Mary Amelia Ingalls

Is your surname Ingalls?

Research the Ingalls family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Mary Amelia Ingalls

Birthplace: Pepin, Pepin County, Wisconsin, United States
Death: October 17, 1928 (63)
Keystone, Pennington, South Dakota, United States (Pneumonia, Stroke)
Place of Burial: De Smet, Kingsbury, South Dakota, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Charles P. Ingalls and Caroline L. Ingalls (Quiner)
Sister of Laura Elizabeth Wilder; Caroline Celestia Swanzey; Charles Frederick Ingalls and Grace Pearl Dow

Managed by: Henn Sarv
Last Updated:

About Mary Amelia Ingalls

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 is 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"a severe case of measles" which precipitated a stroke, resulting in lifelong blindness, as described in her sister's unpublished memoir, Pioneer Girl. However, a 2013 study published in the journal Pediatrics using evidence from first-hand accounts and newspaper reports of Mary’s illness as well as relevant school registries and epidemiologic data on blindness and infectious diseases conclude it was actually viral meningoencephalitis that caused Mary’s blindness. Between 1881 and 1889, Mary attended the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in 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.

view all

Mary Amelia Ingalls's Timeline

January 10, 1865
Pepin, Pepin County, Wisconsin, United States
October 17, 1928
Age 63
Keystone, Pennington, South Dakota, United States
October 17, 1928
Age 63
De Smet, Kingsbury, South Dakota, USA