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Laura Ingalls Wilder

Farmer Boy

map of New York state

Map of New York State.

Wilder family farmhouse

Restored home of James and Angeline Wilder and their children, Laura, Eliza Jane, Royal, Alice, Almanzo and Perley.
--Photo courtesy of the Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association, P.O. Box 283, Malone, NY 12953-0283

The Franklin Academy

The Franklin Academy in Malone, New York. - Photo from the collection of the Herbert Hoover Library.


Farmer Boy tells the story of Almanzo Wilder's childhood on his family's farm five miles from the town of Malone, New York. Unlike Laura, Almanzo spent his childhood on the same farm until he was a teenager when the family moved to Minnesota.

Malone is located in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains close to the St. Lawrence River.

The Wilder farm in New York was large and prosperous and there were three long barns filled with animals and farming equipment. The Wilders grew many kinds of crops and most of their own food on their farm. Almanzo's mother was always busy with household chores, cooking, cleaning, spinning and weaving. She made clothing for the family and was well known for her butter.

Almanzo and his brother, Royal, and his sisters, Eliza Jane and Alice, had many chores to do on the farm. Almanzo and Royal helped their father feed the animals, milk and plant and harvest the crops. The girls helped their mother wash clothes, iron, cook and clean. One week the Wilder children kept house while their mother and father went to visit Uncle Andrew who lived ten miles away.

Although Almanzo preferred to stay home, he and his brother and sisters went to a one-room schoolhouse in town. There Almanzo studied how to read, write and do arithmetic. When Almanzo learned how to figure well enough, he was allowed to help his father sell a load of hay.

When they were old enough, Eliza Jane, Alice and Royal attended the Franklin Academy in town. It was too far for them to return home at night so they boarded at school. Almanzo was too young to go to the Academy with his brother and sisters.


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