Charles Frederick Ingalls Jr Cause of Death: The Tragic Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Baby Brother

Who was Charles Frederick Ingalls Jr?

Charles Frederick Ingalls Jr, also known as Freddie, was the only son of Charles and Caroline Ingalls, and the younger brother of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the famous author of the Little House on the Prairie series. He was born on November 1, 1875, in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where his family had settled after leaving their home in Wisconsin. He had three older sisters, Mary, Laura, and Carrie, and one younger sister, Grace, who was born after his death.

How did Charles Frederick Ingalls Jr die?

Charles Frederick Ingalls Jr died on August 27, 1876, at the age of nine months, in South Troy, Minnesota. His family had moved there temporarily to stay with his uncle Peter and aunt Eliza Ingalls, while they were preparing to relocate to Iowa. According to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s original manuscript Pioneer Girl, Freddie had been losing weight and became very sick. A doctor was called, but he could not save him. The cause of death was recorded as diarrhea, but the exact reason for his illness is unknown. He was buried on his uncle’s farm, but the location of his grave is not marked.

Why was Charles Frederick Ingalls Jr omitted from the Little House books?

Charles Frederick Ingalls Jr’s death was a painful and traumatic event for his family, especially for his parents and his sisters. Laura Ingalls Wilder chose not to include it in her Little House books, which were based on her childhood memories. She wanted to portray her family’s life as happy and adventurous, and avoid the dark and sad aspects of their struggles. She also wanted to protect the privacy and feelings of her surviving relatives, who might not have wanted to relive the tragedy. However, she did mention Freddie in her unpublished memoirs, and in some letters and interviews. She also gave him a fictionalized tribute in the TV series Little House on the Prairie, where he was named Charles Ingalls Jr and died of influenza.


Charles Frederick Ingalls Jr cause of death was a mystery, but his short life was a part of the history of the Ingalls family and the American frontier. He was a beloved son and brother, who left a lasting impression on his family and his fans. He was a reminder of the hardships and dangers that the pioneers faced, and the courage and resilience that they showed. He was also a symbol of the love and hope that they shared, and the legacy that they left behind.