 15, Laura was teaching school and three years later married Almonzo Wilder. They lived for awhile in South Dakota before settling on a farm near Mansfield, Missouri. Mrs. Wilder began her writing career when she was sixty-five. First in the series of eight books was Little House in the Big Woods, describing her experiences here in the Pepin area. The book was an immediate success. The author was surprised at her success and told an interviewer after writing her first book, "I thought that would end it. But what do you think? Children who read it wrote to me begging for more. I was amazed because I didn't know how to write. I went to little red schoolhouses all over the West and I never was graduated from anything." She died in 1957.

[Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]

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