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"Pa sang, Uncle Sam is rich enough to give us all a farm!" Free land lured the Ingalls family and a rush of settlers to Dakota territory to claim a homestead.

School, church, and a part-time job were important to Charles Ingalls and his family. Ingalls Homestead met their wishes for it is only a mile from De Smet. This land was perfect in many ways. It had good water and he could easily dig a well. He filed on this homestead at the land office in Brookings in February of 1880. In 1886 Charles filed final papers and put the declaration in the De Smet News. This 157.25 acre homestead cost Charles and Caroline $16.00 in filing fees.

When Mary Ingalls became blind in 1879, Pa said to Laura, "You have to see for Mary with words." In the four "Little House" books that take place on the homestead, Laura sees the homestead prairie for all of us with lovely words.

For three months, during the winter of 1879-1880, the Ingalls family lived in the Surveyor's house along Silver Lake. After filing his claim in 1880, Pa built a little house on the homestead. The family lived and worked on the homestead except for the bitter winter months when they moved into town in the room above Pa's store.

August 25, 1885 was the day Almanzo Wilder and Laura Ingalls were married. Laura had lived on the homestead for five years. The rest of the family lived on the homestead for another three years, untill they moved into the house that Pa built in town.

Ingalls Homestead Land Records
    The National Archives

Genealogy Notes: De Smet, Dakota Territory, Little Town in the National Archives
    Prologue Magazine

Laura Ingalls Wilder Index
    Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

White House Dream Team:
Laura Ingalls Wilder

    White House for Kids

    Harper Collins Childrens

Visit De Smet, South Dakota!
Get Visitor Information from
De Smet Chamber of Commerce

Marian Cramer is a teacher and historian who spends her summer months being the school teacher at Ingalls Homestead. She has published two books, and is the author of two Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant scripts.