Caroline Ingalls with her husband Charles Ingalls
|Born||Caroline Lake Quiner
December 12, 1839
Brookfield, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||April 20, 1924
De Smet, South Dakota, U.S.
(m. 1860; his death 1902)
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Charles Frederick Ingalls
Charlotte (Tucker) Quiner
- For information on the relatives, see : List of real-life individuals from Little House on the Prairie
Caroline was born 15 miles west of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the Town of Brookfield, Waukesha County, the fifth of seven children of Henry Quiner and Charlotte (Tucker) Quiner. Her brothers were Joseph, Henry, and Thomas, and her sisters were Martha Jane and Eliza (the Quiners' first child, Martha Morse Quiner, died in 1836).
When Caroline was five, her father died in an accident, reportedly on Lake Michigan near the Straits of Mackinac. In 1849, her mother married Frederick Holbrook, a farmer who lived nearby. They had one child together, Charlotte "Lottie" Holbrook. Caroline evidently loved and respected her stepfather, and would later honor his memory by naming her son after him.
At the age of 16 1/2, Caroline started working as a teacher. On February 1, 1860, she married Charles Ingalls. They had five children: Mary, Laura, Caroline ("Carrie"), Charles Frederick ("Freddie"), and Grace.
|Born||Charles Frederick Ingalls
November 1, 1875
Walnut Grove, Minnesota,
|Died||August 27, 1876
South Troy, Minnesota,
|Parent(s)||Caroline Ingalls (mother)
Charles Ingalls (father)
In her autobiography Pioneer Girl, Laura remembers that "Little Brother was not well" and that "one terrible day, he straightened out his little body and was dead". Wilder scholar William Anderson noted: "Nearly forty years after Freddie's death, Ma mourned him, telling relatives how different everything would be 'if Freddie had lived'."
The Ingalls family traveled by covered wagon from Wisconsin; Kansas (Indian Territory); Burr Oak, Iowa; and Minnesota. In 1879, they settled on a homestead in the town of De Smet in Dakota Territory. When Charles and Caroline decided to sell their farm because of the persistent pattern of dry years of weather, combined with Charles' advancing age and inability to take care of his large acreage, he built the family a home on Third Street in De Smet. He made his living primarily as a carpenter from that time onward until his death of heart disease at age 66.
In the media
The series The Caroline Years, an extension of the Little House series, by Maria D. Wilkes and Celia Wilkins, follows Caroline Quiner from her fifth year to her late teens, up to her engagement to Charles. The names, dates and people mentioned in the books are true, but much of the content of the books is, by necessity, fictionalized. The first title in the series is Little House in Brookfield.
Additionally, Caroline was portrayed in adaptations of Little House on the Prairie by:
- Eiko Masuyama (voice) in Laura, The Prairie Girl Japanese cartoon series
- Karen Grassle in the television series Little House on the Prairie and its movie sequels
- Katy Kurtzman as a young Caroline in the fourth-season episode "I Remember, I Remember" of the television series
- Lindsay Crouse in both Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder films
- Erin Cottrell in the miniseries Little House on the Prairie
- Melissa Gilbert in the musical
- Robynne Elizabeth Miller (2015). From the Mouth of Ma: A Search for Caroline Quiner Ingalls. Practical Pioneer Press. ISBN 978-0-692-58065-3.
- "Laura Ingalls Wilder Homepage". Dahoudek.com. Retrieved 2015-09-26.[better source needed]
- "Wilder, Laura Ingalls (1867-1957), Papers, 1894-1943 (C3633)" (PDF). State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
- Anderson, William (1989). Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Iowa Story. Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum. p. 7.
- Potter, Constance (Winter 2003). "Genealogy Notes: De Smet, Dakota Territory, Little Town in the National Archives". Prologue Magazine. The National Archives. 35 (4).
- Wilkes, Maria D. Little House in Brookfield. New York: HarperTrophy. ISBN 0-06-440610-5.