Extra, extra, read all about it!
But don’t panic — this is no recent devastation, but rather, a headline culled from an 1851 edition of the Franklin Gazette, courtesy of the Franklin County Historical Society in New York. The Wilder family at this time was much smaller than the family you know from Farmer Boy. Almanzo and Alice were not yet born, Eliza Jane was probably just learning her bossy ways at the age of 18 months, Royal was three, and the oldest sister Laura (not mentioned in Farmer Boy) was six years old.
Isn’t it fascinating that the buildings were insured? The questions that little tidbit raises… how much did such a policy cost? What losses would it cover? Was insurance typical for farmers in the area, or is this another sign of the Wilders’ affluence that Laura portrays in Farmer Boy? Anyone out there knowledgeable about the insurance business of the mid-1800s?