Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Wisconsin in 1867, in a Little House in the Big Woods (near Pepin, WI, close to the border of Minnesota). Mary Hafford, the Irish immigrant who lived in the house where I work as an interpreter for the living history museum, Old World Wisconsin, was widowed in the year 1868 with 3 small children and lived as a renter in a small village near Watertown, WI. The Ingalls family continued to move west and eventually set up a homestead in South Dakota, but Mary Hafford worked away at her home laundry business and eventually achieved social and economic prominence in her little village. In 1885, she had a new house constructed on the property that she had bought. She never learned to read or write, but her children did. Her youngest daughter, Ellen, studied dressmaking, a skilled trade, and became a live-in dressmaker. Ellen was married in 1891 (six years after Laura Ingalls married Almanzo Wilder), and her mother hosted a reception and dinner for 75 guests. Three months later, Mary Hafford died of dropsy. I imagine Ellen Hafford Thompson and wonder what stories she might have written about her life in the Little House where she lived. I have a burning question: what happened to her older sister, Ann, who is conspicuously absent from all records from the mid-1880s on? Did she die? If so, why isn’t she buried next to her father & mother? Did she go into a convent? Did she elope with a Lutheran? The mystery remains unsolved!
love these photos I always love the little house … thanks for reminding me
Great to have an Irish woman looking in (half Irish, anyway, as I understand)! Thanks for stopping by!
you are welcome
Glad to be catching up with your poasts at last Scilla..now that I am home.. I would love to know the answer to the mystery of the missing sister..
or even posts !
Good to have you back, dear! I’m not sure how to dig up an answer on Ann Hafford. If it’s not something the museum researchers could uncover, it’s probably pretty well hidden.
I love this!
Family stories, family mysteries. This is where we take up spinning tales, right?
Absolutely! And you are a wordsmith, Scilla, and you know how to weave them into your yarn.