In the early books, Carrie is the baby of the family and is not included in Laura's and Mary's adventures. However, after Mary's blindness and the family's move to the Dakotas, the books focus more on the interaction between Laura and Carrie.
As a young adult, Carrie became a typesetter for the De Smet News, and
later other newspapers throughout the state. She spent her youth
traveling the country, visiting family in Wisconsin and Minnesota,
and going to Laura's home in Mansfield,
Missouri. In 1905, she moved to Boulder, Colorado, hoping that the
change in climate would improve her health. She lived there one year
and in Wyoming one year with her Quiner cousins
before returning to
Carrie was an independent young woman, and though single, she filed on a homestead claim in Top Bar, South Dakota. She also worked for The Keystone Recorder and The Hill City Star while living in the Black Hills. Here, Carrie met mine owner David N. Swanzey, a widower with two young children.
Carrie and Dave were married on August 1, 1912. Although Carrie and Dave never had any children together, Carrie raised Dave's children, Mary (age 8 at the time of the marriage) and Harold (age 6) as her own. The family lived in Keystone, the site of Mount Rushmore. When Gutzon Borglum arrived in the area looking for a good site for the carving, Dave was one of the group of men who recommended the mountain and led the sculptor to it. Carrie's stepson Harold helped with the carving.
Carrie was enthusiastic about Laura's books, and helped her sister by sharing her memories of their growing-up years with her.
In 1936, Carrie's stepson Harold was killed in an automobile accident, and in April 1938, Carrie lost her husband, as well. Mary Swanzey married Monroe Harris and had 15 children. Carrie died of a sudden illness on June 2, 1946, leaving Laura as the last living member of the Ingalls family.
Photo courtesy of Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.
Used with permission.