Mary Ingalls

Mary Ingalls
Mary Amelia Ingalls
Born Mary Amelia Ingalls
January 10, 1865(1865-01-10)
near Pepin, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died October 20, 1928(1928-10-20) (aged 63)
De Smet, South Dakota, U.S.

Mary Amelia Ingalls (January 10, 1865 – October 20, 1928) was born near the town of Pepin, Wisconsin. She was the first child of Caroline and Charles Ingalls. She was the older sister of author Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was best known for her Little House on the Prairie book series.



At the age of 14, Ingalls suffered an illness described as "a severe case of measles", which was scarlet fever, and a stroke in her sister's unpublished memoir, Pioneer Girl, which resulted in lifelong blindness.[1] Between 1881 and 1889, she attended the Iowa College for the Blind at Vinton, Iowa.

There was one year in that interim when she did not attend the school, and the historical record is silent as to why, but she did finish the seven year course of study in 1889 and graduated. Then she returned home to De Smet, South Dakota and lived with her parents until their deaths. There she was able to contribute to the family income by making fly nets for horses. Later, she lived with her sister, Grace, and then Carrie. She died on October 20, 1928 at the age of 63, as a result of pneumonia and complications from a stroke. She is buried at De Smet Cemetery.

In the media

Ingalls was portrayed in the television adaptation of Little House on the Prairie by :

Additionally, there was Mary Ingalls, On Her Own (Mary Leaves Little House) novel written by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. The book was released in December 2007 and tells about the times Mary spent in The Iowa College for the Blind.

Little House on the Prairie series differences

Mary Ingalls Kendall
Little House on the Prairie
Portrayed by Melissa Sue Anderson
First appearance The Pilot Movie
Last appearance A Christmas They Never Forgot

Mary's life depicted in the television series is different from her real life. When she had lost her sight in the series, she was immediately sent to the Iowa College for blind people, where she met a young teacher, Adam Kendall. The two soon grew close and eventually fell in love. Mary lived at the school for a couple months and returned home to Walnut Grove, Minnesota, only to prepare to join Adam in a new school for blind children in Winoka, Dakota Territory. Mary and Adam then married after relocating to Winoka. After the school in Winoka closed, they opened their own school in Walnut Grove and later Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. They had a baby son, Adam, who soon died in a fire at the blind school in Walnut Grove.

Additionally, Mary thought twice that she would regain her sight, but it did not happen. However, Adam eventually regained his sight by tripping over explosives and had a concussion. Since a concussion was what blinded him, a concussion was what cured him too. Adam's dream job was to be a lawyer like his father. They later moved to New York to fulfill his dream.


  1. ^ Benge, Janet and Geoff (2005). Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life. YWAM Publishing. p. 180. ISBN 1932096329. 


  • Zochert, Donald. Laura - The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Avon Books, 1976. ISBN 0-380-01636-2.

External links

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