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On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894 (1962)

de Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Describes the sights and events a frontier family encounters travelling from South Dakota to the Ozarks.
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A detailed diary from the author of the beloved Little House series, chronicling her journey with her family from South Dakota to Missouri.

In 1894, Laura Ingalls Wilder, her husband, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, packed their belongings into their covered wagon and set out on a journey from De Smet, South Dakota, to Mansfield, Missouri. They heard that the soil there was rich and the crops were bountiful--it was even called "the Land of the Big Red Apple." With hopes of beginning a new life, the Wilders made their way to the Ozarks of Missouri.

During their journey, Laura kept a detailed diary of events: the cities they passed through, the travelers they encountered on the way, the changing countryside and the trials of an often difficult voyage. Laura's words, preserved in this book, are a fascinating account of life and travel at the turn of the twentieth century, and reveal Laura's inner thoughts as she traveled with her family in search of a new home in Mansfield, where Laura would write her Little House books.
  PlumfieldCH | Sep 22, 2023 |
Laura's diary is, as you might expect for someone who spent much of her childhood nearly starving, obsessed with the price for an acre of land and the yield of that land. She travels across america in a ruthlessly practical list of numbers, all jotted down in short stark journal entries.

Rose's wraparound stories at the start and end of the book are much more like the main books, which is insightful in itself as to how they were written. The terror of having made it all the way to Missouri and to have lost their entire life savings is very well described, as is their stoic reaction to it. ( )
  atreic | Jan 5, 2023 |
Wilder's short diary was exceeded in length by her daughter's setting for the book, but it was interesting reading some of Wilder's early writings from well before she was known for her Little House books or even as a local article author. The style is spare, but you do see glimmer's of Wilder's style.

Note that this is 4 stars for those interested in Wilder as an author. Those who just want more Little House will be better served by reading Little House on Rocky Ridge which contains a fictionalized version of this same material and is more of a story. ( )
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
From the introduction:

For seven years there had been too little rain. The prairies were dust. Day after day, summer after summer, the scorching winds blew the dust and the sun was brassy in a yellow sky. Crop after crop failed. Again and again the barren land must be mortgaged, for taxes and food and next year's seed. The agony of hope ended when there was no harvest and no credit, no money to pay interest and taxes; the banker took the land. Then the bank failed.

In the seventh year a mysterious catastrophe was worldwide. All banks failed. From coast to coast the factories shut down, and business ceased. This was a Panic.

It was not a depression. The year was 1893, when no one had heard of depressions. Everyone knew about Panics; there had been panics in 1797, 1820, 1835, 1857, 1873.



Later:

We started at 8. Hated to leave our camping place, it seems quite like home. We crossed the James River and in 20 minutes we reached the top of the bluffs on the other side. We all stopped and looked back at the scene and I wished for an artist's hand or a poet's brain or even to be able to tell in good plain prose how beautiful it was. If I had been the Indians I would have scalped more white folks before I ever would have left it.

( )
  daltonlp | Dec 15, 2020 |
Posthumous publication of 1894 diary, with introduction by Rose and mostly contemporary photographs.Ex libris June E. Hawk, 10/22/64. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 20, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Laura Ingalls Wilderautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Lane, Rose Wilderautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
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We were going to make haste, driving every day to reach The Land of the Big Red Apple and get settled before winter. (p. 11)
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Describes the sights and events a frontier family encounters travelling from South Dakota to the Ozarks.

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