125 years ago, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family traveled through Franklin County on their way to what would be their permanent home in Mansfield, Missouri. This fall, Ottawa Library and the Franklin County Historical Society are partnering to commemorate the event while exploring Wilder’s impact on Kansas and literature.
On August 16, the Wilders entered Franklin County. In her journal, which would later be published as On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894, Wilder chronicles crops, land prices, buildings, and the people they met along the way. Entering Ottawa at five in the afternoon, she mentions seeing the Santa Fe Hospital, the “imposing” courthouse, a “handsome college building” (now Tauy Jones Hall at Ottawa University), camping at Rock Creek, and heading south toward Lane, where they were assistant by a blacksmith at a large and handsome stone house.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Commemorative Series will feature book discussions, a storytime, and programs for adults and children.