Rocky Ridge Farm – A Laura Ingalls Wilder Story
By T. L. Tedrow
Chapter 2 — Pioneer Girl and Farmer Boy, Part 1
Laura was a pioneer girl. She’d never wanted to be a farmer’s wife. She’d been born in a log cabin, reared in wagons and had memories filled with her pa’s fiddle songs and the sounds of war whoops of painted Indians.
Laura had been raised on the road by a father just one dream away from the good life and one step in front of the hard times that had followed them.
Her life had been spent in little houses all over the prairie. Laura’s first memory was of the cabin in the big woods, which they soon left for other cabins and sod houses on the plains. Her favorite home of all had been the little house on the prairie, which Pa had mistakenly built in Indian Territory.
As the wagon creaked forward, Laura looked over at Manly and closed her eyes, thinking back on the years he’d spent courting her. Manly had wanted to marry her from the first time he’d seen her at the Congregational Church revival back in De Smet, South Dakota.
It was a small, small town without much to do. Everyone had gone to the revival because everyone else was going. Laura had reluctantly gone along at the urging of her family. She didn’t like prayer meetings because they offended her deep sense of privacy.
A young farmer named Manly Wilder caught Laura Ingalls’ eye, but she turned him away. Laura had eyes for another boy who wasn’t a farmer and talked of living in the city.
For Manly, Laura Ingalls was the only girl he wanted, so he persistently pursued her for years. Sometimes he had to drive his sleigh through miles of snow drifts at forty below zero to come see Laura, but he wanted to marry her and was willing to wait and pay the price.
Manly took Laura on a lot of buggy rides because he needed a place to ask her to marry him — over and over and over again. She turned him down every time.
Manly was not one to accept “no” for an answer but Laura was a strong-willed, outspoken woman. So outspoken that she was different than all the quiet girls who were being reared for obscurity.
Laura’s ways, views, and intellect scared off many of the other young men from courting, which was alright with Manly because he could wait her out. She just kept eliminating the competition for him.
Then came that day on the buggy ride in the countryside of De Smet, South Dakota, when the buggy bumped and Laura fell over against Manly’s shoulder. Laura believed he bumped the buggy on purpose because he immediately tried to kiss her cheek. Laura just brushed him away and straightened her dress.