You may be interested to know what happened to some of the other people you met in my books. Ma and Pa lived for a while on their homestead and then moved into town, where Pa did carpentry. After Mary graduated from the College for the Blind, she lived at home. She was always cheerful and busy with her work, her books, and music. Carrie worked for The De Smet News for a while after finishing high school, and then she married a mine owner and moved to the Black Hills. Grace married a farmer and lived a few miles outside of De Smet. All of them have been dead for some years now.
Mary Power married the young banker and did not live many years. Ida married her Elmer and moved to California. Cap Garland was killed in the explosion of a threshing machine engine. Nellie Oleson went East, married, and moved to Louisiana, where she is now buried.
"Laura Ingalls Wilder”
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Mary Power, Cooledge Photo, De Smet
Courtesy of L Power Robinson
“Mary Power’s eyes smiled. They were dark blue eyes, fringed with long, black lashes.”
The Long Winter.
“Mary Power moved to Washington State and died young.”
From a letter to a reader by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Born in Tuscarora, New York on April 3rd, 1866, Mary Power was the fourth surviving child of Thomas and M. Elizabeth Power. Thomas had served in the Civil War, and was discharged in June of 1865, quickly resuming his trade of tailor.
Mary was the second daughter, sister Susannah(Susie) was five, and brothers James and Thomas Jr. were nine and six years old at the time of Mary’s birth.
Father Thomas had heavy competition from other tailors where the family lived. He also had a taste for strong drink. In the late 1860's he made a decision to move his family west, settling in Kasson, Dodge County, Minnesota.
Kasson, located about 90 miles or so west of Lake Pepin is where Mary first attended school. In The Long Winter, Laura was proud of being able to keep up in class with Mary Power, who had attended school in the east. Laura first attended school in Wisconsin. So it was Laura who had gone to school in the east!
While living in Kasson, the Power family added sister Eliza Jane (Lizzie) and brother Charles (Charley) to the group of siblings.
By 1880, Father Thomas felt the lure of the western prairie, homestead lands, and sodbusters needing suits. He moved his tailor business to De Smet, and his family to a claim on the SW quarter of section 29 in township 111 of Range 56.
Site of Power Claim, Kingsbury County, South Dakota
Photo courtesy N Cleaveland
Mary, Lizzie, Susie Power
Photo courtesy L Robinson
The summer of 1883 saw the marriage of Mary’s sister Susie to Jacob “Jake” Hopp, publisher of the first newspaper in De Smet. Mary’s own courtship with the new cashier at Ruth’s bank did not begin for a few more years.
Mary was a member of the De Smet Dramatic Company, which traveled to Howard and Lake Preston after debuting in De Smet, with a performance of “Kathleen Mavourneen.” Mary Power portrayed the title character.
The skating rink was another favorite destination for Mary. A Mr. Le Suer and she were the winners of a mile race at the popular rink.
Laura remembered Mary attending singing school with her new beau, Ed. Edwin P. Sanford was born the 12th of January, 1865 in Prairie City, Illinois, one of nine children of Herman and Mary (Hollister) Sanford. Edwin began working in a bank in Prairie City, and remained there until March of 1884, when he came to Dakota Territory. He accepted a position as bookkeeper in the Kingsbury County bank, and after the bank incorporated in 1885, he became a stockholder and cashier...
Article in this format copyright 2008, Seventh Winter Press,
Nancy Cleaveland, Penny Linsenmayer, Gina Terrana Limited Partnership.