Sunday, January 6, 2013

Book Review: On Top of Concord Hill by Maria D. Wilkes

If you have read my previous blog post about Laura Ingalls Wilder you know how much I love Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. I just finished reading the fourth book in the Caroline series.

Book: On Top of Concord Hill
Author: Maria D. Wilkes
Series: Caroline Series #4
Publication: September 5th, 2000
Source: Local Library
Rating: 5/5 stars

Caroline Quiner grows up to be Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved Ma. This book was by far my favorite of the Caroline Series. I learned so many things about the Ingalls family through reading this book. Caroline Quiner lost her husband Henry Quiner in a boat accident when Caroline was five. Now it is a few years later I believe Caroline is eight in this book. Caroline Quiner is getting remarried to Fredrick Holbrook. Their marriage caused some suspision in my mind and I decided to do some research of my own to check if the author got the fact right. I was pleasantly surprised to find the fact correct on many websites I visited. Charlotte and Fredrick Holbrook had one child in their marriage Charlotte (Aunt Lottie) Holbrook who is mention in The Little House in the Big Woods. Another part in the book mentions about Martha liking one of their old neighbors from Brookfield Charles Carpenter. I did some research on Martha Quiner to find the fact to be very true. I found her obituary and she did indeed marry Charles Carpenter and they had 14 children during their marriage. The family also came down with Cholera during this novel. This fact may or may not be totally true, but the point of these novels is to paint a picture of what life might have been like for Caroline Quiner. They are shelved as fiction for a reason, but I the author did use many real facts from Caroline's life.

As I was reading the novel I also researched some more about the Quiner family not specifically  because anything happened in the novel I just got curious as to what happened to Caroline Quiner's siblings. Did they grow up and have kids? Is there any direct relationships to Caroline Quiner still alive? I will tell you I found a lot of information about Caroline Quiner's siblings. I found that many of them did have children, but I reached a lot of dead ends as records weren't kept well on her siblings children.

Caroline Quiner's oldest brother Joseph got married to Nancy Frank. The only records I can find is that they had one child Frank Quiner, but there may have been more. Joseph fought in the Civil War. He was wounded at the battle of Shiloh and died on April 26, 1862 at the age of 28. and

Henry Odin Quiner married Polly Ingalls. He is one of the three of the Quiner family to marry an Ingalls. Polly is Charles Ingalls (Pa's) younger sister. They had seven children. Henry's son Charley was the boy who cried wolf in The Little House in the Big Woods. Henry's family stayed in Wisconsin after the Ingalls family moved. They were reunited shortly in By the Shores of Silver Lake before the Ingalls family moved on to settle in Desmet, SD. Henry died in 1886 and Polly died in 1887. Three of their children lived to adulthood. The site says that the three remaining children married and settled in Wyoming, but I could find no further records.

Martha Jane Quiner Carpenter married Charles Carpenter as I stated earlier. They had fourteen children during their marriage and all of them lived to adulthood except Martha Eliza who died when she was three mostly likely because of illness. Although Martha's obituary does state that five of her children died before she did. Martha died in 1927. She lived to be 90 years old. Eliza and her half sister Charlotte were still alive when she passed. She was survived by 9 of her 14 children and went on to have 28 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren according to her obituary.

Next in line would be Caroline, but everybody already knows that Caroline went on to marry Charles Ingalls becoming the 2nd of the Quiner family to marry an Ingalls and she had five children. Mary, Laura, Carrie, Fredrick, and Grace. Caroline died in DeSmet on Easter Sunday April 20, 1924.

Caroline's youngest sister Eliza Quiner married Peter Ingalls and became the third Quiner to marry an Ingalls. Peter Ingalls was Charles Ingalls (Pa's) older brother. Together they had six children. Aunt Eliza and Uncle Peter came to visit the Ingalls family for Christmas in The Little House in the Big Woods. Laura's Cousin Alice came to visit in These Happy Golden Years and her cousin Peter lived with Laura and Almanzo in The First Four Years. Laura never recorded this, but the Ingalls spent the summer of 1876 on Peter and Eliza's farm in Burr Oak, Iowa. This was around the time Fredrick Ingalls died and he is most likely buried on Peter's farm or in a cemetery near by. Eliza Quiner Ingalls died in 1931.

Caroline's last brother Thomas Ingalls married Lillian Graham Hill. They had six children together. Thomas Quiner died in a logging accident next to the Columbia river on Febuary 23rd, 1903 soon after his final child and youngest son John was born. and

I also have two more sites to give you when I was researching Laura Ingalls Wilder genelogy. and

I also did some specific research on the Caroline books and the other series in general. I was sadden to find that these books are no longer in print. These books are very expensive to find and I really would love to have copies of them to read to my own children. I hope Harper Collins Publishing will see the error of their ways and starting printing the original unabridged versions of these wonderful books someday. There is a good post about it on amazon and I did read a blog post about it, but I'm unable to find the post at this time.

If you made it this far in this post congratulations. I'm sorry I got long winded I try to keep my posts littered with pictures, but there are very few pictures of the Quiner family. You will just have to suffer through the many links today. Thank you for reading and if you have any interesting websites to share about the Ingalls family I would be glad to have them.



  1. Thank you so much for the information! I am currently reading the Caroline series (#3). You've answered many of my questions, thanks!

  2. Charlotte aunt Lottie, was actually a half sister to Caroline etc as they share the same mother,. She went on to marry a man with the last name of Moore and had 4 sons

  3. Rachael, I'm the great-grandson of Henry and Polly's daughter, Charlotte (Lottie) Quiner Sheldon. My grandmother, May, was born in Keystone in 1892, before the family moved to Shell WY where my dad Albert was born. I'm trying to research the Quiner family, but like you report here, not much is available beyond lists of Henry and Polly's children's names. Most of them died in the 1880s in Keystone, as did Henry and Polly. If you have any other leads on information, I'd love to know. Christian Scharen, St. Paul, MN


Hi my name is Rachael and I want to thank you for commenting on my blog. I appreciate every single comment I receive and I reply back to all comments.