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Characters

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 397

Here are the main characters in Prairie Fires:

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder: She was born in 1867 as the second daughter of Caroline and Charles Ingalls. Her father brought her family to many places on the frontier, setting finally in the Dakota Territory. She became a schoolteacher and married a farmer named Almanzo Wilder and eventually settled in the Ozarks in Missouri. She turned to writing newspaper articles to make money and then wrote the Little House on the Prairie series that glorified the difficult lives of Plains homesteaders. In her later life, she was opposed to the New Deal and the policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • Almanzo Wilder: Born in upstate New York, he became a homesteader in the Dakota Territory with his brother and sister. After rescuing the town of De Smet during a blizzard in 1880-81, he married Laura Ingalls Wilder. They had two children, one of whom died as an infant and a daughter named Rose. He and Laura moved to a farm called Rocky Ridge in Missouri, where he built a house.
  • Rose Wilder Lane: She was the only surviving child of Laura and Almanzo Wilder. Born in Dakota, she witnessed a fire when she was very young. Later, the family moved to Missouri. She married Claire Gillette Lane and had a stillborn son with him and divorced him. Sent by the Red Cross to Europe as a writer after World War I, she traveled in Europe and developed a fascination with Albania. She became a writer of biographies that were wildly inaccurate (such as her book on Charlie Chaplin), and she later encouraged her mother to write the Little House books. Rose struggled with mental illness and later became a libertarian.
  • Charles and Caroline (nee Quiner) Ingalls were Laura's parents. They married in Wisconsin and later moved to northern Wisconsin and then to Kansas and back to Wisconsin. After a stay in Minnesota, they settled in De Smet in the Dakota Territory, where Charles struggled to be a successful farmer and then worked for the railroads. They had four daughters—Mary, Laura, Carrie, and Grace, and a son, Charles Frederick, who died as a baby. Mary became blind following an illness that was likely measles. She went to a school in Iowa for the blind and then lived with her parents until their deaths (and later lived with her sisters Carrie and Grace).

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