Last time, I rocked some of your worlds by debunking the Little House TV show myths about the Ingalls family’s adoption of Albert and the Cooper siblings.
This time, I’m going to take care of some myths that the TV show spread about the young adult life of Mary Ingalls.
#3 Adam Kendall
According to the TV show, Mary goes blind at the age of fifteen and attends a school for the blind in Iowa. Although this much is true about the historical Mary, the accuracy ends there. In the show, Mary eventually falls in love with her teacher at the blind school, Adam Kendall, and they marry when she is sixteen. In real life, however, Mary never fell in love with her teacher (as far as we know) and she never married. It goes without saying, but she also never moved to New York with her lawyer husband. She actually attended the school for the blind in Vinton, Iowa, for seven years between 1881 and 1889. After graduation, she returned to her parents’ home in De Smet, South Dakota, where she lived almost the entire rest of her life.
#4 The Walnut Grove School for the Blind
With all that being said, it’s important to emphasize that the historical Mary never actually helped found or teach in a school for the blind in Winoka or Walnut Grove. Thanks to her seven years of schooling in Vinton, however, Mary did become a very accomplished and educated young woman. The school for the blind allowed Mary to graduate with skills in needlework and beadwork and in playing the organ, to name a few. She could also read braille and raised type with her fingers.
#5 Baby Kendall
In the TV show, Mary becomes pregnant at least twice. The first time, she miscarries her baby boy. The second child is also a baby boy that they name “Adam Charles Holbrook Kendall.” Sadly, this baby dies in a fire that burns down the blind school in Walnut Grove. Because she never married and never helped found a school for the blind in Walnut Grove, Mary never experienced these tragedies. However, she also never experienced the joys of motherhood, even though she would have been able to spend time with Laura and Almanzo’s daughter when Rose was only a young child in De Smet.