"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
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