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The nineteenth letter of the English alphabet. It is a consonant, and is often called a sibilant, from its hissing sound. It has two uses; one to express a mere hissing, as in Sabbath, such, sin, this, thus; the other a vocal hissing, precisely like that of z, as in muse, wise, pronounced muze, wize. It generally has its hissing sound at the beginning of all proper English words, but in the mdidle and end of words its sound is to be known only by usage. In a few words it is silent, as in isle and viscount. — Webster, 1882


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St. Lawrence River

St. Lawrence River

saleratus / soda

saleratus / soda

Mary Power & Edwin Sanford

Edwin Sanford & Mary Power

Santa Claus / Santa Clause

Santa Claus / Santa Clause

Lewis Sasse

Lewis Sasse

Frank Schaub

Frank Schaub

School Lands

LHOP School Lands Sale

school section



Mr. and Mrs. Scott

Tennyson's Poems

Scott’s Poems

scour / scouring brick

scour / scouring brick

cradle scythe

cradle scythe

"The Sculptor Boy"

“The Sculptor Boy”

Willard Seelye

Willard Seelye

sewing machine

sewing machine

"Auld Lang Syne"

Shall auld acquaintance be forgot

"Am I a Soldier of the Cross?"

Shall I be carried to the skies?



"Billy Boy"

She can make a cherry pie, Billy boy!

Reverend Stewart Sheldon

"A Shelter in the Time of Storm"

“A Shelter in the Time of Storm”

china shepherdess

china shepherdess

Arthur Sherwood

Arthur Sherwood

shoe pegs

shoe pegs


Laura’s wedding silver

Silver Lake

Silver Lake

"The Silver Moon"

“The Silver Moon”


green sky

clear, pure green sky

"Sing a Song of Sixpence"

“Sing a Song of Sixpence”

"The Singing School"

“The Singing School”

Big Sioux River / Sioux River

Sioux River / railroad camp

"Mulligan Guard"

“The Skidmore Guard”



"The Sleighing Glee"

“The Sleighing Glee”

hoity-toity snip

hoity-toity snip

snow fort

snow fort



ice cream social

ice cream social

"Bean Porridge Hot"

Some like it hot, some like it cold

"Song of the Grass"

“Song of the Grass”

Songs from the LH books

Songs from the LH books

Sorosis Club

Sorosis Club

sheep sorrel

sheep sorrel

South Troy / Zumbro Falls during the Little House years

South Troy during the Little House years

South Troy / Zumbro Falls today

South Troy / Zumbro Falls today

"What Shall the Harvest Be?"

Sowing the seed by the daylight fair

needle grass

Spanish needle grass

Spat them Out

Spat them Out

spelling / speller

spelling / speller


spinning wheel / spinning-wheel

spin-offs & adaptations

spoon holder

spoon holder

spring tonic

spring tonic








"The Star of Bethlehem"

“The Star of Bethlehem”

The Star Spangled Banner

“The Star Spangled Banner”

Dr. Alfred Starr

Dr. Alfred Starr

starry papers

starry papers

depot / station

William H. Steadman famil.y

William H. Steadman family

Orion E. Stearns

Orion E. Stearns

Henry J. Stebbins

Henry J. Stebbins



stone fences

stone fences

Stories of the Moorland

Stories of the Moorland

storm apron

storm apron

The Story of Art Smith

The Story of Art Smith

sulky / sulky plow

sulky / sulky plow

"The Big Sunflower"

sunflower song

Supposed speech of Regulus

Supposed Speech of Regulus


surveyors’ house

suspenders / galluses

suspenders / galluses



"Old Folks at Home"

Swanee River

"The Swan's Nest"

“The Swan’s Nest”

Sweet By and By

“Sweet By and By”

Sweet Sabbath School

Sweet Sabbath School

swimming hole

swimming hole

Syndicate Hotel

Syndicate Hotel



Wait, there’s more!
The following is an incomplete list of the remaining indexed main headings. Once a completed entry has been uploaded, it will be removed from the list below and added to the links above. Subheadings, reference locators, and cross-referenced subentries are not included in this list. Always consult the completed entry for referenced source of definition used below.


Sabbath – A day of rest; one day in seven appointed for rest or worship, the observance of which was enjoined upon the Jews in the Decalogue, and has been continued by the Christian church with a transference of the day observed from the last to the first day of the week; – called also Lord’s day, in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ upon that day. Sabbath is not strictly synonymous with Sunday. Sabbath denotes the institution; Sunday is the name of the first day of the week. The Sabbath of the Jews is on Saturday, and the Sabbath of the Christians on Sunday. In New England, the first day of the week has been called “the Sabbath,” to mark it as holy time; Sunday is the word more commonly used, at present, in all parts of the United States, as it is in England. “So if we will be the children of our heavenly Father, we must be careful to keep the Christian Sabbath-day, which is the Sunday.” –Homilies of the Eng. Church.

sacre bleu – French profanity, a variation of Sacré Dieu, used to express surprise.

saddle – A seat to be placed on a horse’s back for the rider to sit on.

sadiron – An instrument for smoothing or ironing clothes; a flat iron.

sage – A labiate plant of several species of the genus Salvia, but especially S. officinalis. Sage is mostly employed in cookery as a condiment, but is also used in medicine as a diaphoretic. The popular name sage, accompanied with some distinguishing epithet, is sometimes applied to all the species of the genus Salvia, a great number of which are recognized by botanists.

Saint – A person sanctified; a holy or godly person; one eminent for piety and virtue. One canonized by the church.

St. Paul, Minnesota – The capital of Minnesota.

saloon – An apartment for specific public uses; as, the saloon of a steamboat, a refreshment saloon, or the like.

salt meat – Meat furnished or impregnated with, abounding in, or containing salt; prepared with, or tasting of, salt.

saltpeter – A salt consisting of nitric acid and potassa; nitrate of potassa. The name is also often applied to substances analogous in composition to nitrate of potassa, but containing different bases, as soda, lime, and the like, and respectively distinguished as soda saltpeter, lime saltpeter, &c.

salt-rising bread – Dense bread that uses no yeast, but relies on wild organisms for leavening.

salve – An adhesive composition or substance to be applied to wounds or sores.

Samson / Sam, horse – One of a team of horses, with David, belonging to Charles Ingalls.

sampler – A pattern of work; a specimen; especially, a collection of needle-work patterns, as letters or the like, to be used as samples.

sandpaper – Paper covered on one side with a fine gritty substance, for smoothing and polishing.

sandpiper – A wading bird of the snipe family, belonging to the genera Totanus and Tringa. It inhabits seashores and marine marshes.

sap, see also maple – The juice of plants of any kind, especially the ascending and descending juices essential to nutrition. The ascending is the crude sap, the assimilation of which takes place in the leaves, which it becomes the elaborated sap suited to the growth of the plant.

sapling – A young tree.

Saranac, New York – Town in Clinton County, New York. The horse-buyers in Farmer Boy were

satchel – A little sack or bag.

satin – A glossy silk cloth, of a thick, close texture, and overshot woof.

sausage – An article of meat minced and highly seasoned, and enclosed in a cylindrical case or skin, usually made of the intestines of some animal.

savage – Wild; untamed; as, savage beasts of prey. Uncivilized; untaught; unpolished; rude; as, savage life; savage manners. A human being in his native state of rudeness; one who is untaught, uncivilized, or without cultivation of mind or manners.

saw / sawing – An instrument for cutting or dividing substances, as wood, iron, &c., consisting of a thin blade or plate of steel, with a series of sharp teeth on one edge, which remove successive portions of the material by cutting or tearing.

sawdust – Dust or small fragments of wood, stone, or other material, made by the attrition of a saw.

sawhorse – A trestle that supports wood for sawing

scalawag – A miserable scamp; a scapegrace.

scald – To burn with hot liquid. To expose to a boiling or violent heat over a fire, or in water or other liquor; as, to scald meat or milk.

scale, fish – n. One of the small, thin, membranous of bony pieces which form the covering of many fishes and reptiles, belonging to the dermal part of the skeleton, or dermo-skeleton. v.t. To strip or clear of scales; as, to scale a fish.

scale, weighing – The dish of a balance; hence, the balance itself; an instrument or machine for weighing; as, to turn the scale; – chiefly used in the plural when applied to the whole instrument or apparatus for weighing.

scale, singing – The gamut, or graduated series of all the tones, ascending or descending, from the key-tone to its octave, and which may be repeated through any number of octaves. The diatonic scale is graduated by steps and half steps (tones and semitones), and completes itself in seven tones, ascending thus: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si, the do which follows being the recommencement of the same scale or series in a higher octave; the chromatic scale is graduated all the way by half steps, and completes itself in twelve tones. The word is sometimes used as synonymous with compass; as the scale of an instrument.

scalp – That part of the instrument of the head usually covered with hair; hence, the skin of the head, or a part of it, with the hair belonging to it, torn off, as by the Indian warriors of North America, as a token of victory over an enemy.

scalp-lock / scalplock – A long tuft of hair left on the crown of the head by the warriors of some tribes of American Indians.

scarlet fever – A contagious febrile disease, characterized by inflammation of the fauces, and a scarlet rash, appearing usually on the second day, and ending in desquamation about the sixth or seventh day. The fauces is the posterior part of the mouth.

scandaln. Offense caused or experienced; reproach or reprobation called forth by what is regarded as wrong, heinous, or flagrant; imputed disgrace. Equity. Any thing alleged in the court which is impertinent and reproachful to any person, or which derogates from the dignity of the court, or in contrary to good manners.

school – A place for learned intercourse and instruction; an institution for learning; an educational establishment; a place for acquiring knowledge and mental training. Hence, an institution of learning of a lower grade, below a college or university; a place of primary instruction; an establishment for the instruction of young children; as, a primary school; a common school. An assemblage of scholars; whose who attend upon instruction in a school of any kind; a body of pupils.

Scotland – The northernmost country in the United Kingdom.

Scotch / Scotchwoman / Scottish / Scots – Of, or pertaining to, Scotland or its inhabitants; Scottish.

scrabble – 1. The act of scrambling; a moving upon the hands and knees; a scramble. 2. To scrape, paw, or scratch with the hands; to claw along on the hands and knees; to scramble.

scrap, fight – A small fight.

scrap-bag / scrapbag – A cloth bag in which leftover or small bits of sewing fabric are stored.

scraper – An instrument drawn by oxen or horses, and used for scraping earth in making or repairing roads, digging cellars, canals, &c.

screech-owl – An owl that utters a harsh, disagreeable cry at night.

screen – Any thing that separates or cuts off inconveniences, injury, or danger; that which shelters or protects from danger, prevents inconvenience, shuts off view, and the like.

Scripture – The books of the Old and New Testament; the Bible. A passage from the Scriptures; a Bible text.

scud – To be driven or flee or fly with haste; to run with precipitation; to fly.

seamstress – A woman whose occupation is sewing; a needle-woman.

Second Street – East-west thoroughfare one block south of the railroad in De Smet. The Ingalls building stood on the southeast corner of the intersection of Calumet Avenue (Main Street) and Second Street.

section-line – The boundary line of a section in surveying or land distribution.

sedate – Settled; composed; calm; quiet; tranquil; still; serene; unruffled by passion; undisturbed; contemplative; sober; serious; as, a sedate soul, mind, or temper.

seeder – One who sows or plants seeds.

separator, part of a threshing machine – One who, or that which, separates or disjoins; a divider.

sermon – A discourse or address; a talk. Specifically, a discourse delivered in public, usually by a clergyman, for the purpose of religious instruction, and grounded on some text or passage of Scripture.

settle – To plant with inhabitants; to colonize; to people; as, the French first settled Canada; the Puritans settled new England. To become fixed or permanent; to establish one’s self; to assume a lasting form or condition; to become stationary, from a temporary or changing state of things. Hence, specifically, to fix one’s place of residence; to take up habitation; to establish one’s self for continuous abode; to enter into the married state, or the state of a householder.

settlement / settled country – The act of settling, or the state of being settled; as, specifically: Establishment of inhabitants; act of peopling, or state of being peopled; colonization; as, the settlement of a new country. A settled place of abode; residence.

settler – One who establishes himself in a colony; a colonist; as, a settler in Oregon.

sew – To unite or fasten together with a needle and thread. The act or occupation of sewing or using the needle.

William Shakespeare – English poet and dramatist (1564-1616).

sham – False; counterfeit; pretended.

shares, working on – To have part; to receive a portion.

shaving-bench – A workbench used for green woodworking.

shaving paper – Small sheet of paper used to remove lather from a razor after shaving.

shawl – A cloth of wool, cotton, silk, or hair, used, especially by women, as a loose covering for the neck and shoulders.

sheaf – A quantity of the stalks of wheat, rye, oats, or other grain, bound together; a bundle of stalks or straw.

shear – To cut or clip with an instrument of two blades; to separate any thing from by shears, scissors, or a like instrument; as, to shear sheep; to shear cloth.

shears – A cutting instrument consisting of cutting edges used in pairs, and on opposite sides of the material to be cut or sheared; specifically, an instrument consisting of two blades with a bevel edge, movable on a pin, used for cutting cloth and other substances; – now used exclusively in the plural.

sheathing – That which covers; especially, the casing or covering of a ship’s bottom and sides; or the materials for such covering; as, copper sheathing.

shed – A slight or temporary erection built to shelter something; an out-building; a hut.

sheep – A small ruminant quadruped, valued for its flesh and wool, the common sheep being Ovis aries, of which there are many varieties. The sheep is allied to the goat, having, like it, no tear-pits, but has certain characteristic differences, as in being of a harmless temper and very timid, in having the horns turned to the sides, with the points forward and not keeled in front, in the absence of odor in the male, and in its habit of running a tilt in fighting.

shell – A hard outside covering; especially, that serving as the natural protection of certain fruits and animals; as the covering or outside part of a nut; as a hazel-nut shell. The covering of a crustaceous or aestaceous animal; as, the shell of a lobster or oyster. The covering or outside layer of an egg.

Shep – Almanzo’s dog in De Smet.

sheriff – The chief officer of a shire or county, to whom is entrusted the execution of the laws. In the United States, sheriffs are elected by the legislature, or by the citizens, or appointed and commissioned by the executive of the State. The office is mostly ministerial. The sheriff, by himself or his deputies, executes civil and criminal process through out the county, has charge of the jail and prisoners, attends courts, and keeps the peace. His judicial authority is generally confined to ascertaining damages on writs of inquiry and the like.

“She Was Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage” – 1900 Arthur J. Lamb and Harry Von Tilzer song.

shilly-shallying – In an irresolute or undecided manner; in a hesitating manner.

shiner, fish – A small, fresh-water fish of the minnow kind;- so called from its brilliant, shining scales.

shinglen. A piece of wood sawed or rived thin and small, with one end thinner than the other, in order to lap lengthwise, used in covering buildings, especially the roof. v.t. To cover with shingles; as, to shingle a roof.

shirk – To avoid or get off from; to slink away. To seek to avoid duty.

shirred / shirring – Having lines or cords inserted between two pieces of cloth, as the lines of India rubber in shirred suspenders.

shock – To collect sheaves into a pile.

shoes – A covering for the foot, usually of leather, composed of a thick species for the sole, and a thinner kind for the upper part; also, anything resembling a shoe in form or use. A plate or rim of iron nailed to the hoof of an animal to defend it from injury.

shot, for gun – A missile weapon, particularly a ball or bullet; properly, whatever is discharged from firearms or cannon by the force of gunpowder. Shall globular masses of lead, of various sizes, used for killing birds and other small animals; as bird-shot, buck-shot, &c.

shotgun – A light, smooth-bored gun, especially designed for firing shot at a short range.

shoulder, of ham – The foreleg of an animal dressed for market.

shovel – An instrument consisting of a broad scoop or blade, more or less hollow, with a handle, used for throwing earth or loose substances.

shutter – A close cover for a window or other aperture.

shuttle – An instrument used by weavers for passing or shooting the thread of the woof in weaving from one side of the cloth to the other, between the threads of the warp.

siding / sided – A board used to cover the side of a house.

sidewalk – A raised way for foot-passengers at the side of a street or road; a foot-pavement.

sieve – A utensil for separating the fine part of any pulverized or fine substance from the coarse, consisting of a vessel, usually shallow, with the bottom perforated, or made of hair, wire, or the like, woven in meshes.

sill – The base or foundation of a thing; as, the sills of a house, of a bridge, of a loom, and the like; hence, (a) The timber or stone at the foot of a door; the threshold. (b) The timber or stone on which a window-frame stands; or the lowest piece in a window-frame.

silk – The fine, soft thread produced by various species of caterpillars in the form of a cocoon, within the worm is enclosed during the pupa state, especially that produced by the larves of Bombyx mori. Hence, thread spun, or cloth woven, from the above-named material.

sing – To utter sounds with musical inflections or melodious modulations of voice, as fancy may dictate, or according to the notes of a song or tune. To utter with musical modulations of voice.

Sioux City, Iowa – city in Woodbury and Plymouth counties in the western part of Iowa.

Sioux Falls, Dakota Territory – County seat of Minnehaha County.

sissy – A person regarded as effeminate or cowardly.

sister – A female whose parents are the same as those of another person; – the correlative of brother.

Sister – A female who is closely allied to, or associated with, another person, as in the same faith, society, and the like.

sitting room / sitting-room – The main living space in a house or apartment.

skate – A frame shaped like the sole of a shoe, furnished with a metallic runner, or sometimes with small wheels, and made to be fastened under the foot, for moving rapidly on ice, or other smooth surface.

skedaddle – To betake one’s self to flight; to run away with precipitation, as if in a panic; to withdraw, as an army, or part of an army, from the presence of an enemy, especially in a hasty or secret manner; to flee; to scud. Said to be of Swedish and Danish origin, and to have been in common use for several years throughout the North-west, in the vicinity of immigrants from those nations.

skein – A knot, or a number of knots, of thread, silk, or yarn; a quantity of yarn after it is taken from the reel. A skein of cotton yarn contains eighty threads of fifty-four inches.

skid – A piece of timber used for supporting any thing, or along which something is rolled or caused to move.

skim – To clear, as liquid, from substances floating thereon, by an instrument that dips under and passes along the surface; as, to skim milk.

“skimming” motion – To pass lightly; to glide along in an even, smooth course; to glide along near the surface.

skinflint – A very penurious person; a miser; a niggard.

Skip – One of a team of horses, with Barnum, owned by Almanzo Wilder.

skunk – A carnivorous animal of the genus Mephitis, found over a very wide extent of country in North America. It is nearly allied to the weasel on the one hand, and to the otter on the other. This animal has two glands near the interior extremity of the alimentary canal, secreting an extremely fetid liquor, which the animal has the power of emitting at pleasure as a means of defense. This liquor possesses valuable medicinal powers, but its extreme offensiveness interferes with its use.

slab – A thin piece of any thing. An outside piece taken from a log or timber in sawing it into boards, planks, and the like.

slat – A narrow piece of board or timber used to fasten together larger pieces, or to support something; as the slats of a cart or a chair; also, a flat step or rung of a ladder.

sled – A carriage, or vehicle, moved on runners, used for conveying heavy loads over the snow. A light seat mounted on runners, used for sliding on snow and ice.

sleigh – A vehicle moved on runners, and used for transporting persons or goods on snow or ice.

slough – A place of deep mud or mire; a hole full of mire.

slur – A mark, connecting notes that are to be sung to the same syllable, or made in one continued breath of a wind instrument, or with one stroke of a stringed instrument; a tie.

smitten – Affected with some passion; excited by beauty or something impressive; especially, affected by the passion or love; enamored.

smoken. The exhalation, visible vapor, or substance that escapes or is expelled from a burning body; – applied especially to the volatile matter expelled from vegetable matter, or wood, coal, peat, and the like, the matter expelled from metallic substances being more generally called fume, or fumes. The gases of hydrocarbons, raised to a red heat or thereabouts, without a mixture of air enough to produce combustion, disengage their carbon in a fine powder, which floats in the hydrogen; this compound is smoke. The disengaged carbon deposited on solid bodies is soot. v.t. To apply smoke to; to hang in smoke; to scent, medicate, or dry by smoke; as, to smoke beef or hams for preservation.

smoke stack / smokestack – A chimney or funnel for discharging smoke from a locomotive.

smudge – A heap of damp combustibles partially ignited and burning slowly, placed on the windward side of a house, tent, or the like, in order, by the thick smoke, to keep off mosquitoes or other insects.

snake – A serpent of the oviparous kind, distinguished from a viper; a serpent; – the common and general name.

Snap and Catch ‘Em – Parlor game.

sneer – To show contempt by turning up the nose, or by a particular cast of countenance.

snip – To cut off the nip or neb of, or to cut off at once with shears or scissors; to cut off; to nip. To take, little by little. A single cut, as with shears or scissors; a clip.

snipe – A bird of the genus Scolopax, that frequents the banks of rivers and the borders of fens, distinguished by its long, straight, slender bill, and highly prized for food. The American snipe is S. Wilsonii.

snivel – To cry or whine as children.

snow – Watery particles congealed into white or transparent crystals, or flakes, in the air, and falling to the earth, exhibiting a great variety of very beautiful and perfect forms.

snowball bush – A shrub, or small tree, of the genus Viburnum, bearing large balls of white flowers; gelder-rose.

snowbird – A bird which appears in the time of snow; – the popular name of Emberiza nivalis, which is found both in Europe and America; of Fringilla nivalis; of Fringilla hyemalis; and of various other birds.

snow-blind – Blindness, or dimness of sight, caused by the light reflected from snow.

soap – A compound of one or more of the acids obtained from fatty bodies, with alkalies or oxides. Soaps are commonly either margarates or oleates of potassa or soda, made by boiling some common oil with the lye of wood ashes, and are used in washing and cleansing.

sod – That stratum of earth on the surface which is filled with the roots of grass, or any portion of that surface; turf; sward.

soda – The protoxide of the metal sodium, formerly called, though not appropriately, mineral alkali.

So green grows the laurel and so does the rue – “Green Grows the Laurel”

Soldat du Chene – Early 1800s Osage chief; Laura Ingalls Wilder tried to find out the name of the chief during her family’s stay in Kansas and used the name in error to refer to this chief.

solemn – 1. Marked with religious rites and pomps; enjoined by religion; sacred. 2. Fitted to awaken or express serious reflections; serious; grave; devout. 3. Real; earnest; downright.

soldier – One who is engaged in military service as an officer or private; one who serves in the army; one of an organized body of combatants. Especially, a private in military service, as distinguished from an officer.

somersault – A leap in which a person turns with his heels over his head, and lights upon his feet.

“The Song of the Freed Men” – “We’re All Here” or “Do Thy Self No Harm,” song by Louis Murray Brown, circa 1880.

soot – A black substance formed by combustion, or disengaged from fuel in the process of combustion, rising in fine particles, and adhering to the sides of the chimney or pipe conveying the smoke; strictly, the fine powder, consisting chiefly of carbon, that colors smoke, and which is the result of imperfect combustion.

soprano – The treble; the highest female voice.

sour dough / sour-dough / sourdough

souring – The quality of being sour, or that which makes acid.

sow, animal – The female of the hog kind, or of swine.

sow / sowing – To scatter, as seed, upon the earth; to plant by strewing; hence, to plant in any way; as to sow good feed. To scatter seed for growth and the production of a crop.

spade – An instrument for digging or cutting the ground, consisting of a broad and nearly rectangular blade of iron, with a handle.

spare-rib / sparerib – The piece of a hog taken from the side, consisting of the ribs with little flesh on them.

sparrow – One of several species of small passerine birds, having conical bills, and feeding on insects and seeds. The common sparrow of Europe (Passer [or Fringilla] domestica), is noted for its familiarity, its attachment to the young, its voracity, and its fecundity.

God that doesn’t forget the sparrows… – Matthew 10: 29-31 – 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. / 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. / 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

spat – A slight blow.

spat / spatter – To sprinkle with a liquid or with any wet substance; as water, mud, or the like; as, to spatter a coat; to spatter the boots with mud. To injure by aspersion; to defame; to soil.

spell – A short period; a brief time; a little while; a season; as, a spell of warm weather.

spellbound – Arrested or locked up by a spell or charm.

spelling – To tell or name the letters of, as a word; to enumerate in order, as letters.

spike – A sort of very large nail.

sprigged – Marked or adorned with small branches; work with sprigs; as sprigged muslin. A sprig is a small shoot or twig or other plant; a spray; as, a sprig of laurel or of parsley.

spring, water – Any source of supply; especially the source from which a stream proceeds; a fountain.

spring, season – The season of the year when plants begin to vegetate and rise; the vernal season, comprehending the months of March, April, and May, in the middle latitudes north of the equator.

spring rush – Flurry of farm work after the end of winter.

spring seat – Flexible metal plates welded together between a wagon seat and wagon bed, absorbing sudden movement over terrain.

Spring Valley, Minnesota – Town in Fillmore County; where the James Wilder family settled after leaving New York.

sproutn. The shoot of a plant; a shoot from the seed, or from the stump, or from the root of a plant or tree; more rarely, a shoot from the stem of a plant, or the end of a branch. v.t. To shoot, as the seed of a plant; to germinate; to push out new shoots; hence, to grow like shoots of a plant.

spruce – A coniferous tree of the genus Abies, especially the species Abies excelsa, or Norway spruce, a native of the north of Europe; – applied in the United States to A. Canadensis, the hemlock spruce, and to A. nigra and A. alba, sprigs of which are sometimes used to give flavor to beer, as well as to the Norway spruce, cultivated for ornament.

spur – An instrument having a rowel or little wheel, with sharp points, worn on a horse-man’s heels, to prick a horse in order to hasten his speed.

Clarence and Maylon Spurr – Brothers who were older students in the Walmut Grove school.

The Square – An area on four sides, with houses on each side, sometimes, a solid block of houses; also, sometimes, an open place or area formed by the meeting or intersection of two or more streets.

square dance – A country dance that starts with four couples facing one another in a square, with the steps and movements shouted out by a caller.

squash – A plant and its fruit, of the genus Cucurbita, or gourd kind.

stable – A house, shed, or building, for beasts to lodge and feed in; a stall.

stall – A stand; a station; a fixed spot; hence, the stand or place where a horse or an ox is kept and fed; the division of a stable, or the apartment for one horse or ox. A stable; a place for cattle.

stampede – To disperse by causing sudden fright, as a herd, troop, or teams of animals.

Starlight – First colt owned by Almanzo Wilder.

Stars and Stripes – The flag of the United States.

starve – To perish with hunger; to suffer extreme hunger or want; to be very indigent. Hence, to lack; to want.

State – In the United States, one of the commonwealths or bodies politic, the people of which make up the body of the nation, and which, under the national constitution, stand in certain specified relations with the national government, and are invested, as commonwealths, with full power in their several spheres, over all matters not expressly inhibited.

stealthily – By stealth. Bringing to pass any thing in a secret or concealed manner.

steam – The elastic, aëriform fluid into which water is converted, when heated to the boiling point; water in the gaseous state.

steel – Iron combined with a small portion of carbon. It is used in making instruments, and is especially useful as the material of edged tools. Hence, an instrument made of steel, as a sword, knife, or the like.

steels – The corset; specifically, boning made of steel.

steer – A young male of the ox kind, or common ox; especially, a castrated taurine male from two to four years old.

stick-and-daub – A stick chimney. A chimney made of sticks laid crosswise, and cemented with clay or mud, as in some log houses.

stirrup – A kind of ring, or bent piece of metal, leather, &c., horizontal in one part for receiving the foot of the rider, and attached to a strap which is fastened to the saddle, – used to assist persons in mountain a horse, and to enable them to sit steadily in riding, as well as to relieve them by supporting a part of the weight of the body.

stitchv.t. 1. To form stitches in; especially, to sew in such a manner as to show on the surface a continuous line of stitches; as, to stitch a shirt-bosom. 2. To sew or unite together; as, to stitch the leaves of a book and form a pamphlet. n. 1. A single pass of a needle in sewing; the loop or turn of the thread thus made. 2. A single turn of the thread round a needle in knitting; a link of yarn; as, to let down a stitch; to take up a stitch.

stock, animals – Domestic animals or beasts collected, used, or raised on a farm; as a stock of cattle or of sheep; – also called live-stock.

stock, clothing – A kind of stiff, wide band or cravat for the neck; as, a silk stock.

stocking – A close-fitting covering for the foot and leg, usually knit or woven.

stop – The closing of an aperture in the air-passage or pressure of the finger upon the string, of an instrument of music, so as to modify the tone; hence, any contrivance by which the sounds of a musical instrument are regulated; as, an organ-stop, which is also called register.

Store – That which is accumulated or massed together; a source from which supplies may be drawn; hence, an abundance; a ware-house; a magazine. Hence, any place where goods are sold, whether by wholesale or retail.

store-keeper / storekeeper – A man who has the care of a store.

stove – An apparatus, usually of iron, variously constructed, in which a fire is made for warming a room or house, or for culinary or other purposes. A cooking-stove is a stove with an oven, openings for pots, kettles, and the like, used for cooking.

strap – A long, narrow slip of cloth, leather, or other material, of various forms and for various uses; as, the strap of a shoe or boot; straps for fastening trunks or other baggage, for stretching limbs in surgery, and the like.

strap-ears – Loops used to pull on a boot.

straw – The stalk or stem of certain species of grain, chiefly of wheat, rye, oats, barley, more rarely of buckwheat, and peas. The stalk of certain species of grain when cut, and after being thrashed; as, a bundle, or a load, of straw.

strawberry – A plant and its fruit of the genus Fragaria. It is highly esteemed for the edible fragrant fruit, of which there are many varieties. The American strawberry is F. Virginiana.

stream – A current of water or other fluid; a liquid substance flowing in a line or course, either on the earth, as a river or brook, or from a vessel or other reservoir or fountain.

stroke – A sudden attack of disease or affliction; calamity.

struck ox – A hard blow to the head which renders an animal unconscious prior to slaughter.

strung up To hang.

stubble – The stumps of wheat, rye, barley, oats, or buckwheat, left in the ground; the part of the stalk left by the scythe or sickle.

stud – Material for studs or joists; studs or joists considered collectively; studs. A stud is a small piece of timber or joist inserted in the sills and beams, between the posts, to support the beams or other main timbers.

stuffing – Seasoning for meat; that which is put in the meat to give it a higher relish.

stump, tree – The part of a tree or plant remaining in the earth after the stem or trunk is cut off; the stub.

stump, of Jack’s tail – The part of a limb or other body remaining after a part is amputated or destroyed; as, the stump of a leg, of a finger, or a tooth.

stylus – An instrument of writing; a style. Originally, an instrument used by the ancients in writing on tablets covered with wax, having one end sharp, and the other blunt, smooth, and somewhat expanded, for the purpose of making erasures by smoothing the wax. Hence, any thing resembling the ancient style.

succotash – Green maize and beans boiled together. The dish, as well as the name, is borrowed from the native Indians.

sugar – A sweet, crystalline substance obtained from certain vegetable products, as the sugar-cane, maple, beet, sorghum, and the like. The sugar in common domestic use is manufactured chiefly from the sugar-cane (Saccharum officinarum), but also from the sugar-maple, the beet, the sorghum, and other plants. From the saccharine liquor, after being concentrated by heat, and undergoing other treatment, the sugar separates from the in commerce by the name of raw or muscovado sugar, it being then of a dark-brown color. It is afterward refined, and takes the names of lump, loaf, refined, &c., according to the different degrees of purification. The sugar maple is a species of maple (the Acer saccharinum), from whose sap sugar is made by boiling; rock maple; – called also sugar-tree.

sulky – A two-wheeled carriage for a single person.

sullen – Gloomy; dismal; foreboding. Gloomily angry and silent; cross; sour; affected with ill humor.

sumac – A plant or shrub of the genus Rhus, of many species, some of which are used in tanning, some in dyeing, and some in medicine.

sunbonnet – A bonnet, generally of some light material, projecting in front of the face, and having a cape, worn as a protection against the rays of the sun.

Sunday school / Sunday-school – A school for religious instruction on the Lord’s day, especially for children and youth.

sunflower – A plant of the genus Helianthus; – so called from the form and color of its flower, which is a large disk with yellow rays, or from its habit of turning to the sun.

superintendent – One who has the oversight and charge of something, with the power of direction; as, the superintendent of an alms-house or work-house; the superintendent of public works; the superintendent of customs or finance.

Black Susan, the cat – Cat owned by the Ingalls family in the Big Woods; she was left behind when the family moved to Indian Territory.

Susan, Laura’s doll – A corncob wrapped in a handkerchief; a pretend doll.

swaggerv.t. To boast or brag noisily; to be ostentatiously proud; to bluster; to bully. n. Boastfulness or insolence of manner.

swallow – A small bird with long wings, a forked or pointed tail, and small hooked feet. The gape of the mouth is very wide, though the beak is short. They feed on insects, which they seize while on the wing. The American chimney-swallow is a swift. The barn-swallow of the United States is Hirundo hordeorum.

swath – A line of grass or grain cut and thrown together by the scythe in mowing or cradling. The whole sweep of a scythe, or the whole breadth from which grass or grain is cut by it, in mowing or cradling; as, a wide swath.

swear / swear words – To make an appeal to God in an irreverent manner; to use the name of God or sacred things profanely.

Sweden – Country in Northern Europe/

sweet potato – A climbing plant (Batatas edulis), allied to the morning glory. Its farinaceous tubers have a sweetish taste, and are used, when cooked, for food. It is a native of the Malayan peninsula, but is cultivated extensively in other warm regions, as the shores of the Mediterranean, and in the Southern and Middle United States.

Sweet William – The Dianthus barbatus, a species of pink of many varieties.

swim – To be supported in water or other fluid; not to sink; to float; as, any substance will swim, whose specific gravity is less than that of the fluid in which it is immersed. To move progressively in water by means of the hands and feet, or of fins.

Swing your partners! – In dancing, to turn in a circle with your current partner.

switch – A small, flexible twig or rod. [WHAT ABOUT THGY HAIR SWITCH?]

switch, hair – A thick strand of hair used as part of a coiffure.

sycamore – A large tree (Ficus sycamorus), allied to the common fig. It is found in Egypt and Syria, and is the sycamore of Scripture. In America, the plane-tree, or buttonwood, is often called by this name.