Reverend Edwin H. Alden, born in Windsor, Vermont, on January 14, 1836,
was the minister of the Congregational Church in
Walnut Grove in On the Banks of
Plum Creek. This is the first time Laura writes of going to
church. Rev. Alden was a home missionary -- he had a church in
"the East", but was involved in planting new churches, such as
the one in Walnut Grove, on the western frontier.
The Ingalls family formed a close friendship with Rev. Alden during their years in Walnut Grove, and were pleasantly surprised when he showed up on their doorstep in Dakota Territory, as recorded in By the Shores of Silver Lake.
Rev. Alden held the first church service in De Smet in the Ingalls home (the Surveyors House) in February 1880, but then went north and became an Indian agent in what would later become North Dakota. He married twice, and had two children. He died May 6, 1911, in Chester, Vermont.