Nickname: Little Brownbraid
Birthday: December 12, 1839
Birthplace: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Parents: Henry Newton Quiner & Charlotte Tucker Quiner
Brothers & Sisters: Joseph, Henry, Martha, Eliza, Thomas
Likes: Games such as fox-and-geese, and poison-tag
Dislikes: Hand-me-down dresses and shoes
Caroline Quiner, who grew up to be Laura’s Ma, was born in a frame house in the little town of Brookfield, Wisconsin, near the banks of Lake Michigan. Caroline’s parents were among the first pioneer families to settle in this region, which is now part of the densely populated Milwaukee metropolitan area. Caroline’s father made a good living trading with the local Native Americans. But while on a trading voyage in 1844, he drowned when his schooner was lost during a fierce storm near the Mackinac Straights on Lake Michigan.
Always studious, hardworking, and resourceful, young Caroline took on extra responsibilities in the home and on the family’s small farm. When she grew up, Caroline became a teacher and married Charles Ingalls, an adventurous, fiddle-playing farmer whose family had also moved to Wisconsin from the East. Together, Charles and Caroline Ingalls braved life on the frontier and had five children. Laura was their second child.