“Pa” Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie was born in Cuba

January 28, 2019

Charles Phillip Ingalls was born on a farm in the North Cuba area on January 10th, 1836.

He was a son of Laura Louise Colby and Landsford Whiting Ingalls. Several members of the Ingalls family had settled there prior to 1835, and several brothers all had adjoining farmlands. There are still Ingalls families who live in the area today.

In 2018 a pocket park was established in downtown Cuba honoring him, called Pa Ingalls Lane. It is located in the parking lot behind the Roadrunner Auto Parts Store on Main Street. Cuba, the goddess protector of the children, is the statue featured in the heart of it.

Charles was the father of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series of books. He is depicted as “Pa” in those and the television series of Little House on the Prairie.

On February 1, 1860, Ingalls married a neighbor of his from Concord, Jefferson County, Minnesota, Caroline Lake Quiner, who later passed in 1902.

Charles and Caroline had three daughters, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carrie Ingalls, and Mary Ingalls.

In 1879 Ingalls decided to stay in De Smet, Dakota Territory following their move from Minnesota. In 1880, he opened a General Goods Store.

As you can see in his photograph he looked nothing like actor Michael Landon, who portrayed him in the television series.

Charles passed away on June 8, 1902 at the age of 66, in De Smet, South Dakota, and is buried there.

His obituary as was printed in the De Smet Newspaper listed heart trouble as the cause of his passing.

Funeral services were held at the Congregational Church on a Tuesday “forenoon”, and was largely attended by many friends and family members. The Masonic Fraternity who were in attendance, took charge of the funeral, and his remains were placed in their last resting place in De Smet with a solemn funeral rite of that organization.
“His life was that of a pioneer from boyhood. As a citizen he held high esteem, being honest and upright in his dealings and associations with his fellows. As a friend and neighbor, he was always kind and courteous, and a faithful and loving husband and father.”

Ingalls’ parents are buried in Cuba in the cemetery located behind the dam at Cuba Lake.