Caroline Lake Quiner Ingalls – Biography
In Brookfield, Wisconsin, Caroline Lake Quiner was born to Henry and Charlotte Quiner on December 12, 1839. When she was just seven years old, her father died, and it is during this period where the new Little House series The Early Years takes place with the first book Little House in Brookfield. Three years after Henry died, Caroline’s mother remarried to Frederick Holbrook.
Caroline taught two terms of school beginning when she was only sixteen years old, until she married on February 1, 1860, to Charles Phillip Ingalls in Concord, Wisconsin. They had five children, Mary, Laura, Carrie, Charles Frederick Jr., and Grace.
The family lived in various places, including Wisconsin, Kansas, and Minnesota, before settling in De Smet, South Dakota. During this time, Caroline served as a homemaker, caring for her family and managing the household, as was the role for pioneer wives at the time. Her resourcefulness were an important part of the family’s survival during difficult times, such as when she made blackbird pies, made a button lamp and managed to make meals with very limited staples.
Ma was always kind and gentle, and always full of wisdom for her daughters to follow. It was Ma who insisted that Pa stay somewhere where the girls could attend school. The family lived in various places, including Wisconsin, Kansas, and Minnesota, before settling in De Smet, South Dakota.
When her husband died, she continued to live in De Smet with her eldest daughter Mary. She died on April 20, 1924. She is buried next to her husband Charles in the De Smet Cemetery, which can be visited today.
Many of her possessions are at the various Laura Ingalls Wilder memorial sites.
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