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Little House and Real Life Timeline for the Real Laura Ingalls Wilder

The more I researched about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the more I understood the need to keep dates organized. While writing The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide, I kept a timeline for research purposes. I thought I'd share some of that timeline with you.  

This timeline shows some important dates and places from the childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder and names the corresponding Little House books. To the best of my knowledge and research, these dates are accurate as related to the real Laura Ingalls Wilder. (If you notice an inaccuracy, please let me know.)

Please note: If you are reading this blog post in an email, you may not be able to see all images or click on links unless you go to the blog by clicking the title of today's blog post. 

1867, February 7: Laura Elizabeth Ingalls born in Pepin, Wisconsin.
1867-1869: The Ingalles lived in Pepin, Wisconsin. 
1869-1871: The Ingallses lived in Independence, Kansas (Indian Territory) where Little House on the Prairie took place.
1871-1874: The Ingallses returned to Pepin, Wisconsin. This is when and where Little House in the Big Woods took place.
1874-1876: The Ingallses lived in Walnut Grove, Minnesota where On the Banks of Plum Creek took place. 
1876-1877: The Ingallses lived in Burr Oak, Iowa. Laura Ingalls Wilder did not write a children's book about this time of her life, however, she did write about it in her autobiography Pioneer Girl.
1877-1879: The Ingallses returned to Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Wilder did not write about her family's time there. 
1879-1885: The Ingallses lived in De Smet, Dakota Territory where By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, and These Happy Golden Years took place.
1883, December 10: Laura received her teaching certificate. (Little Town on the Prairie)
1885, August 25: Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder married in De Smet, Dakota Territory. (These Happy Golden Years)
1885-1889: Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder marry and persevere through the first four years of their marriage as noted in The First Four Years which took place in De Smet, Dakota Territory.
1886, December 5: Rose Wilder born in De Smet, Dakota Territory. (The First Four Years)
1889, July 11: Almanzo and Laura's unnamed son born. He died a few weeks later. (The First Four Years)
Additional dates for Laura Ingalls Wilder's timeline: 
1859, February 13: Almanzo Wilder born.* (The year of Almanzo Wilder's birth is not certain, but my research leads me to believe this date is accurate. Click link for details.) 
1949, October 23: Almanzo Wilder died at home in Mansfield, Missouri.
1957, February 10: Laura Ingalls Wilder died at home and was buried next to Almanzo in Mansfield, Missouri. 

Learn more about the real life and history of Laura Ingalls Wilder in my book The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion (affiliate link) as well as other great books by authors like William Anderson, Caroline Fraser, Pamela Smith Hill, John E. Miller, and Stephen W. Hines.

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


  1. Very nice and I love the outfits that they wore and I would like to get some of those things for my self

  2. I’ve been reading the books and decided that Almanzo’s age was recorded inaccurately bc of his lie to get a claim. In the long winter he was only 19. They were closer in age than records suggest. This timeline confused me as according to the story they went to Indian territory after big woods. I guess there is fiction to it but her writing is so convincing. I credit her ability to having to see the world for Mary and relate it to her by description.

  3. Hello Annette.
    From 1869/1871 the Ingalls, Charles Caroline and their two daughters Mary and Laura did not move directly to Kansas.
    According to the archives, they left Wisconsin in a covered wagon with a couple of family members and bought land in Minnesota. Only Charles and Caroline then moved to Kansas, where they stayed for just one year, for reasons we know nothing about. But before heading back to Wisconsin, they returned to Missouri to sell the land they'd bought, and for Charles to work for a while, as they'd run out of money to return to Pepin.

  4. According to research, Ingalls-Wilder died at home in her sleep on February 10, 1957 not 1959 after the operations she had in the fall of 1956