Recently I was the speaker (“In the Kitchen With Laura”) at the Johnson County (Iowa) Historical Society’s annual fundraiser tea. Among the guests was a family who came up and shared this story with me I asked if they’d write it up and send it to me and I’m happy to share it below.
Information on Araminta Keith, the last signatory on Mary Ingalls’s diploma:
Born in Huntington Furnace, Pennsylvania, to Colonel Adam Keith and Mary Jane Wilson Keith, she came to Vinton on a covered wagon with her brothers and sisters, to receive lands granted to Adam for military service. She taught at the School for the Blind for many years and later taught Kindergarten in the Vinton Schools. She is buried in the west cemetery as Minta Keith. She never used the full name of Araminta, but it is what is entered in the family bible as her birth name. She was unusual as a sighted person to be able to read Braille.
The school does not keep copies of diplomas, but after discovering the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri held Mary’s, they requested and were given a copy which is now framed and hanging in the front hall of the school. They have also had it translated into Braille.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.