In On the Banks of Plum Creek, Charles Ingalls went to town with the plans to purchase a new pair of boots when his own pair were so worn out they could not be patched again. But when he went to town, he ended up giving all the money intended for the boots to the town for a new church bell.
“Where are your boots, Charles?” she asked.
“Well, Caroline,” Pa said. “I saw Brother Alden and he told me he couldn’t raise money enough to put a bell in the belfry. The folks in town had all given every cent they could, and he lacked just three dollars. So I gave him the money.”
“Oh, Charles!” was all Ma said.
Pa looked down at his cracked boot. “I’ll patch it,” he said. “I can make it hold together somehow. And do you know, we’ll hear that church bell ringing clear out here.”
Ma turned quickly back to the stove, and Laura went quietly out and sat down on the step. Her throat hurt her. She did so want Pa to have good new boots.
“Never mind, Caroline,” she heard Pa saying. “It’s not long to wait till I harvest the wheat.”
- Chapter 24 Going to Church, On the Banks of Plum Creek
In 1874 when Charles donated, the church was known as the Union Congressional Church. The church bell that Charles donated to is still in service in Walnut Grove today. It rings at the English Lutheran Church in Walnut Grove, located at 450 Wiggins Street.