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Charlotte Holbrook

Half-sister of Caroline Ingalls and aunt of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Aunt Lotty was a big girl, much taller than Mary. Her dress was a beautiful pink and she was swinging a pink sunbonnet by one string. – Little House in the Big Woods, Chapter 10, “Summertime”

     
Charlotte Elizabeth Holbrook (“Lottie” or “Lotty”) was born January 20, 1854, in Concord (Jefferson County) Wisconsin, the only child of Charlotte and Frederick Holbrook. By her first husband, Henry Newton Quiner, Charlotte had seven children, including Little House book characters Caroline Ingalls, Henry Odin Quiner, Eliza Ann (Quiner) Ingalls, and Thomas Lewis Quiner. Lottie Holbrook was the half-sister of Caroline Ingalls, and Laura’s aunt.

In Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder writes that Aunt Lotty (Aunt “Lottie” in the Big Woods manuscript and in Wilder’s handwritten Pioneer Girl manuscript) came for a visit, and Ma told Mary and Laura to ask her which she liked better, golden curls or brown curls (see Chapter 10, “Summertime”). Aunt Lotty wisely replied that she “liked both kinds best.”

Although no age is given for Aunt Lotty in Little House in the Big Woods, in Pioneer Girl, she is said to be twelve years old at the time of her visit. Charlotte Holbrook was twelve in 1866, the year before Laura Ingalls was born. In addition, Lottie and her parents never lived in Pepin but were over two hundred miles away in Jefferson County. It is not known if Lottie ever visited her half-siblings, if the story was totally fictional, or if the story was about another relative’s visit. The most likely relative to have come “walking out of the woods” for a visit (probably from Henry Quiner’s farm to the north) was Louisa Quiner, born in 1859.

November 12, 1875, Lottie married Henry Moore in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. Henry Moore was born October 27, 1852, the son of Robert and Louis (?) Moore; Henry had several siblings, including a twin sister named Henrietta. Lottie and Henry Moore had six children: Clara (born 1876), Frederick (born 1878), Arvin (born 1880), Harry (born 1882), Ralph, (born 1887), and Pearl Eva (born 1888). The Moores farmed in several counties in Wisconsin, including Jefferson, Walworth, and Fond du Lac.

Following the death of Henry Moore on October 10, 1922, Lottie made her home with daughter Pearl Eva, who had married Albert Mumm. Charlotte Moore died February 15, 1939; both Charlotte and Henry are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

     

Charlotte Holbrook, Laura’s Aunt Lotty (BW 10; PG)
     Lotty / Lottie (BW 10)