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Pepin, Wisconsin
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Mary Amelia Ingalls- Biography

Mary Amelia Ingalls was the first child of Charles and Caroline Ingalls and was born on January 10, 1865, in Pepin, Wisconsin. Mary was a character in all of the Little House books and Mary and Laura were inseperable.

When Mary was fourteen years old, she became severely ill. Her illness, which is variously described as scarlet fever (in the books) and meningitis, resulted in a stroke which caused Mary to go blind. Laura then became Mary's "eyes", describing everything around them to her sister.

In 1881, the Dakota Territory paid for Mary to attend the Iowa School for the Blind in Vinton, Iowa (know known as the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School). She graduated in 1889, and returned to De Smet, South Dakota to live with her parents.

Like most blind women of the time, Mary never married, and lived with her parents until their deaths. Mary then lived with Grace and her husband. In Keystone South Dakota, Mary died on October 17, 1928 at the home of her younger sister Carrie.

Some of Mary's beadwork, as well as her special Braille slate and bible are housed at the Manfield Museum while many of her other possessions are housed at De Smet.

 

 

 


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