Carrie Ingalls

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Carrie Ingalls Swanzey
CarrieIngalls 1.jpg
Born Caroline Celestia Ingalls
(1870-08-03)August 3, 1870
Montgomery County, Kansas, U.S.
Died June 2, 1946(1946-06-02) (aged 75)
Keystone, South Dakota
Resting place De Smet Cemetery
Spouse(s) David N. Swanzey
(1912–1938, his death)
Relatives Charles Ingalls(father),
Caroline Ingalls(mother)
Mary Ingalls(sister)
Laura Ingalls Wilder(sister)
Charles Frederick Ingalls(brother)
Grace Ingalls(sister)
Rose Wilder Lane(niece)
Almanzo Wilder(brother-in law)
Mary Swanzey (stepdaughter)
Harold Swanzey (stepson)

Caroline Celestia "Carrie" Ingalls Swanzey (August 3, 1870 – June 2, 1946) was the third child of Charles and Caroline Ingalls, and was born in Montgomery County, Kansas. She was a younger sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who is known for her Little House books.


As a child, Carrie Ingalls Swanzey (according to Wilder) had been small, thin and frail, and of all the Ingalls family members seemed to have suffered the most through the deprivations of the hard winter of 1880–81. Wilder remarks in a later book that Carrie "was not recovering from the hard winter as she should" (Little Town on the Prairie, chapter 12). Swanzey was not constantly ill, but she never enjoyed robust physical health during her life. She traveled to several places in her young adulthood seeking a more comfortable climate, but always returned to the harsh winter climate of South Dakota.

During her late-teen years Swanzey was a typesetter for the De Smet News and, subsequently, other newspapers throughout the state.[1] On August 1, 1912, at age 41, she married widower David N. Swanzey (1854–1938), who is best-remembered for his part in the naming of Mount Rushmore. She became stepmother to Swanzey's two children: Mary Swanzey (1904-1969, married Monroe Harris, 14 children) and Harold Swanzey (1908–1936). Harold was one of the workers who helped carve Mount Rushmore and his name can be found on the granite walls below the monument. He was later killed in a car accident. David Swanzey died in Keystone, South Dakota on April 9, 1938.

With her sister Grace's help, Carrie took care of their blind sister Mary after their mother's death in 1924.

Carrie was enthusiastic about Wilder's books and helped her by sharing her childhood memories. Like Grace and Laura, she suffered from diabetes. She died of complications from diabetes in Keystone on June 2, 1946, at age 75 and was buried in the De Smet Cemetery. She outlived her youngest sibling, Grace, who died of diabetes, by nearly five years.

Diabetes ran in the Ingalls family and Grace and her sisters all succumbed to complications from the disease. Laura Ingalls Wilder was the longest-lived Ingalls daughter by far, outliving Mary by 29, Carrie by 11 and Grace by 16 years. Wilder eventually also succumbed to diabetes at age 90 on February 10, 1957.

In the media[edit]

Carrie was portrayed in the television adaptations of Little House on the Prairie by :


  1. ^ Benge, Janet and Geoff (2005). Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life. YWAM Publishing. ISBN 1-932096-32-9. 

External links[edit]