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Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder: Life After Little House

Readers often wonder what happened after The First Four Years, the novel for adults Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote based on her early years of marriage. (You can read more here and here about that book.) 

Laura and Almanzo Wilder needed to recover from their financial losses on the farm. Almanzo also needed to improve his health. So they left De Smet, South Dakota. Almanzo, Laura, and their daughter Rose lived briefly in Minnesota and Florida. They returned to De Smet in 1892. Both Almanzo and Laura worked odd jobs to earn money.

In 1894 the family, including 7-year-old Rose, loaded a horse-drawn hack (carriage) and moved again. This time they went to Mansfield, Missouri. With a one-hundred-dollar bill as a down payment, they bought 40 acres of land with a small cabin. They named it Rocky Ridge Farm.

At first they lived by clearing the land and selling the timber. Laura sold eggs from her brown leghorn hens. Almanzo worked as a delivery man. Eventually, Laura designed her dream home, and Almanzo built it. Laura and Almanzo farmed Rocky Ridge together.
Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane,
South Dakato Historical Society
Rose grew up and married Claire Gillette Lane. (They later divorced.) Rose Wilder Lane became a well-known novelist and writer. She encouraged Laura to write, too. I'll share about Laura's writing career in another post. 

If you enjoyed this post and want more information about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House books, check out The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press, 2020). It's full of history, discussion ideas, photographs, and so much more. It includes 75 activities to help readers live like Laura and Almanzo! 

Happy Trails! ~ Annette Annette Whipple is a nonfiction children's author. Learn more about her books and presentations at

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