Almanzo James Wilder – Biography
Almanzo James Wilder was the fifth child born to James and Angeline Wilder, on February 13, 1857, near Malone, New York. Laura wrote the story of his childhood here in her second book, Farmer Boy. His family later moved to Spring Valley, Minnesota
In 1879, Almanzo and his brother Royal, settled near De Smet. In The Long Winter, Almanzo and Cap Garland brought back wheat for the town to eat so everyone did not starve to death, since everyone was so short of food when the trains did not come.
It was in De Smet, South Dakota where he met Laura Elizabeth Ingalls and they were married on August 25, 1885. He had a daughter, Rose, who was born on December 5, 1886, and a son in early August 1889, who died. Almanzo was plagued with debts and other hardships related to farming, which is documented in The First Four Years. Almanzo also got diphtheria, which resulted in his paralysis.
In 1890, Laura, Almanzo and Rose lived with Almanzo’s parents in Spring Valley, Minnesota. Between 1891 and 1892, the three then moved to Westville, Florida in hoped the warmer climate would help Almanzo’s legs. Laura hated living there so much, they returned to De Smet. In July, 1894 the three then left for Laura and Almanzo’s final home, Mansfield, Missouri where they bought Rocky Ridge Farm with the hidden $100 bill.
Almanzo lived out the rest of his life working on his beloved farm, until his death on October 23, 1949 from two heart attacks. Many of his possessions can be seen at the Rocky Ridge farm, as well as the Malone and Spring valley sites.