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“On the Banks of Plum Creek”

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1 “On the Banks of Plum Creek”
By: Laura Ingalls Wilder

2 Who is Laura Ingalls Wilder?
At age 17 In her 60’s Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born February 7, 1867, in a little log house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Laura's childhood was spent traveling west by covered wagon, to Indian Territory in Kansas, to Grasshopper Country in Minnesota, and then to Dakota Territory.

3 Wilder’s Family Album Mary Carrie Ma & Pa Charles & Caroline
Carrie, Mary & Laura Grace

4 Wilder’s as Pioneers Many years ago people in the United States traveled west to new frontiers.  These people were called American Pioneers.  Laura’s family were pioneer settlers in Minnesota. Laura endured many hardships: blizzards that cut off food supplies, a plague of grasshoppers and the death of her one little brother. These were typical experiences in frontier life.

5 What is a pioneer? Pioneers were the first people to settle in the frontiers of North America.  Although many of the pioneers were farmers, others were doctors, shopkeepers, blacksmiths, missionaries and lawyers. They came from many places in the United States to start their new lives.   They wanted the rich, fertile land for their crops.  Other people came to the frontier because they had heard stories that made the new lands sound like magical places.  Some went to the frontier in order to find gold, hunt or trade fur. 

6 How did Laura’s family travel?
Most pioneers traveled in a covered wagon.  Many of the pioneers chose oxen instead of mules or horses because the oxen were a lot stronger.  The father would drive the oxen by walking beside the wagon.  The children would walk behind of the wagon much of the time. The wagon could not carry more than 2,000 pounds. On many days the family would only travel 10 to 15 miles.  On rainy and muddy days they might only travel 1 mile!  It would take them 5 to 7 days just to travel the distance we can drive a car in a single hour.

7 Walnut Grove, Minnesota.
Where did Laura Ingalls live? Laura’s family lived on a prairie in a dugout on Plum Creek. It had a front wall built of sod, a door, a greased-paper window, a dirt floor, and a ceiling made of hay. Laura's sod house or "dugout" was made by removing earth from a creek bank. The roof was usually made of twigs and thin branches from any available trees. Straw was piled on top of these branches and then finished off by laying more sod sections on top. Plum Creek in Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

8 Life on the Prairie Plum Creek is on the western prairie of Minnesota. A prairie is a region of tall grasses, with very few trees. Later in Laura’s life, Pa was able to build a wooden home like the one above.

9 Life on a Prairie: Blizzards
In 1886, one blizzard lasted for ten days and the temperature went down to -46°F. Another blizzard raged for three days nonstop. Thousands of cattle had frozen to death. Those settlers who lived in thin-walled cabins froze to death; those in thick-walled sod houses had a better chance for survival.

10 Life on the Prairie: Grasshopper Plague
In the book On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura tells of a heart breaking incident which destroyed her father's crops and made it impossible to live off the land for several years. The grasshoppers were starving and fighting to find every scrap of food. Families covered their vegetable plots with sheets and cloths only to find the grasshoppers eating the sheets. The grasshoppers were so hungry they were eating human clothing, hair and skin. They were even eating each other. Every piece of living vegetable matter was eaten, leaving nothing for the farmers to collect for the winter.

11 “On the Banks of Plum Creek”
Vocabulary Review Bustled

12 Scoured

13 Stagger

14 Frantically

15 Blizzard

16 Earnestly

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