If you’ve ever read Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, or seen the award-winning TV series Little House on the Prairie, you have been influenced by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s work. These stories are based on Laura’s own childhood experiences living in Kansas and Wisconsin and provide insight into 19th century life on the frontier.
Although most people are familiar with stories from Laura’s childhood (her books are based on Laura’s own childhood experiences), not many know what happened later on in Laura’s life. As told in her books Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years, Laura married Almanzo Wilder and moved to De Smet, South Dakota. Before she was married, Laura worked as a school teacher since age 15[edit by contributor], worked with the local dressmaker, and attended high school.
Laura had two children, a girl named Rose and a boy who died in infancy. This heartache was just one of the many trials Laura and Almanzo experienced during their early years of marriage. Almanzo was left partially paralyzed from an illness, their barn caught fire and destroyed most of their hay and grain, another fire burned their house down, and a drought severely damaged their crops.
The couple then moved to Mansfield, Missouri where Laura worked for a loan company as well as a writer for the local paper. It was here that she gained most of her writing experience that came in handy years later when the family lost most of their money in the Stock Market crash (1929). With the help and encouragement of her daughter, Rose, she published her first book Little House in the Big Woods three years later.
Since the original publication of the book, Little House in the Big Woods had been in print continuously and has been translated into 40 different languages.1 This provided the Wilder family with the continuous income they needed to recover from all the money they lost during the Stock Market crash.
Laura died at the age of 90—eight years after Almanzo passed away. She was buried alongside her husband in Mansfield, Missouri.
Want to learn more about Laura Ingalls Wilder? Read more here.
1 Laura Ingalls Wilder, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Ingalls_Wilder.
Louisa May Alcott, famous American writer and women’s rights advocate, is buried in what has been dubbed “Author’s Ridge” in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts. She was born in November 29, 1832 and died early at the age of 53.
Despite her family’s poor financial situation, Louisa became a talented writer and learned from the greatest writers of the time including Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller.
Her most famous work, Little Women, was so popular, she wrote two sequels afterward called Little Men and Jo’s Boys that followed the lives of the four March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The book is loosely based on Louisa’s own family which was also made up of four sisters, although Little Women took a more idealistic approach than what actually happened to the Alcott sisters.
Alcott’s life was cut short due to a chronic illness that historians believe was attributed to the mercury treatment she received when she contracted Typhoid fever or an autoimmune disorder that may have been Lupus. She died two days after her father’s death and was buried next to him and (later) the rest of her sisters.
This large rock is a very fitting marker for the grave of Ralph Waldo Emerson—beloved American writer and poet. It not only does stands out as a uniquely large headstone, but also pays tribute to a man who was deeply connected to and thoughtful about nature.
Emerson (1803-1882) was a son of Unitarian minister, and was educated at Harvard College where he graduated at age 18. He married Ellen Louise Tucker when he was about 24 years old but she died two years later from tuberculosis. Throughout his life, he earned a living by being a schoolteacher, minister (which he resigned from shortly after Ellen’s death), and lecturer. At age 32, he then married Lydia Jackson and had 4 kids: Waldo, Ellen (named for his first wife at Lydia’s suggestion), Edith, and Edward Waldo.
Emerson’s work was highly influential in the transcendentalist movement of the early 1800s and wrote many poems and essays that discussed ideas such as individuality, freedom, optimism, and mysticism. Likely, his most well-known work is his 1836 essay, Nature. Emerson’s work is said to have influenced many great writers that followed him including Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau.
The epitaph on Emerson’s headstone is certainly thought-provoking. It’s an excerpt from one of his poems titled “The Problem” and reads “The passive Master lent his hand/To the vast soul that o’er him planned.”
Johnny Ramone (real name: John Cummings), the guitarist for The Ramones was born on October 8, 1948 in Queens, New York. He was a founding member of The Ramones which has been dubbed as one of the “most influential bands in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.” 1
Famous for his leather jacket and ripped blue jeans look, Johnny himself was an excellent guitarist with his own unique style that was never fully replicated.“Johnny had the guitar sound that launched a thousand bands.” Said bassist Glen Matlock. “Many bands tried to emulate it, but they never got it right.”2 He was also a devout republican and said that Ronald Reagan was “the greatest President of [his] lifetime.”3
Johnny died on September 15, 2004 after a long battle with prostate cancer.To hear Johnny’s own words about the beginnings of his career and The Ramones, watch the following interview recorded not long before his death:
1“Johnny Ramone: Rebel in a Rebel’s World.” Washington Times. 11 Mar 2004: Web. 17 Jun. 2013. <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/mar/11/20040311-085521-1823r/?page=all>.
2“Punk Legend Johnny Ramone Dies at 55.” Billboard.com. N.p., 16 Sep 2004. Web. 17 Jun 2013. <http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/66476/punk-legend-johnny-ramone-dies-at-55>.
3“Johnny Ramone: Rebel in a Rebel’s World.” Washington Times. 11 Mar 2004: Web. 17 Jun. 2013. <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/mar/11/20040311-085521-1823r/?page=all>
Fred McFeely Rogers was born on March 20, 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (where he is also buried). He is well-known for his show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which is one of the most successful children’s shows in the United States. For his work in television, Rogers was awarded every major television award he was eligible for as well as two George Foster Peabody Awards, four Emmys, a “Lifetime Achievement” Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the TV Critics Association and many others.1
He is most famous for his genuine and loving personality as well as his iconic sweaters and sneakers that he would change into at the beginning of every show. He was a wonderful musician and wrote every song on the show including “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and “It’s You I Like.”
For other fun tidbits like why the stoplight in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was always yellow and who made all his sweaters, here are 35 interesting facts about Mr. Rogers: