It seems fitting that since today was the day Carrie Ingalls was born that I should post about her today. On a road trip in 2006, we visited the Keystone Historical Society museum. As an adult, Carrie moved to Keystone while working for a newspaper. She met & married a widower, David Swanzey, and raised his two children. To read more about Carrie check out the Keystone Area Historical Society. The museum has a variety of things, but I was there for the Ingalls memorabilia.
Walking around the town of Keystone, South Dakota.
Keystone Historical Museum
The old Keystone School, which is now the Keystone Historical Society museum.
I love old buildings. They have so much character.
Classroom setup in the museum.
The sign says:
First Classes: Jan. 1901, 158 students
Last Classes: 1988, 8 students
A letter from Laura Ingalls Wilder to the school children. It says:
I was born in “The Little House in the Big Woods” of Wisconsin just eighty years ago the 7th of February. Living through all the Little House Books, as told in those stories, I came fifty years ago with Almanzo and our little daughter, Rose, to live on our farm in the Ozarks. Rose, now Rose Wilder Lane, grew up and went away. Her home is in Connecticut.
Almanzo and I still live on the farm but are not farming now. We care for our pet bulldog, our comical Rocky Mountain burro and our milk goats. We no longer keep horses but still go driving together in our car. Schoolmates and friends of the “Little Town on the Prairie” are scattered. Perhaps you would like hear about them. Ida married Elmer and went to California where her children and grandchildren are now.
Mary Power married the young banker and did not live many years. Nellie Oleson married in the East, later separated from her husband and died long ago. Cap Garland was killed in an explosion of a threshing machine engine soon after Almanzo and I were married.
Sister Mary lived at home after graduating from college. She never recovered her sight but was always cheerful and busy with her work, her books and music. Carrie married a mine owner in the Black Hills. Her home was near Mt. Rushmore where statues of four presidents are carved in the solid rock of the mountain top. Grace married a farmer and lived only seven miles from De Smet.
Pa and Ma died year ago and Mary soon after. Grace followed them several years ago and Carrie died last June, so I am the only one of the family left. Pa’s fiddle is in Memorial Hall of the museum of the State Historical Society at Pierre, South Dakota. And every year at their public concert someone will play on it the songs Pa used to play.
The Little House books are stories of long ago. The way we live and your schools are much different now, so many changes have made living and learning easier. But the real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful, to make the most of what we have, to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong. With love to you all and best wishes for your happiness. I am,
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Left: The beadwork was made by Mary Ingalls. The corn cob doll is a replica.
Left: This note says: Carrie had this in her home as a memento of “Pa” and his fiddle.
Ma’s Little Shepherdess
A note near the Little Shepherdess said:
One of the first things Ma Ingalls did when the family moved into a new home was to carefully unwrap the little figurine that they knew as the Little Shepherdess. She placed it on the shelf that Pa had made for her. She became a sentimental symbol for the Ingalls family as they moved from place to place.
After they were all gone, researchers began to wonder what had become of the little shepherdess. This figurine was found among Carrie’s things in Keystone. The foot had been broken and mended with sealing wax, evidence that it had been cherished. Later William Anderson found a letter that Laura had written to some school children. In it she wrote Carrie has the little shepherdess. We feel confident that this is the figure that the family treasured through the years.
Apparently Ma (then Carolin Quiner) had received the little figurine as a gift when she was a girl. It is typical of items sold in the middle of the 19th century at fairs, etc. She kept and cared for it all through the years of her marriage to Charles Ingalls.
If you are a Little House fan & in the Mt. Rushmore area, this is a must see. There wasn’t a ton of memorabilia, so it didn’t take long to tour the museum. But, I was so excited to see what was there. For me, just the old building itself was fun to walk through. Reading about & seeing belongings of a family I’d learned about and adored as a kid was a great experience.
From here we traveled on to De Smet & Walnut Grove to experience more Ingalls history:
Historic House Tour in De Smet
Ingalls Homestead in De Smet
Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant in De Smet
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove
Wilder Pageant in Walnut Grove
Plum Creek in Walnut Grove