Ingalls was the second of nine children of Lansford Whiting Ingalls (1812–1896) and Laura Louise Colby (1810–1883), both of whom appear (as "Grandpa" and "Grandma", respectively) in the book Little House in the Big Woods.
Lansford was born in Dunham, Missisquoi County, Lower Canada (now Dunham, Quebec, Canada), and was a descendant of Henry Ingalls (1627–1714), who was born in Skirbeck, Lincolnshire, England, and settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony; Laura was born in Vermont and was a descendant of Edmund Rice (1594-1663), an early immigrant to Massachusetts Bay Colony. Lansford's mother was Margaret Delano, of the famed Delano family, and was a descendant of Mayflower passenger Richard Warren. In the 1840s, when Ingalls was a young boy, his family moved from New York to the tallgrass prairie of Campton Township, Kane County, Illinois, just west of Elgin, Illinois.
Charles grew into a high-spirited, outgoing man, with a love of music and reading, as well as becoming an accomplished hunter-trapper, carpenter, and farmer.
Years of Wanderlust
For his entire life, Ingalls had a strong case of "wanderlust". He is quoted by Laura in her series of books as saying: "My wandering foot gets to itching". He loved travelling and did not like living among big crowds of people so, with his family in the early years of his marriage, he traveled a great deal and often changed homes. From their original home in the woods of Wisconsin, he moved his family to Indian Territory in southeastern Kansas, then back to Wisconsin, and from there to southern Minnesota. Then presented with a job opportunity in Dakota Territory, he longed to move yet again, as the family was struggling financially in Minnesota.
Caroline agreed, but extracted a promise from her husband that this would be their last move. She was not only tired of moving from place to place herself but, as a former schoolteacher herself, she also feared her children would never get a proper education unless the family put down roots somewhere. Ingalls agreed, and the family settled down for good in De Smet, South Dakota. He stayed with farming in De Smet for several years, but after he had "proved up" on his claim, he sold the farm and built a home on Third Street in De Smet, where he lived out the rest of his days. He held various elected positions in the town, including Justice of the Peace and Deputy Sheriff. He also operated a retail store in De Smet for a few years and lastly, sold insurance. He died on June 8, 1902, of cardiovascular disease, at the age of 66. He is buried at De Smet Cemetery.
Ingalls helped organize, and was an active member of, the Congregational Church in De Smet. He was a Freemason and he was given Masonic rites at his funeral.
Marriage and Family
On February 1, 1860, Charles Ingalls married a neighbor, the quiet and proper Caroline Lake Quiner (1839-1924). They had five children:
- Mary Amelia Ingalls (1865-1928) - oldest daughter - At age 14, she suffered an illness—thought to be scarlet fever—which caused her to lose her eyesight. Between 1881 and 1889, Mary attended the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School. She never married.
- Laura Elizabeth Ingalls (1867-1957) - author of the famous Wikipedia:Little House on the Prairie book series - family biography. Second daughter; Later Almanzo's (Manly's) wife and Rose's mother; nicknamed "Half-pint" by Charles and "Beth" by Almanzo.
- Caroline Celestia Ingalls (1870-1946) - suffered greatly in the great winter of 1880-81, she married widower David N. Swanzey (1854–1938), who is best-remembered for his part in the naming of Mount Rushmore.
- Charles Frederick Ingalls (1875-1876) - died in infancy
- Grace Pearl Ingalls (1877-1941) - trained as a schoolteacher, and taught in the former town of Manchester, South Dakota. Married, but had no children.
|Offspring of Lansford Whiting Ingalls and Laura Louise Colby (1810-1883)|
|Peter Riley Ingalls (1833-1900)|| |
|Aaron Ingalls (1835-1835)|| |
|Charles Phillip Ingalls (1836-1902)||10 January 1837 Cuba, Allegany County, New York, United States||8 June 1902 De Smet, Kingsbury County, South Dakota, United States|| Caroline Lake Quiner (1839-1924)|
|Lydia Louisa Ingalls (1838-1913)|| |
|Pauline Melona Ingalls (1840-1888)|| |
|Landsford James Ingalls (1842-1928)|| |
|Laura Ladocia Ingalls (1845-1918)|| |
|Hiram Lemuel Ingalls (1848-1923)|| |
|George Whiting Ingalls (1851-1901)|| |
|Ruby Celeste Ingalls (1855-1881)|
Several adopted children are portrayed as part of the family in the TV series, but our research shows that they are all fictional characters.
- For information on the relatives, see: List of real-life individuals from Little House on the Prairie.
De Smet Cemetery
Obituary for Charles Philip Ingalls A Pioneer Gone The People of De Smet were pained Sunday afternoon to learn of the death of Mr. C.P. Ingalls, who died at 3 p.m. of that day after a lingering illness of several weeks. Heart trouble was the cause of his death. Funeral services were held at the Congregational Church Tuesday forenoon, largely attended by the many friends of the deceased and of the family.After the church services were concluded the masonic fraternity who were in attendance in body took charge of the funeral and the remains were placed in their last resting place with solemn funeral rite of that organization. Chas. P. Ingalls was born in that state 60 years ago. His life was that of a pioneer from boyhood. At the age of 12 years he moved with his parents to Illinois, thence a few years later to Wisconsin and thence to Minnesota. It was while living in Wisconsin that he married the esteemable lady who is now his widow.
In 1879 he brought his family to De Smet. He was the first to build a dwelling in this locality; the house which now stands on the rear of the Bank of De Smet lot is the building. In his home were held the first religious services. He was prominent in the work of organizing the Congregational Church of this city which he was faithful and consistent member to his death DEATH: As a citizen he held high esteem, being honest and upright in his dealings and associations with his fellows. As a friend and neighbor he was always kind and courteous, and a faithful and loving husband and father.
Charles Phillip Ingalls, known in Laura's books as "Pa", was born January 10, 1836, in Cuba, New York, to Landsford and Laura Ingalls (the Grandpa and Grandma of Little House in the Big Woods). He married Caroline Quiner on February 1, 1860, and had five children. Laura portrayed Pa as a man who wanted only the best for his family, but things never turned out the way he hoped.The family moved many times during Laura's childhood due to Pa's "itching foot" which always wanted to go west. Pa often referred to himself as a carpenter, though at various times he was a hunter, trapper, farmer, hotel manager, butcher, Justice of the Peace, and storekeeper as well. BIOGRAPHY: Pa died in De Smet, South Dakota, on June 8, 1902, but the charm of his stories and the music of his fiddle lives on in Laura's books and in the hearts of those who love them. BIOGRAPHY: Today, Pa's fiddle is on display in Mansfield, Missouri.
- ^ "Henry Ingalls". Geni. http://www.geni.com/people/Henry-Ingalls-The-Immigrant/6000000004162371355. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
- ^ "Eunice Sleeman". Edmund Rice (1638) Association. Eunice Sleeman was the mother of Eunice Blood (1782–1862), the wife of Nathan Colby (born 1778), who were the parents of Laura Louise Colby Ingalls (1810–1883), Charles's mother. http://www.edmund-rice.org/era5gens/p33.htm#i1065. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
- ^ "Obituary for Charles Philip Ingalls". Definitive Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie. http://www.laurasprairiehouse.com/research/charlesingallsobituary.html. Retrieved February 7, 2013.