Perley Day Wilder is best known for being the brother of Almanzo Wilder, with many of his siblings appearing in the popular children’s novel Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Perley was the son of James Mason Wilder and Angelina Albina Day. He was born in Malone, Franklin County, New York on June 13, 1869 and was Almanzo Wilder’s younger brother.
Perley Day Wilder did not appear in the book Farmer Boy, because he had not yet been born at the time the book took place. Almanzo’s character was nine years old, and Perley was born 12 years after Almanzo. Perley as a character appeared in the Little House on the Prairie television show, but his character on the show is completely fictionalized.
He moved as a child with his family to Spring Valley, Minnesota where he spent his later life.
Perley moved to Crowley, Louisiana in 1895 where he met his future wife.
He married Elsie Lillian Merritt (born February 22, 1875, the daughter of John Merritt and Elizabeth Bangs) in 1897 and had six children:
- James Wilder (born 1903, died 1990)
- Gladys Wilder (born 1905, died 1987)
- Harold Wilder (born 1909, died 2003)
- Perley Day Wilder, Jr. (born November 27, 1912, died 1977)
- Dorothy A. Pittman (born June 11, 1914, died 1966)
- John Wilder (born 1916, died 1916)
Perley later opened a general store in the nearby town of Kinder, Allen County, Louisiana.
Perley died on May 10, 1834 in Kinder, Louisiana. His wife passed away on June 19, 1948 in Houston, Texas.
Both Perley and Elsie are buried at the Kinder McRill Memorial Cemetery in Kinder, Louisiana.