Video tour of Pepin, Wisconsin

Pepin, Wisconsin


Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born in a log cabin seven miles north of Pepin, Wisconsin, on February 7, 1867. Her first book, Little House in the Big Woods is about her childhood years here in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. This book is full of the stories Pa told Laura when she was a little girl, as well as the daily and seasonal routines of her pioneer family.

She describes a butchering, smoking of venison, food preparation, the making of bullets, hunting, a sugaring-off and the making of maple sugar, and weaving hats of straw, activities that most children today are unfamiliar with. She writes of the Christmas where she got her beloved rag doll Charlotte, and of playing with cousins, and making molasses-on-snow candy. She also tells of going to town for the first time and picking up pebbles with her sister Mary along Lake Pepin.

Little House in the Big Woods

Although Laura writes in On the Banks of Plum Creek that she and Mary began school for the first time in Walnut Grove, they actually attended the Barry Corner School near Pepin for a short time, with Anna Barry as their teacher.

The Ingalls family left Pepin in 1868 and went to Missouri, and then Kansas, before returning to Pepin in late 1870. The family left Pepin for good in 1874 and moved to Walnut Grove, Minnesota. The events of Little House in the Big Woods occurred during the family's second stay in Pepin.

The Beach at Lake Pepin


Today, a replica cabin stands on the Ingalls' former property. In town, the Pepin Historical Museum houses memorabilia of Laura and her family members, as well as period items. Several of Laura's relatives, and other characters mentioned in Little House in the Big Woods can be found in a nearby cemetery. And no visit to Pepin is complete without a picnic on the shore of Lake Pepin, picking up pretty pebbles as Laura did so many years ago.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society
P.O. Box 264
Pepin, Wisconsin 54759

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl

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Rebecca Brammer & Phil Greetham
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