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  • Writer's pictureKristin Wenger

Tragedy on the Prairie

Like many of you, I adored the Little House on the Prairie book series as a child.

As I have been researching for a client with ancestors who were homesteading pioneers in Kansas and Nebraska, my mind has conjured up many of those vivid images suggested by Laura Ingalls Wilder's detailed stories. But never in my child's imagination of prairie life did I ever picture this.

When I first found this article, my heart nearly stopped. The scene was so horrific that I could barely imagine Martha's terror and her family's grief.

On a spring day 135 years ago, a little girl's life came to a tragic end. Martha Jane, I'm remembering you today.


Garth Williams, cover illustration, Little House on the Prairie; image at Amazon ( : accessed 27 March 2019).

“Died,” The Abilene Gazette (Abilene, Kansas), 18 April 1884, page 5, column 1; image, ( : accessed 27 March 2019).


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