This is the livestock barn on the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota. Laura Ingalls Wilder lived on this land from the age of 13 to 18.
Laura and her family moved to the De Smet area in 1879 at the beginning of the book, By the Shores of Silver Lake. Charles Ingalls worked for the railroad and the family lived in the Surveyors House through that first winter in South Dakota.
Like many other settlers arriving in the 1880s, free land is what lured the Ingalls family to the Dakota Territory. Charles Ingalls filed on this homestead at the land office in Brookings in February of 1880 and built a small shanty in preparation for the family to live there.
In the spring of 1880, they moved out to the quarter-section of land that Pa chose as his homestead. The location of the 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.
The family lived and worked the homestead except for the winter months of 1880-1881 and 1880-1882 when they moved into town in the room above Pa's store. Laura lived there for over four years until she and Almanzo Wilder married on August 25, 1885.
The rest of the family lived on the homestead for another three years, until they moved into the house that Pa built in town.
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.
Copyright 2017 Susan Rissi Tregoning
June 19th, 2017
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