Aunt Docia, Uncle Hi, Lena and Gene – Biography
Laura Ladocia Ingalls was born on July 8, 1845 in Pepin, Wisconsin, and was the seventh of ten children born to Lansford Whitting Colby and Laura Louise Colby. Docia, as she was called, married eighteen year old August Waldvogel, and they built their own house in the “Big Woods”. Their daughter, Lena E. was born in 1866. While Docia was pregnant with her second child, a group of men tried to break into the house. August shot a warning shot into the night, but hit one of the men. August was sent to prison for eight years. August Eugene (who Laura referred to as “Jean” in By the Shores of Silver Lake) was born in 1870. Docia then divorced August.
In 1875, Docia married Hiram Forbes. When Hi decided to work on the Dakota railroad, he offered Charles Ingalls a job, which was the reason for the Ingalls to move to De Smet, South Dakota. Docia and Lena worked cooking for the railroad workers.
Lena later worked in Wisconsin at a hotel, and then relocated to Nebraska where she returned to school. It was there she married a young schoolmaster, Samuel Heikes. Lena and Samuel had eight children – three boys and five girls.